1900 - 1980

Born at Hedon, Yorkshire on 11 January 1900, youngest child of Thomas Smedley, draper, and his wife Fannie 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 Fannie and his six elder siblings, Emma M. 11, Olive 10, Hilda 8, Thomas 6, Rupert G. 5, and Norah H. 3, all born at Hull. His father died in 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 he joined the Durham Light Infantry and saw active service in France. After taking a degree in biology at Queens’ College, Cambridge he joined the staff at the Raffle’s Museum in Singapore and in 1928 represented the Straits Settlements at the Fourth Pacific Conference in Java. 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 1905-1985), they had one daughter. During the second world war was with the Ministry of Information and in 1952 he moved to Suffolk taking charge of Ipswich Museum and Christchurch Mansion, conducted many excavations over the county and publishing his articles in the Journal of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. A member of the Ipswich Art Club 1953-1974 but does not seem to have exhibited. 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. He lived at 19 Neale Street, Ipswich and died on 4 April 1980 aged 80.