Robinson, Lawrence (1888-1987)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

LAWRENCE ROBINSON: born at Hull on 21st April 1888. His parents moved to Birmingham when he was a boy, and they attended Sparkhill Primitive Methodist Chapel. He was very active in Sunday School work and became a Local Preacher. His parents emigrated to New Zealand when he was twenty. He was accepted for Hartley College in 1910, but financial stringency appeared to make it impossible to take up this place. He was heartbroken until an aunt advised him that she had received an unexpected legacy, and asked him if a loan of £50 would be of any use. He accepted the offer with gratitude. Throughout his ministry, he always regarded this incident as an act of Providence in answer to prayer. 

He married his first wife, Florence, in 1917. She was seriously ill at the time of the marriage, and died within six months. His second marriage, to Mary, was in 1919, and she gave him wonderful support in all that he did, until her death in 1969. His two sons and two of his grandchildren became Local Preachers. 

He was at Hartley College from 1910 to 1913 and then served in the following circuits: Selby, Shipley (Windhill), Pocklington Cottingham, Hull (1st Circuit)-(Jubilee), Old Hill (Tabernacle), Darlaston (Slater Street), Blackheath (Birmingham Road), Smethwick (Akrill Memorial) and Walsall (Stafford Street). He was Secretary of the Hull Primitive Methodist District at the time of Methodist Union, and saw through to its completion, the building of Perth Street Church, Hull, opened in 1931, which was the last Church to be built in Primitive Methodism before the Union. 

When in Old Hill, in the depression years of the nineteen-thirties, he played a leading role in the establishment of an occupational centre for the unemployed, illustrating his wide social concern, and his ability to look ahead. After retirement from the active work he preached regularly for a further twenty-six years, especially in the Pelsall area, where he continued to exercise those pastoral gifts which were always an outstanding feature of his ministry and his years as chaplain of the Walsall General Hospital were especially valuable. 

He never learned to drive a car, but he did all his pastoral rounds by bicycle. In 1975, when he was eighty-six, his bicycle was stolen from outside the local Post Office. A number of articles in local newspapers brought in many offers of help and a replacement bicycle. In 1980 he moved to Engelberg, the Methodist Home for the Aged in Wolverhampton from where he continued to preach on a regular basis for another four years, and was ninety-five years of age when he conducted his last service alone. After that he continued to share in worship until only a few months before his death, assisting in Communion and offering prayer. His prayers were highly valued by congregations in the Wolverhampton circuits. Even at the age of ninety-seven he never rambled, but gave clear, concise extemporary prayers which were full of joy. He always ended these prayers by looking forward to “that great day when we shall stand before Your face in the eternal kingdom.” 

After a short illness he died in hospital on 2nd January 1987 in the ninety-ninth year of his age and the seventy-fourth of his ministry.


Lawrence was born on 4 April 1888 at Hull, Yorkshire, to parents John William Robinson, a joiner (1901), and Mary Maria Strawson.

He married Lizzie Florence Rhodes (abt1881-1918) in the summer of 1917 in the Pontefract Registration District, Yorkshire.

He married Mary Hall, nee Edwards (1893-1969) on 14 July 1919 at Bethel Chapel, Leeds Rd, Windhill, Bradford, Yorkshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • David Lawrence (1921-1994)
  • Peter (1927-2015)

Lawrence died on 2 January 1987 at Compton, Wolverhampton.


  • Hartley
  • 1913 Selby
  • 1917 Shipley
  • 1920 Pocklington
  • 1923 Hull VII
  • 1927 Hull I
  • 1932 Old Hill
  • 1936 Darlaston Slater
  • 1941 Blackheath
  • 1945 Birmingham Smeth
  • 1950 Walsall Staff St
  • 1953 Walsall
  • 1954 Walsall (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1967/86

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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