This month marks the 150th birthday of William Heath Robinson, the much-loved English cartoonist, illustrator and artist, whose name is synonymous with whimsically complicated machines and inventions.
Born in Islington on May 31st 1872, he became famous for his gently satirical cartoons and exquisitely ornate book illustrations.
The Heath Robinson Museum, based in Pinner, London, his home between 1908 and 1918, will be celebrating with a programme of events throughout 2022.
The museum was built in 2016 to display the UK’s largest collection of Heath Robinson drawings encompassing his famous contraptions as well as beautiful book illustrations. Visitors can explore Heath Robinson’s life and artistic development in their permanent gallery which features a timeline, original artworks and interactive exhibits. There will also be three special exhibitions, the first featuring his children’s illustrations, then from May 21st visitors can enjoy displays of his unique brand of humour, culminating in their final exhibition of the finest wood engravings of the past century, on loan from the Ashmolean Museum. There will also be art workshops, competitions, live theatre, a Big Birthday Party, expert talks and contemporary craftwork, responding to the humour of Heath Robinson in their shop and on online.
Highlights for 2022 are:
The Humour of William Heath Robinson exhibition which opens on 21st May 2022 – 4th September 2022
FREE 150th Birthday Party for families 31st May 12noon until 4pm.This will be a whacky fair, where in true Gadget King fashion, art meets science, with an exhibition of Heath Robinson’s best humorous work, a display of Meccano models, art & design activities alongside all sorts of zany engineering challenges: Build the tallest structure, or fastest/slowest/wobbliest vehicles out of junk or K’nex. Large interactive gadgets will be demonstrated in the park too. Our star attraction is internet/media sensation, Joseph Herscher of www.josephsmachines fame. Joseph will talk about his “Heath Robinson” machines and run a workshop for families/children; who will be challenged to build their own machine (out of junk) and culminate in attempts to connect all the machines in one long transfer of energy to achieve a simple task – very Heath Robinson.
Play in the Park A Midsummer Night’s Dream 28th August (commemorating Heath Robinson’s illustrated edition of Shakespeare’s play, see illustration below)
Scene through Wood exhibition from the Ashmolean Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Society of Wood Engravers, from 10th September to 11th December, featuring the finest wood engravings of the past century including work by Albrecht Dürer and William Blake
Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner Memorial Park, West End Lane, Pinner HA5 1AE heathrobinsonmuseum.org. Opening Times: Thursday – Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Entry Fee: Included in cost of museum entry