Norman KENYON, (1942 – 2012)

Norman was our Chairman for ten years, and this website was his inspiration, on which he spent considerable hours in the creation of this wonderful record of Elmswell’s history. We are all extremely grateful to Norman for amassing this incredible amount of information, and dedicate this website to his memory.  Since his untimely death in 2012, more information is being added to the website, in the hope of doing justice to all Norman’s work, and to serve as his lasting legacy for our growing village.

The text below is Norman’s own account of the creation of this website:I have to take the blame for most of this website, all except where I have credited others specifically. Unfortunately I am not much of a historian, more a collector – a sort of chameleon whose tongue whips out to catch any passing scrap of old news or picture and swallow the morsel into the infinite depths of my computer. Then I use what skills I have to correlate all this information and make it accessible to others, for their research (if they are looking into their family histories or other topics) or just for interest (if they have moved to this village and would like to get a flavour of how it used to be).

The site started life in 2001, after I had seen two collections of old postcards briefly displayed at a church fair – normally their owners keep them locked up in fireproof filing cabinets. It occurred to me that if they were published on the Internet then anyone could see them, anytime. It was just about then that, standing in the queue at the library to have my books checked out (as one did in those days!), I spotted a small book on HTML – the code in which one writes web pages, so I borrowed that too; the postcard owners kindly lent me their collections for an evening, and not long after the site was born.

Now it has over 300 “pages” – some of them much longer than any book page, and perhaps 1300 photographs. I welcome feedback, and am always happy to receive contributions, however small, from people who have an interest in Elmswell’s past.

My own CV does not boast any historian or computing credentials. I was a graduate researcher in telecommunications, at Cambridge University, at Bell Labs New Jersey, and then at BT Labs Martlesham; later manager of the Visual Telecomms Division there and finally an international standards rapporteur (negotiator). Retiring early, I concentrated on my main hobby, vocal music (mainly classical), as singer (countertenor), composer/arranger, and conductor. So the History Group and website really are spare-time occupations. When the Group was inaugurated in 2000 I volunteered to draft a Constitution for it, and then was not quick enough to step back when a Chairman was required! So for 10 years I was Mr. Buck-stops-here, though I take little credit as the hard work was done by a succession of very able Meetings Secretaries. I was very grateful to Peter Lester for taking over at the 2010 AGM, and wish him every success.