Uncle George and the lost Yorkshire cousin

George and Avril Robinson letters

My Uncle George was George Edward Muir ROBINSON, son of Edward Albert ROBINSON and Mary Agnes Evelyn MUIR , was born 02 September 1920 in 15 East Arthur Place, Edinburgh. He married MARY 1953. He died abt. 1966 in Yorkshire County, England, United Kingdom. He was the one that the Germans blew up on board ship during WWII while he working in the boiler room.

He was so badly burnt he spent several years in hospital, before turning to the drink and dying in a hostel in Yorkshire. But not before he had an ill fated marriage, which produced one daughter, Avril.

Here’s a letter he wrote to my Mum in 1964, and the lawyers letter from 1972, where Avril asks for her inheritance. Notes in italics are mine.

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Dear Grace + Alex,

Thank you for your letter it was very nice to hear from you again. Congrats on your new house. I am pleased you are going up in the world. You must remember you and ALex are doing it yourself. Betty (Elizabeth Evelyn ROBINSON, daughter of Edward Albert ROBINSON and Mary Agnes Evelyn MUIR , was born 1924 in Leith, Midlothian, Scotland. She died 29 January 1996 in Edinburgh.) is doing well, grant you, but remember she got a golden start.

I am glad that everybody is doing well especially Edward (Bettys son, Edward Dudley Wiltshire Birth 1947 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Death 2007 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland), a degree would be a godsend to him. You don’t mention our William (brother, William Joseph Muir Robinson, Birth 12 DEC 1927 in 122 Bonnington Road, Leith Death 17 MAY 2005 in Edinburgh), how is he getting on? I lay 6-4 he is still tops, LSD (pounds, shillings and pence) and otherwise.

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Well, luv, I am darn glad 63 has been and gone and went. I was off for about 3 months with my good hand. Stupid got it caught in a machine I was repairing and smashed it, then the darn thing got poisoned. However, bar for a scar we are back to normal, I also had a bad tummy for months which I blamed on the fags and booze. Now for the laugh, a friend of mine insisted it was my teeth which was causing it. So ———- I now have no teeth + bad guts. Now what else, oh! I had a smack up with Bloody Mary (1956 Poplar) and got done for a fiver + endorsed (I was as sober as judge, liar).

I got Avril (his daughter, my cousin Avril Robinson Birth Jul Aug Sep 1951 in Scunthorpe, Northhamptonshire, Lincolnshire ) a rig out for Xmas plus a type-writer, plus riding lessons plus an increase in

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pocket money.

She is now as tall as me, very near, and is quite a little madam. Its getting darned awkward we never mention Mary when we meet, but its getting me down, do I give her my version or leave it as it is for the present. What she has been told I don’t know and I am scared to find out. By the way, Mary now has (don’t faint) 4 repeat 4 sons to the guy she is living with. Question? is this grounds for divorce or does it come under lease lend. I haven’t seen her for years but I am told she looks old as God.

I was going to come up for New Year but didn’t quite make it. However all being well I may run up at Easter Bank to see yu all.

Thanks a lot for writing
Your B.B George

He didn’t. My Mum never saw him.

And here’s the lawyers letter.  We never heard from Avril again, either.

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Alexander Walker Hamilton and family

Hamilton Holidays!

Yes, it’s the height of winter, so what better time than to be thinking about your summer holidays.

In 1954, my Mum, along with my Auntie Cathie (Cath Muirhead, who wisnae a real auntie) and her daughter Jeanette headed off to the glamorous surroundings of the Red Island Holiday Camp near Dublin.  Of course, it was the fifties, so you had to make your own entertainment.

So here’s my Mum (back row, second from right) and Cath Muirhead (back row, right) partaking in some proper holiday entertainment.

Grace Robinson and Cath Muirhead at Red Island

In fact she liked it so much, she dragged me and Dad there in about 1968.

And here we are, partaking of a delicious repast in the tropical climes.

Grace Hamilton, ALex Hamilton, Stuart Hamilton, Red Island

This was my one and only furrin holiday.  The Red Island Holiday Camp Hotel was 18 miles north of Dublin, on a series of islands, linked to Skerries on the mainland by a bridge. This is postmarked 1967.

Red Island Holiday Camp

Sadly you won’t be able to enjoy the sunny splendours of the Irish Sea for yourself as it is long demolished.

“Red Island was an Irish holiday camp established by Eamonn Quinn in 1948 as a family-run business, similar to that of Butlins. The camp was located on Red Island in Skerries, North County Dublin and offered a range of facilities typical of holiday camps at the time including 250 rooms accommodating around 500 guests weekly. During it peak activity in the 50’s and 60’s, it employed over 110 people and in 1954 made a profit of £12,000. Most of its guests came from England (mainly the North) with the remainder from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Martello tower there was purchased by Eamonn Quinn in 1950 who converted it into living quarters for his family in which they lived during the holiday camp season, May to September.

From the late 60’s the camp went into decline facing competition from cheaper holiday destinations abroad and the Troubles in Northern Ireland also caused a substantial drop in visitors from the UK. The camp closed in the early 1970’s and lay derelict until it was demolished in 1980. Incidentally, the large ballroom at the camp became a popular venue for pop and rock groups in Ireland during the early to mid 1970’s, featuring bands like Horslips and Thin Lizzy.

The Red Island holiday camp was situated on the peninsula around the Martello tower. Later, the site was partially developed for housing and the remainder was laid out as a public park.”

Red Island advert