Founded in 1884 by Louth Naturalists',
Antiquarian and Literary Society
Registered Charity No. 1145436
A Local Independent Museum
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David Norman Robinson OBE MSc was born in Croft Street Horncastle on 29 August 1927 the first of two sons of Lillian and Arthur Balding Robinson.
He attended Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School Horncastle and went on to graduate from Nottingham University with an honours degree in Geography. He gained his MSc with a thesis on the coastal evolution of north-east Lincolnshire. His teaching career began in schools in Immingham and Grimsby. After 12 years he moved into adult education beginning as Workers’ Educational Association Tutor Organiser, in South Lindsey. Ten years later he joined the staff of the University of Nottingham, becoming resident tutor for North Lincolnshire, retiring in 1990. However, up until very recently, he has continued to lecture all over the county on a wide variety of Lincolnshire related subjects.
He has become a household name in Lincolnshire through his writing and editing. Having edited his college magazine, he began editing the 'Lincolnshire Poacher' magazine in the 1950s, subsequently becoming editor of 'Lincolnshire Life' magazine until 1989. For many years thereafter he contributed his ‘Poachings’ column each month in the magazine. He also served on the editorial team of the magazine 'Natural World'.
Another ‘spare time’ pursuit has been writing over 20 books on various aspects of the county of his birth. These include ‘The Book of the Lincolnshire Seaside’, ‘The Book of Horncastle and Woodhall Spa’ and ‘The Great Storm Flood of 1953’. After David and his family moved to Louth in 1965 he became increasingly fascinated and involved in that town, writing, amongst other titles, ‘The Book of Louth’, 'The Louth Flood' and 'William Brown and the Louth Panorama', which he undertook to complete for his cousin Christopher Sturman, who tragically passed away from cancer in 1997.
The many voluntary responsibilities David undertook included the position of Honorary Secretary for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, whose magazine he also edited for over thirty years; the Presidency of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology; President of Louth Naturalists’, Antiquarian and Literary Society; President of Louth Civic Trust of which he was a founder member in 1967; Life President of the Sir Joseph Banks Society and Chairman of Governors of Horncastle College. In all of these roles he took a very active part and in 1997 he was awarded an OBE for services to journalism and the community in Lincolnshire.
David was a driving force behind Louth Museum and worked tirelessly on its behalf in all areas. For many years he organised the annual lecture programme and personally led outings around the county. He master-minded the grant aided expansion and refurbishment of the building and its collection in 2005/6 resulting in the Museum winning a number of awards. He also made many generous bequests from his vast collection of historical artefacts and documents, the most recent being a piece of 15th century gothic masonry, originally part of St James's Church, Louth but replaced during restoration work. In recognition of his great services to the Museum he was awarded the Life Presidency of the institution and until very recently would drop by to say hello to the volunteers, answer an enquiry or study an historical artefact. His favourite exhibit was the Roman trulla, stolen from the collection in the 1960s and returned with the help of an Art Fund grant in 1994.
His home in Louth housed an astonishing library the use of which he generously shared with anyone researching any aspect of the county. His own knowledge was prodigious and he had a keen memory: if he didn’t know the answer to your question he probably knew where and how to find it. His support and enthusiasm has encouraged many other historians into print. Their appreciation was shown ten years ago when, under the editorship of his friends Jean Howard and David Start, ‘All Things Lincolnshire’ was published, a collection of papers to celebrate his 80th birthday.
His Christian faith was an important element in David’s life. A life-long member of the Methodist church, he has served on many Methodist committees both at district and county level, editing faith magazines and newspapers. He has been a Council member of both Churches Together in All Lincolnshire and its equivalent in Louth and District. He has served as a Local Preacher both in the town and local villages.
David was always the first to acknowledge his debt to his wife of over 60 years, Joyce, a remarkably serene lady whose skills of friendship, hospitality - and botany - quietly underpinned his life until her death in December 2014. He leaves a brother, Ralph who lives in Canada, a son, Christopher, a daughter, Hilary, grand-daughter Michelle and great grandchildren Tyler and Jayden.
He died after a short illness in Grimsby hospital. It was typical of his determination that, despite the evident seriousness of his health problems, he had insisted that the invitations to his 90th birthday party be despatched.
He will be greatly missed by us all and his passing is a great loss to the museum, the town of Louth and the historical community near and far.
David Norman Robinson OBE 1927 – 2017
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