Margaret Robinson, 1927-2013

19 January 2014

My mother-in-law, Margaret Robinson, known throughout her life as ‘Tiggie’, died just before Chrsitmas, after “a long illness”, as they say in obit-land. Her funeral was a couple of weeks ago now, and we wrote a short obituary for her Order of Service.

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“One would not have guessed from Margaret’s upbringing in Newbury that she would become a pioneer in social work and family therapy. She was one of three children of the managing director of the town’s department store, Camp Hopson, attended Newbury Girls School, and joined BOAC as a stewardess after a spell at Nottingham University. While flying she met Denis, then a BOAC pilot, and once they had married also took on Denis’ two children from his first marriage, Max and Barry.

In 1959, a few years after the birth of Sue, she was one of the first students on the London School of Economics‘ Psychiatric Social Work course, where she met her lifelong friend Phyllida Parsloe. In the 1970s she set up with Margaret Adcock the first social work course at Goldsmith’s College, and was one of the founding members of the Institute of Family Therapy.

During the 1980s, partly as her result of her own personal experience, she developed the idea of the “reconstituted family”, in papers and later in her book Family Transformation Through Divorce and Remarriage: A Systemic Approach. In the following decade, she became involved in mediation-led approaches to family breakdown, and co-founded with Lynn Hoffman and Ros Draper the Dartington Event (an eclectic gathering of therapists, and others) that pre-figured the current vogue for the ‘unconference’.

Her professional and personal life was cut short by a serious stroke in 2000, which left her all but completely paralysed. Since then she has been supported in life by Denis, her family and friends, and staff at the Brendon Care Nursing Home in Winchester.”

 

The image of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, by Beatrix Potter came into the public domain in the UK on 1st January 2014. We used it on the cover of the Order of Service. 

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