George Henry Robinson, 1837-1915

by Brian Stevenson
last updated July, 2019

Owner of a successful grocery and tea shop, George Robinson was an enthusiastic amateur microscopist. He was an early member of the Postal Microscopical Society, joining in 1882. One of Robinson’s slides is dated 1891 (Figure 1). He likely continued with this hobby through the rest of his life.

Figure 1. A George Robinson microscope slide of “Japanese paper”, dated 1891. Mounted in Canada balsam (“C.B.”), for polariscope viewing.


Figure 2. “Japanese paper”, viewed between crossed polarizing filters (left) and with normal transmitted light (right). Photographed with a C-mounted digital SRL camera and a 3.5x objective lens.


George Henry Robinson born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, on December 24, 1837. He was the eldest of two children of Joseph and Martha Robinson. Joseph operated a grocery and tea shop at 11 Westgate, Huddersfield. Neither George nor his sister, Emily, married, and the two lived together for most of their lives.

Joseph, the father, died on November 8, 1858, leaving the business to be operated by his widow, Martha, and son, George. Martha died in 1882. Census records imply that the Robinson business was a financial success. In 1871, they employed a shopman and an apprentice grocer, in addition to a cook and housemaid. During the 1870s, the family moved to a house at 52 Spring Street, Huddersfield, while retaining the shop on Westgate.

George Robinson joined the Postal Microscopical Society in September, 1882. He provided both his home and business addresses as contacts. George was excited about his hobby to the extent that he travelled to the 1884 Annual Meeting of the P.M.S. in London.

I have not located any other records of Robinson’s involvement in microscopy. He likely traded slides with other enthusiasts, as did most other amatue microscopists of his time.

George retired from his grocery business around 1905. He and his sister moved to Almondbury, on the outskirts of Huddersfield. He died there on May 25, 1915.



Baptism record of George Henry Robinson (1837) Parish records of St. Peter, Huddersfield, accessed through

Directory of Halifax, Huddersfield, Holmfirth, and Adjacent Villages (1850) “Robinson, Joseph, grocer and tea dealer, Westgate”, page 57

England census and other records, accessed through

The Journal of the Postal Microscopical Society (1882) “List of Members: .. Sept., 1882:  Robinson G. H., 11, Westgate, and 52, Spring Street, Huddersfield”, Vol. 1, page 15

The Journal of the Postal Microscopical Society (1884) “The Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Postal Microscopical Society was held in the Prince of Wales's Salon at the Holborn Restaurant, on Wednesday, the 8th of October, 1884. At the meeting summoned for business purposes at 6.30 p.m., the following members were present: Dr. C.F. George, President-Elect, in the chair; the Rev. R.K. Corser (Bath), Mr. A. Hammond (London), Dr. Kesteven (Enfield), Mr. Martin (Old Charlton), The Rev. E.T. Stubbs (Bath), The Hon. J.G.P. Vereker (London), Mr. G.H. Robinson (Huddersfield), and the Secretary”, Vol. 4, page 46

The Methodist New Connexion Magazine and Evangelical Repository (1858) Obituary of Joseph Robinson, page 108

Probate of George Henry Robinson (1915) “Robinson George Henry of Lady House Nerry Brow Aldmondbury Huddersfield died 25 May 1915 at the Nursing Home Trinity-street Huddersfield Administration London 30 July to Arthur Robinson Wright civil servant. Effects £1478 10s 8d”, accessed through