The Brooke Robinson Collection, which is administered by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council on behalf of The Brooke Robinson Board of Trustees, forms a separate part of the museum collections.
Who was Brooke Robinson?
Brooke Robinson (1836-1911) was a local Solicitor and Member of Parliament for Dudley from 1886 to 1906.
In 1836, at Beaconsfield House, Dudley, Brooke Robinson was born into a family of wealthy and esteemed solicitors. The influence of his father and grandfathers led Brooke to follow in their footsteps and become a solicitor at the age of 22. He was passionately involved in the local community and was elected, unopposed, as Dudley's County Coroner and served as the MP for Dudley for nearly 20 years from the end of the 19th century when in 1905 he decided not to stand again due to ill health.
On 10 March 1870 he was married at Kinver church to Eugenia Frederica Louisa Collis, the only surviving child of George Richmond Collis of Stourton Castle. The pair remained married for over 20 years and were only separated when she tragically died on 4 May 1891 at their London home, 40 Eaton Square. Brooke re-married Mabel Askew, the daughter of Reverend John Askew.
He died on 20th October, 1911 and is buried at Thomas’s Church, Dudley.
Upon his death he was praised for his ability to understand and represent the needs of his constituency.
His commitment to serving the needs of the community was reinforced after his death. He left a large sum of money to create the Brooke Robinson Museum to house his wonderful collection of paintings and artefacts.
The Trustees and Brooke Robinson’s widow also agreed money should be used to build a new town hall which would contain a coroner’s court and a large assembly room for holding meetings. The Town Hall officially opened in 1928 and the Brooke Robinson Museum was officially opened on 18 May, 1931.
Brooke Robinson collection
Throughout his life, Robinson was an avid collector and accumulated an eclectic selection of artefacts from all over the world - from Roman pottery to Japanese furniture. Robinson collected a large amount of oil paintings attributed to a number of notable artists such as the Danish artist Jan Van Os and Sir Thomas Phillips RA who famously painted a portrait of the poet and painter William Blake.
After his death the Trustees began to collect world treasures to add into the Brooke Robinson collection.
The Trustees have overall authority of the collection; from time to time they will review the collection contents and will determine acquisitions or disposals as appropriate. Museum staff work very closely with the Trustees to display items from the collection and tell the story of the importance of Brooke Robinson to the Borough of Dudley.
Brooke Robinson exhibition
In 1979, the Museum Trustees agreed to the collection being moved from the room in the Town Hall (pictured above) as it was isolated and so the collection was rarely viewed. So, the collection was moved from the original Brooke Robinson Museum Room to Dudley Museum and Art Gallery, Dudley Town Centre.
When Dudley Museum and Art Gallery relocated, in 2016, to the Archives on Tipton Road, the collection were audited and subsequently moved to Himley Hall.
The Himley Hall display tells the background story of Brooke and his political career in Dudley. The collection is free to view at Himley Hall and can be accessed via the South Wing. It is on the 1st floor and accessible by stairs only. It will be on display 11am-3pm every Wednesday starting from 16 November. Volunteers who have designed and curated the exhibition and will be on hand.