Norman Allum 1929–2016
Norman and Mary joined the Society in 1978, soon after its inception. It was not known then that this was to be a red-letter day for the KHS. Within weeks, Mary was Treasurer and Norman was on the committee. He and Mary had taken over the running of The Burton, which made their lives very full, but they did not let this stand in the way of their commitments. Norman became chairman twice, and was several times offered the post again, but had to decline.
In 1994, Norman came along to the library in order to assist in the running of the History Room. This was part of the contract; free rent for manning the library. All the people of the world seemed to be in pursuit of their ancestry at this time, probably because of the spread of computer communication. The task became burdensome for the librarians who had enough to do without the extra work of finding their clients’ forebears. So everyone was happy, the librarians at the front and the History Society in the back room. It was at this time that Norman began the masterwork of compiling our database, the most comprehensive programme regarding the people of Kington ever to be attempted. It took him some ten years before nearing completion.
Norman was exceptionally intelligent and dogged. He began this monumental task by reading and recording every name and event from 1907 to 1964 which has appeared in the Kington Times. He followed this with the census records, the births, marriages and deaths, and every mention of Kington and Kingtonians which appeared in journals, books, vestry minutes and directories. He left nothing unresearched and then managed, by some technical wizardry, to transfer this information into the genealogy of the named recipient. Prior to this, he had sought the knowledge gained by the once local boy Ffrancis Payne (d. 1992), to assist in building up a picture of early High Street residents and shop-owners. Some of these memories are very amusing. Of course, all this went into the budding database.
When Mary died, Norman was distraught. He tried to keep going, but was never the same. He sold his house on Gravel Hill and eventually went into care at The Garth, where he passed away on September 1st.
This dedicated historian has gone, but his database and all his efforts for the Society will live on for many years to come. Vera Harrison
Some Dates and Events for Your Diary.
Friday 21st October 7-30pm
Kington History Society AGM & Cheese & Wine evening with a Clay pipe display from John Potts and the Kington Times open at a page from the same date over 60 yrs ago.
We hope to see some new faces and certainly as many members as possible as subs will be due, £10 single £15 joint membership.
We also have some vacancies on the committee, one of which is owing to the retirement of Dr. John Rerrie who is stepping down after twelve years. We hope you can come along and support us and, hopefully, one or two of you may wish to join our busy committee. Please leave your names with our secretary, Julia Reid, 01544 231663.
The programme group also need some new faces too as it is a committed task setting up the programme one year in advance and checking it through the year to ensure that all goes to plan on the day. If you have any ideas, or feel that you can contribute to our programme then please get in touch with Nancy Wheatland 01544 230691. Thank you for your support to date and we hope to see you all again over the next years programme. Nancy Wheatland
Dr. Rerrie’s interesting review of Kington’s Old Picture House will appear in the next Bulletin.