Mairead: housing activist and supremely talented scholar
03 April, 2020 — By John Gulliver
Mairead Robinson with her husband Tim in 1973 in the Aran Islands, where they moved to from West Hampstead
A STALWART of the unique Co-operative Housing movement in West Hampstead that sprang up in the 1970s, Mairead Robinson has sadly died at 85.
She was, if I can say this, more than just an organiser and a committed exponent of the great ideals of Co-op principles as well as the West Hampstead Housing Association, all of which gave young people a home.
She was also a supremely talented and sensitive scholar. She knew so much, she was so much. Trained as a lawyer, she mastered Gaelic, Italian, French and read Latin and Ancient Greek – a seemingly somewhat mysterious woman probably known to West Hampsteaders for helping to organise Kingsgate Festival and Quex Road Bonfire Night.
She and her husband Tim, an award-winning lyrical writer, left West Hampstead for the Aran Islands and Galway 40 years ago before returning to their old haunts in NW6 five years ago. Tim survives her.
She was inspired to go to the Aran isles by the great documentary Man of Aran, by Robert Flaherty, whose film remains fixed in my mind as a beautiful work of art.
I am indebted for this sad message to an old friend, Anna Bowman, former West Hampstead Labour councillor whose full obituary of Mairead will be posted on the CNJ website.