Robin Moulsdale


Shrewsbury School writes: Robin Moulsdale, former Housemaster and teacher, sportsman of distinction, and, in the second half of his life, mystic seeker, has died at the age of 93.

Robin was born on 6th October 1928 in Berkshire where his father, himself a distinguished games player, was a housemaster at Bradfield College.

Robin followed his brother to Shrewsbury School which he left in 1946, having been a Praepostor, Captain of an unbeaten football XI and Captain of fives. He followed his father and brother to Emanuel College, Cambridge, reading History and English and obtaining a Golf blue and a Fives half-blue.

After a short spell teaching at Ludgrove under Alan Barber, he joined the Shrewsbury School staff in 1951, making his energetic presence felt in many areas and playing a leading part in Old Salopian activities unrivalled for all-round distinction, save perhaps by Alan Barber in an earlier generation: Captain of four winning Arthur Dunn sides, winner (with Dick Kittermaster) of the Kinnaird Cup on three occasions, a tireless Saracen cricketer and for many years a major figure in the Halford Hewitt golf competition.

In 1955 he married Julie Millen, first met on the ski slopes, and the next decade was punctuated by the arrival of their five children. But if Robin’s schoolmastering career might so far seem to be set in a conventional mode, he later wrote ‘As soon as I grew up, which was a few years after I started teaching, I began to be very critical of a lot of things in public schools.’ His progressive ideas were to be seen in practice when he became a Housemaster in 1962, and over the next 14 years he not only radically transformed the House but also played a major part in transforming the School, spearheading a change of emphasis from a hierarchical power system to a much more co-operative and caring community, steering into uncharted waters throughout the turbulence of the 1960s.

In 1979 Robin travelled to India on sabbatical leave and become a lifelong follower of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho. This revelatory experience changed his life completely and led him away from Shrewsbury in 1981, and, after Julie’s tragic death from multiple sclerosis in 1988, to his second marriage to Gyanrani whom he had met in an ashram. Gyanrani was a devoted soulmate and she survives him.

Richard Barber writes:

Robin Moulsdale was Shrewsbury’s greatest ever fives player, partnering his great friend and Salopian contemporary Dick Kittermaster in the Kinnaird Cup which they won three years running between 1954-56, an achievement that put them for a time into the Guinness Book of Records of that era, alongside their greatest rivals Peter and John May. But Robin’s greatest legacy to Eton Fives was as a schoolmaster, imparting his skill to generations of young players, imprinting on so many a lifelong love of the game itself and of the consideration on court with which it should always be played. Fives players of an older generation remember Robin Moulsdale for his great skill at the game and the records he achieved, but principally for the way he played the game as the most courteous and fair-minded opponent by whom anyone could ever wish to be defeated. He will always remain one of the game’s legends.