Geoffrey Robinson

Memorial Address
Given by Philip Robinson 28 January 2010

Geoffrey Robinson

Photo Album

Times Obituary

Guardian Obituary

Memorial Address

Hedingham Harvest

Indifferent Children
Of The Earth

At Geoffrey's happy 90th birthday party two years ago I described his life in the summer of 1939: coming down from Cambridge where he had represented his college as a hurdler and sprinter and been secretary of the Literary Society; falling in love with the ballet dancer Sally Gilmour; joining the army promptly on the outbreak of war - after a brief spell at the Medici Society - looking after his mother when her marriage fell apart.

Certain themes follow his entire life: I won't dwell on his enthusiasm for the Fair Sex, more than to see it typified in his happy marriages to Pat MacAllister and Gai Treves; love of music - especially Bach's - playing the cello and singing in choral groups; skill as a furniture restorer; mixed success as a property developer; intellectual power as a Treasury lawyer and Law Society examiner, coupled with executive capacity in the ports industry at London, the Tees and the Medway.

He and Pat raised a large and active family - effortlessly doubled in size when Geoffrey married Gai. One still marvels at the warm geniality of a Christmas in Flass Hall in the late 1970s, the house full of imaginative young people. This tradition of hospitality continued at his and Gai's country retreat near Nimes as he moved into the pleasures of retirement.

He kept diaries of literary quality for most of his life. As a youth he collected recollections from all his older relations and composed memoirs which mark him as a distinguished social historian. He was a son who could write: "I lived comfortably with my mother and father, ate well, went daily to school, and lived in a warm cocoon of affection. Whether good for me or not, it was the nearest I have ever been to Arcadia". And, in Hedingham Harvest, he celebrated his mother's father in words that could be applied to himself: "He had a reputation for good sense and probity. He was firm, uncompromising, determined and dedicated to his objectives."

If we ask what lay at the heart of this stalwart, shrewd, articulate person - born long ago in the large upstairs bedroom at The Yews farmhouse near Lincoln, the home of his mother and her seven brothers and sisters - the answer must be that, to the benefit of us all, he was a great family man.

God bless him !