Robert Spencer Robinson

Robert Spencer Robinson

Royal Navy Admiral
Born 1809

Admiral Sir Robert Spencer Robinson KCB was a British Naval officer, who served as two five-year terms as Controller of the Navy from February 1861 to February 1871, and was therefore responsible for the procurement of warships at a time when the Royal Navy was changing over from unarmoured wooden ships to ironclads. As a result of the Captain disaster, Robinson was not given a third term as Controller.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Robert Spencer Robinson.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Robert Spencer Robinson.


1809 Birth Born in 1809.


1821 12 Years Old Robinson entered the Navy on 6 December 1821.


1830 21 Years Old He was promoted to lieutenant on 27 September 1830, and from 5 May 1831 until 1834 served as lieutenant in the 50-gun razee frigate Dublin, commanded by Lord James Townshend. … Read More
1836 27 Years Old In 1836 he was appointed to the 84-gun two-decker Asia. … Read More
1837 28 Years Old On 26 September 1837, he was appointed to the 28-gun frigate Tyne, which had been commissioned on 5 September 1837 by Captain John Townshend, and was also serving in Mediterranean.
1838 29 Years Old On 28 June 1838 he was promoted to commander.


1839 30 Years Old 1 More Event
In April 1839, he completed a book: The Nautical Steam Engine Explained, and Its Powers and Capabilities Described for the Officers of the Navy and Others Interested in the Important Results of Steam Navigation.
A replacement for Robinson as captain of the Phoenix was appointed on 1 March 1840.
1841 32 Years Old On 10 May 1841 he married Clementina, daughter of Admiral Sir John Louis.
1847 38 Years Old In 1847, he wrote "Observations on the Steam Ships of the Royal Navy".


1850 41 Years Old On 15 February 1850, Robinson was appointed as captain of the 46-gun screw-frigate Arrogant in the Channel Fleet off Lison, where he replaced Captain Robert Fitzroy. … Read More
1854 45 Years Old On 15 June 1854, Robinson commissioned the new 80-gun screw two-decker Colossus at Portsmouth. … Read More
Robinson left Colossus on 24 January 1856.


1860 - 1861 2 More Events
1866 57 Years Old 1 More Event
Robinson was promoted to vice admiral on 2 April 1866. … Read More
1867 58 Years Old …  In late 1867, for instance, he wrote that a 'comparison was made between the armoured ships of England and those of France; it was pointed out the autumn of 1866 that, on the whole we were manifestly inferior in the number of our ironclads to that Power, taking into account those that were building... … Read More
1868 59 Years Old …  On 18 December 1868, Vice-Admiral Robinson was appointed Third Naval Lord. … Read More


1870 61 Years Old When Robinson's subordinate, the Chief Constructor, Edward James Reed resigned in July 1870, Robinson described this as a national disaster.
Robinson's second five-year term as Controller came to an end on 9 February 1871. … Read More
1873 64 Years Old In 1873 he stood as independent Liberal critic of Gladstone's naval policy at the Hull by-election, without success.
1889 80 Years Old Robinson died at his residence 61 Eaton Place, London on 27 July 1889, and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.