My one-legged Grandad

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That’s my Grandad above, Edward Robinson. On the left you cheeky beggars.  He was a one-legged cobbler. That’s right, a one-legged cobbler. He was dead before I was born, so it was never a topic of conversation. However, coincidence struck when I looked him up on the 1911 census.

Because there he was, listed as being a patient in the Deaconess Hospital, on census night, 4 April, 1911. Here’s what it looked like in ye olde days.

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I then contacted the archive service of Lothian Hospitals, and a week later, they sent through his patient record! Stars, so they are, stars.

He was admitted on the 21st March, 2011 with adhesive sears. Now, seeing as how he was an apprentice shoemaker at the time, I’m guessing there was some kind of horrible accident involving a vat of glue in the shop. On the 23rd March he had an operation, described as “removal of bone” by the surgeon Mr Stuart. So, goodbye leg. He was discharged on the 25th April. So now we know, one hundred years after the event.

His past was a bit of a mystery, as his birth certificate states that his father was John Robinson, a railwayman.  However the birth certificate also states that his father had died 4 years before he was born!  Which either makes for the longest pregnancy in history, or the possibility that Great Granny Robinson was a bit mucky after he died.



  1. I went to a cobbler when I was kid. He could fix all the leather and rubber parts of my artificial leg. Your Grandad probably fixed his own leg. A profession to match his disability,which is very smart. We also marry our caregivers.

  2. Well, to be fair, he was an apprentice shoemaker before he lost his leg. In fact, that was how he lost his leg. But I’m sure his skills came in handy, as with a dozen bairns to look after, money would have been tight.

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