Known to many as the ‘Gadget King’, Heath Robinson found fame initially during the First World War with his satirical drawings and musings on the unpleasantness taking place not far way across the English Channel. However he is best remembered for his drawings of wonderfully complex contraptions devised usually to achieve a fairly simple outcome. The phrase ‘a bit Heath Robinson’ has passed into the language to describe anything overly complex and eccentric.
It is less well-known that Heath Robinson started his career as an illustrator and he was not only successful but exceptionally gifted. He illustrated works by Shakespeare, Kipling, Kingsley and Hans Christian Andersen. In addition he illustrated books such as the Arabian Nights. These illustrations are clearly formed from his vivid imagination and produced with exceptional technical skill.
The museum has been established to provide a home for the Heath Robinson archives and many of his original drawings and illustrations have been brought together for display and study. To supplement the story of his life and work there are books, photographs, film and digital media.
In addition to the permanent display there will be varied exhibitions. Currently on display is Heath Robonson at War. This runs until 8th January 2017 and examines the illustrations and cartoons that Heath Robinson created during the Great War.
Heath Robinson published a number of titles in his own name, one of the earliest being the Humours of Golf. This is a compendium of illustrations exploring with great humour the rituals, the characters and the frustrations of the game. In the 1930’s he collaborated with KRG Browne, who provided the text, on a series of gently satirical books looking at current mores. The first was entitled How to Live in a Flat and this was followed shortly by How to be a Perfect Husband, How to make a Garden Grow and How to be a Motorist. Although exemplars of their time the underlying emotions, frustrations and absurdities of daily life portrayed by Heath Robinson remain as true today as they were almost 100 years ago.
RHE Media has collaborated with the William Heath Robinson Trust, who is the driving force behind the museum, in reproducing all these titles as ebooks. In recognition of this partnership a proportion of the sales are donated to the Museum. To order your ebook go to our Products page or log on at Amazon.
If you want to visit the museum it is located at Pinner Memorial Park, 50 West End Lane, Pinner HA5 1AE (www.heathrobinsonmuseum.org)