Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Loss for the Local History World

Although Michelle and I never met Ralph Smedley (one of the few local historians whom we really admired that we somehow never managed to catch up with) we thought that his death deserved an interuption to the normal scheduling of this board, if only because we were huge fans of his work and because his 'Thornton Cleveleys Remembered' was one of the books that led us to our discoveries on Bourne Hill.
Anthony Coppin of the Garstang Courier has written this obituary for Ralph, which sums up his passing and the loss to our local history perectly:

Ralph was the author/compiler of two books on Thornton Cleveleys (old photos and old postcards) and a friend to many amateur historians in the Fylde area.
He was also a friend to many Cleveleys residents who were interested in the past of their seaside town, including the late Fred Anyon (a journalist from Clarence Avenue, whose father had been a local photographer), the late Louis Noon of West Drive West and the late Councillor Frank Townend (Rossall Road sub-postmaster after whom the Townend community centre is named).
Ralph encouraged me in my interest in the history in North Fylde, particularly Poulton and Cleveleys, when I was a reporter on the Blackpool Evening Gazette, covering North Fylde.
I recall him loaning me many documents over the years on various topics (eg the building of the "new" Poulton railway station at the top of the Breck; a "Cleveleys exhibition", and details of the (later famous) architect Lutyens' early work - in Cleveleys.
Ralph was an unassuming chap and certainly knew his stuff. He had been interested in Marsh Mill, Thornton, for some years and, when it was turned into a tourist attraction by Wyre Council he worked at the mill as a guide. He was much respected by his colleagues at the mill.
I did not see as much of him in recent years, which was my loss, though kept in touch through mutal friends. I am sure all who take an interest in local history, especially those who knew him, will be saddened by his passing.
Ralph died on September 16, 2008, aged 75 after a short illness.
A service and cremation was held at Carleton Crematorium on Wednesday, September 24, at 11am.


John said...

I'm very sorry to hear about Mr. Smedley. maybe you could do a quick post about his books, or tell us more about his influence on you?


Jayne said...

Sad to lose such a person, who was also a rich source of information and help to all.
Ditto what John said, would be interesting to read more of what Mr Smedley had done.

Brian Hughes said...

John and Jayne,

I might just do that at some point. In the meantime, however, life for the rest of us antiquarians goes on... and so do excavations. Got a heap of reports to write up from yesterday, but I'll definitely keep the idea on the back boiler for a later date.