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Groundbreaking economist commemorated with blue plaque

A groundbreaking economist has been commemorated with a blue plaque which was erected on her former Notting Hill home today.

English Heritage installed the blue plaque, dedicated to Joan Robinson, at 44 Kensington Park Gardens in Notting Hill.

Mrs Robinson lived at the house with her parents and sisters from 1919. 

While living there, Mrs Robinson volunteered to help unemployed people during the post-war depression, which was pivotal in her decision to study economics.

Born Joan Violet Maurice on October 30, 1903, she studied economics at Girton College, Cambridge, but was not permitted to formally graduate, as was the case for all women at Cambridge until 1948.

Joan Robinson’s daughter, Barbara Jeffrey, with the blue plaque this morning (Picture: English Heritage)

In July 1926, she married fellow economist Austin Robinson and, two months later, they travelled to India which sparked her lifelong interest in developing economies.

The couple returned to Cambridge in 1928 and had two daughters, Ann and Barbara.

Mrs Robinson began publishing articles on economics in the early 1930s and was recognised internationally for her first book, Economics of Imperfect Competition, in 1933.

She continued to publish throughout her career and, in 1949, was promoted to Reader at Cambridge. 

The blue plaque at 44 Kensington Park Gardens in Notting Hill.(Picture: English Heritage)

She became a professor at Cambridge University in 1965, narrowly missed out on winning a Nobel prize in 1975, and was the first honorary Fellow of King’s College in 1979. 

After slipping on ice, Mrs Robinson spent several months in a coma, and died on August 5, 1983.

Despite her famous academic achievements, her personal story remains unwritten as she believed her life to be “conventional and uninteresting”. 

A spokesman from English Heritage said they hoped the simple inscription on the blue plaque will encourage people to research into Mrs Robinson’s life.

 Pictured top: Joan Robinson (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

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