SMEDLEY, Norman

1900 - 1980

Norman Smedley

Norman Smedley, was born at Hedon, Yorkshire on 11 January 1900, youngest child of Thomas Smedley, draper, and his wife Tannie née Buffey, who married at St Mark, Cleveland Street, Hull on 26 December 1887. In 1901, a 1 year old, living at New Road, Hedon with his parents, 64 year old Thomas and 45 year old Tannie and his six elder siblings, Emma May 11, Olive 10, Hilda 8, Thomas 6, Rupert George 5, and Norah Helena 3, all born at Hull. His father died at Hull on 8 August 1905, aged 67 and in 1911, Norman was living at Melrose Crescent, Patrington, Yorkshire, where his 55 year old mother was a draper, together with six of his seven siblings. At the age of 16, Norman joined the Durham Light Infantry and saw active service in France. After taking a degree in biology at Queens’ College, Cambridge Norman joined the staff at the Raffle’s Museum in Singapore and in 1928 represented the Straits Settlements at the Fourth Pacific Conference in Java. In 1933, ill health forced his retirement from the Colonial Service and he spent the following decade at Doncaster Museum and in 1939, was curator & art gallery manager, living at 1 The Grove, Doncaster with his wife Beryl Edna Smedley née Emms (6 January 1905-9 August 1985), they had two children, a daughter Diana (born 2 November 1929) and a son Derek (born 1 June 1937). During the second world war, Norman was with the Ministry of Information and in 1952 he moved to Suffolk, taking charge of Ipswich Museum and Christchurch Mansion, conducting many excavations over the county and publishing his articles in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. A member of the Ipswich Art Club 1953-1974 but does not seem to have exhibited but did paint. He formed a large collection of old farming implements which were eventually housed at the Museum of Rural Life at Stowmarket where he was director. In 1974 he retired from the Museum and published two books 'Life and Tradition in Suffolk and North-East Essex' (1976) and 'East Anglian Crafts' (1977). He lived at 19 Neale Street, Ipswich and died in the Waveney district of Suffolk on 4 April 1980, aged 80. Illustration courtesy of Derek Smedley.