Whispers Across Continents

Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

In Whispers Across Continents, Gareth follows the extraordinary stories of a unique, yet surprisingly little-known family.

Set at a time of political and social upheaval in the late nineteenth century, the Robinsons rub shoulders with leading personalities of the day. The reader is whisked from the fens and Wolds of rural Lincolnshire to the tea gardens of Darjeeling, the palaces of Constantinople, and the streets of New York.

The book largely revolves around the lives of four key characters:

Spencer Robinson, originally a tenant farmer from East Keal. He migrated to India to become a tea farmer and also worked on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Hannah Rodda, raised in the slums of London’s East End. The second wife of Spencer, she was one of the first women to convert to Islam in late Victorian England.

Ahmet ‘Robenson’, a son of Spencer and Hannah. One of the first goalkeepers for the Galatasaray football team, he introduced Scouting and basketball to the Ottoman Empire.

Gertrude Eisenman, an ‘illegitimate’ daughter of Hannah. She became a cult figure in Germany for her exploits as a racing motor-cyclist and a car rally driver in late Wilhelmine Germany.

Whispers Across Continents book cover

Hannah Rodda

Hannah Rodda

Ahmet Robenson

Ahmet 'Robenson'

Gertrude Eisenman

Gertrude Eisenman

This properly referenced, rich and detailed work is a model of family history at its best
Jad Adams, Who Do You Think You Are?

Winrow weaves an epic and fascinating tale of the unique lives
of the Robinsons
Karen Clare, Family Tree

Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons was published by Amberley in 2019
Available from Amberly publishing

Articles, chapters and reviews

Chapter: "'Fatma Hanim of the English Converts': Hannah Rodda Robinson and the Ottoman Court", in Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor and Jamie Gilham (eds.), Muslim Women in Britain, 1850-1950: 100 Years of Hidden History (London: Hurst & Company, 2023), pp.97-113
August 2020
Article: Extraordinary life of Cornish woman who married a fake warlord, CornwallLive.com on Hannah Rodda
June 2020
Article: Who was Ahmet Robenson? by Gareth Winrow. Published in the Journal of Anglo-Turkish Relations, Vol.1, Issue 2 (2020), pp.1-12
February 2020
Article: Gareth writes in the River Journal: Did You Know?...This Ground-Breaking Turkish Sportsman lived in Tarrytown
January 2020
Review of Whispers Across Continents on the salaam.co.uk portal


April 2021
Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons - a talk with Gareth Winrow for the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT)
July 2020
Gareth talks about the life of Hannah Rodda: Empires, Converts & Community - Episode 6
July 2019
Patriot and Liberal Internationalist? The Life of Ahmed Robenson
Watch Gareth speak at the Levantine Heritage Foundation


September 2020
On Amberley Publishing's website
March 2020
In Social History Society