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Islington, Islington, Greater London, N7

Past To Present in Islington

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William Heath Robinson 1872 - 1944


Main Category: Past to Present


The much used term, "Heath Robinson [contraption]", is used to suggest that a machine, or more often today - a process, is way too complicated for such a simple output. It is coined from William Heath Robinson who, amongst writing and performing in pantomime, drew caricature cartoons of inventors in the late 1800s. The age was all about industrial progress and great inventions, but Robinson's cartoons depicted the self-indulgence of some inventors who appeared to produce colossal or overly complex machines that did very little. The phrase was in wide-spread use in the early 1900s.

William Heath Robinson studied at Islington Art school in the 1880s before going on to the Royal Academy.

During the Great War and WW2 his cartoons were sent to the troops to boost morale. He had three sons who fought in WW2. William Heath Robinson died in 1944 having gone into hospital for an exploratory operation.

No contact details have been provided for William Heath Robinson 1872 - 1944.

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