Article provided courtesy of John Robinson, Canada, 27th January 2018


From birth until she died, Eveline Robinson (nee Kell) lived in the Trimdon mining community. The struggles of the miners and their families were part of her life. She saw the depravation and degradation caused by the way the mines were owned and operated and how it impacted her own life. Her husband William, a colliery cart man, was like many others in Trimdon out of work from 1926 until 1935, the depression years.

Seeing the poverty and injustice in the community she vowed that none of her children would ever work in the mines. Education was very important and skipping or misbehaving at school was not allowed. Even though she had left school at the age of thirteen, she had taught herself many skills. Books were the main source of her education and she was an avid reader. She herself had been denied a higher education, having passed the exam to gain entry to the Henry Smith School in Hartlepool, her family could not afford to let her go. She had to leave school and enter domestic service.

For someone who did not want her children to go into the mines, Eveline was very successful, five of her children went to the secondary school, four of her sons completed university, one daughter was at college and became a teacher, the eldest daughter Hannah later in life trained as a nurse along with her daughters. Her son Jim did however work at the pit until he retired, he was a mechanic.

Eveline was dedicated to her family and the community during her lifetime and died at a relatively young age in 1963 from complications after having her gall bladder removed in the Sedgefield General Hospital. Just a few months after her youngest son graduated.


The Northern Daily Mail (Hartlepool) 16th. July 1963

Four in one family gain B.Sc. Degree –AT TRIMDON VILLAGE.

Four sons from a Trimdon Village mining family have scored a striking academic success.
When 23 year old Mr. Paul Robinson, was awarded his B.Sc. Degree recently he became the fourth son of Mrs. E. Robinson of I Cleveland Avenue, Trimdon  Village, and the late Mr. William Robinson, to achieve this success.
And the award meant more honour for Trimdon Village Parochial School, where all four boys received their early education.


Paul went to the A J Dawson Grammar School and then served his apprenticeship with Richardsons, Westgarth (Hartlepool) Ltd. Where he won the “Apprentice of the year” award. He studied at Sunderland Technical College and at King’s College, Newcastle, where he obtained his degree with honours. He is soon to take up an appointment with the Central Electricity Generating Board as a Project Engineer in Manchester.

The first of the four brothers to get his degree was William (39), who is now an Electronics Engineer with the Atomic Energy Commission in Scotland.

John (30) is a Design Engineer with English Electric at Rugby.

Henry (38) lives in West Hartlepool and is a Sales Engineer with Richardsons, Westgarth. He also has a degree in Naval Architecture.

Of the four brothers, Henry, John and Paul went to the A J Dawson Grammar

School and a fifth, James (37) was also educated there. He is a Fitter & Turner at Trimdon Grange Colliery.


The fifth member of the family to attend the A J Dawson was sister Ellen, now Mrs. Scott, who became a teacher and worked in Germany for three years and later at Peterlee before moving to Lincoln. She gave up teaching recently on the birth of her first child.
Mrs. Robinson (60) said today: “Naturally I am proud that the children have done well and I am pleased that their futures are all settled at last.”
Mrs. Robinson’s husband was a miner at Fishbum Colliery. She has been a widow for six years.
Despite the work and worry involved in bringing up a family, Mrs. Robinson has been able to take an active part in village life. She has served on the local Parish Council for about six years.


Daily Express July 1963.
The four B.Sc. boys make Mum proud.

Express Staff Reporter

MINER’S widow Mrs. Evelyn Robinson was Britain’s proudest Mum yesterday.
Four of her sons have now gained university B.Sc. degrees.

‘”I just don’t know where they’ got their brains from,” she said yesterday.
“I’m certainly no scholar- and neither was their father.”

Sixty-year-old Mrs. Robinson left school at 13.
The Robinson brothers-all former pupils of the small village school at Ttimdon in the heart of the Counly Durham coalfield-won their way with scholarships.
“It was sometimes a job to manage on their grants, but they did it somehow.” Said Mrs. Robinson, whose husband died six years ago.

First to be a Robinson B.Sc. was William, a 39-year old electronics engineer with the Atomlc Energy Commission at Dounreay. Scotland.
Then came Henry. He is now 38 and a sales engineer with a giant West Harllepool, Co. Durham, engineering firm.
He was followed by John, 30. A design engineer in Rugby.
And 23 year old Paul has just completed the quartet. He started work this week as a project engineer in Manchester.


Dark-haired Mrs. Robinson has five sons. One 37-year-old James – did not seek university entrance. She also has two daughters and 27-year-old Ellen qualified as a teacher at a teachers training college.

Mrs. Robinson said at her council house home in Cleveland-avenue, Trimdon,  “The village head master used to claim that our front room was like another school. We always encouraged the boys to think for themselves and take a lively interest in things.”

The B.S.C’s Robinsons all graduated from Durham Univerity.

Mrs. Robinson was there to see each of them attend the formal graduation  ceremony in his cap and gown and fur-trimmed degree cape. She has just one regret. She said: “Their father died without seeing the last two qualify.”