Obituary: National hockey player Charlotte Robson had ‘great passion’ for music

Charlotte Robson

Charlotte Robson - Credit: Archant

A lifelong Hampstead resident who played hockey for Great Britain at the “Jewish Olympics” has been remembered for her captivating personality and “eternal optimism”.

Charlotte Robson, who passed away aged 98, lived for much of her life at 346 Finchley Road, Hampstead, where she brought up two sons alongside her husband Joe, a renowned doctor who treated a number of showbiz stars at the family home.

Paying tribute to his mother, Jeremy Robson, a publisher and poet, said: “My father had a stroke 12 years before he died and my mother was just amazing. She kept his spirits up and wheeled him around.

“She had eternal optimism and a captivating personality. People loved her.”

Born on May 4, 1914, Mrs Robson grew up in Hampstead and was educated at South Hampstead High School, in Maresfield Gardens.

Her father Emanuel Snowman opened the London branch of Wartski, the antique jewellers, was a director of Hampstead Synagogue and served as mayor of Hampstead, welcoming the Queen to the area when she paid a visit shortly after her coronation.

Mrs Robson’s mother Harriet was a founder of the Jewish women’s movement British WIZO.

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As a 17-year-old, Mrs Robson represented the Great Britain hockey team in the first Maccabiah Games – known as the “Jewish Olympics” – in Palestine in 1932.

She fell in love with the country and stayed on for four years, teaching young children in the Old City of Jerusalem and later on a kibbutz.

On her return to the UK, she met and married Dr Joe Robson, a GP, with whom she had sons Jeremy and David, and became a very supportive doctor’s wife – acting as Joe’s secretary for much of his professional life.

Later on in his career, Dr Robson became interested in psychiatry and began specialising in hypnotherapy. His reputation spread and many showbusiness personalities became his patients.

As a teenager, Jeremy remembers frequent visits to the family home from Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, both of whom were patients of his father.

He also looks back fondly on weekly music evenings hosted by his parents.

“The thing I remember very strongly is the music evenings once a week at the Finchley Road house,” said Jeremy. “My dad played the piano; my mother had a jazzy voice and she loved to sing.

“Miriam Karlin and Dick Emery used to come to these weekly music nights. My dad would play the piano, everyone would sing and I’d listen over the banister!”

Mrs Robson’s passion for music stayed with her throughout her life and only last year, at the age of 98, she went to see Leonard Cohen in concert.

“Music was a great passion of hers – she loved the opera, she loved Neil Diamond and she loved Leonard Cohen with a passion,” said Jeremy.

Charlotte Robson died on March 15, 2013. She is survived by her two sons, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.