|HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: |
Frank Herbert Norbury was born November 26, 1871 in Liverpool, England to Alfred and Feroline (neé Pixton) Norbury. He was educated at preparatory and secondary schools in Liverpool and later attended the Liverpool City School of Art, the Lambeth Model School, and the School of Art, Architecture, and Applied Art at the University of Liverpool. On June 10, 1896, he married Flores Ethel Fall, also of Liverpool. She was an accomplished pianist and composer. Together they had a son, Hubert, and a daughter, Esmé, both born in Liverpool.
From 1893 to 1900, Frank was a carver and instructor at the School of Art, Architecture and Applied Art at the University of Liverpool. He then went into private practice and from 1900 until 1914 did the carving for most of the public buildings in Liverpool.
In 1902, Norbury volunteered for service with the 1st Cheshire Royal Engineers and was appointed Lieutenant a year later. In 1908 he was promoted to Captain and transferred to the Cheshire Infantry Brigade. He served in this unit as a Major during the First World War and also held a command in the Canadian Militia. During the war he was mentioned twice in dispatches and in 1918 was awarded the Italian Croce di Guerra for war merit and the Order of the British Empire.
After his discharge from the military in 1919, Norbury returned to Liverpool to discover that his business had been taken over by competitors. Learning that the cost to re-establish himself would be too great, he decided to follow his son to Canada. Hubert had emigrated there in1919. In 1920, Frank H. Norbury emigrated to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta. He soon established a reputation as a sculptor and became recognized for his Red Deer, Lacombe, and Holden War Memorials. He also carved the concrete marker for Garneau near the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, made the grave marker for Twelve-Foot Davis at Peace River, and the hand-carved wooden furniture in the Central Masonic Temple. He worked in stone, wood, marble, iron, and plaster. In order to supplement his income, Norbury also worked as a carpenter, a gas inspector, a substitute teacher for a technical school, and a lecturer with the Extension Department of the University of Alberta.
Frank Norbury became a member of the Edmonton Art Club in January 1922, served as president in 1924 and 1925, and held other executive positions later. He was made an honorary member of the club in the 1950s when he moved to Victoria, British Columbia for several years. As a sculptor, he was active in other city art groups and was art critic for the Edmonton Journal for about 20 years. He was a member of the Council of the Edmonton Museum of Arts from its foundation, was a long-time member of the Edmonton Art Club, and the Alberta Society of Artists. The Edmonton New-Church Society was founded by him in his home with Reverend P. Peters conducting the worship services.
During the Second World War he was employed at the Air Observer School in Edmonton as a rigger, doing intricate woodcarving for the repair of broken fuselage parts. When the training plan was terminated at the end of the war, Norbury, aged 73, obtained employment as a draftsman for the city and then for its Water Department. He finally retired at the age of 82. In 1953 his wife Ethel, died shortly before their daughter Esme, also died. Frank then moved to Victoria to be closer to his son. Two years later he returned to Edmonton, where he remained until his death on December 26, 1965.
Frank’s son Hubert Norbury immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom in 1919, settling first as a homesteader, then in the 1920s as a newspaper reporter in Edmonton. While working for the Alberta Department of Public Works in the 1930s, Hubert Norbury took up amateur photography and was founding president of the Edmonton Photographic Society. Hubert is also noted for having been a prominent Edmonton flutist. Joining the Canadian Navy during WWII, he served as photography instructor, a career he continued in the postwar years at CFB Esquimalt, in British Columbia. He married Marjorie Race on July 22, 1949.
Upon retirement in 1958, Hubert established himself as a freelance architectural photographer, working primarily for Farmer Construction. Farmer was one of the largest and busiest companies in Victoria to benefit from the postwar building boom. Hubert Norbury's crisp, hard-edge style was well suited to the clean-lined forms of Modern Movement architecture.
Esmé Norbury married Helmer M. Hanna in 1927 and they had two daughters, Norma Louise and Stella Jeannette.