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Obituary: Norman Routledge

(1928-2013)

Many members of the Society will have happy memories of Norman Routledge, who died on 27 April 2013 at the age of 85.

He was a loyal member of the Victorian Society and a regular attender at activities.  Always content to fade into the background, he was charming, witty, and friendly.  In 1494 his ancestor Simon Routledge raided the castle of the Scotts in the Borders, stealing (among much else) 80 stones of cheese. The Routledges were packed off to Liddesdale; the Scotts ended up with the Dukedom of Buccleuch, the  Routledges in the north London working class.

Norman was born in Letchworth. He was awarded a First in Mathematics at King’s College, Cambridge, and in 1951 a Fellowship. During his National Service he worked at RAF Farnborough, where he was a colleague and friend of Alan Turing, and at the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington.  He left King’s in 1959 to teach at Eton College, becoming a housemaster in 1972.  Until his retirement in 1989 he was a charismatic and greatly loved teacher.  He was a talented musician, playing both harp and organ.  He rode a motorbike (later replaced by a scooter).  Among many acts of generosity he paid for the restoration of the tomb of J.F. Bentley in Mortlake RC Cemetery.

He contributed a delightful series of video talks to ‘Web of Stories’ (just Google his name).  He had planned to be buried with ceremony in the almost unused mausoleum (Thomas Harrison, 1795-8) of his former pupil the Earl of Wemyss, at Gosford in Lothian, but logistical problems made this impossible, though his ashes will eventually be placed there.

A memorial service will take place in Eton College Chapel on Friday 8 November at 2.45pm: all welcome.

Peter Howell 

Tuesday 17 September, 2013

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