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No.: PR0183
TITLE: Frank H. Norbury fonds
CREATOR: Frank H. Norbury
DATE RANGE: 1838-1979
EXTENT: 2.00 m of textual records and other material.
Fonds also includes 851 photographs, 1 tintype, 13 glass plate negatives, 217 negatives, 10 maps, 2 plans, 3 artworks.

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.

CUSTODIAL HISTORY:Hubert Norbury, the son of Frank H. Norbury, deposited most of the records in PR1966.0157 with the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1966. In the months following the main deposit, several papers and photographs were deposited at different intervals by Hubert Norbury and by Mrs. Stella Jeanette Little. All of these deposits were included with the main deposit under one accession number. Another donation was made in 2014 by Stella J. Little, granddaughter of Frank Norbury.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Fonds consists of the family records of Frank and Ethel Norbury, and their two children Hubert and Esmé The records include correspondence, photographs, service records, school records, newspaper clippings, compositions, and artwork. The fonds will be arranged into the following four series: Frank H. Norbury series, Flores “Ethel” Norbury series, Hubert and Marjorie Norbury series, and Helmer and Esme Hanna series.
ARRANGEMENT NOTE: The order in which Norbury’s records were received was not that of the creator but rather was the result of the random timing of various deposits. As a result there was little order on which to build a satisfactory arrangement and some papers and photographs were redistributed. As far as possible, the papers and photographs were arranged within certain general classifications according to their chronological order. With the arrival of the second accession, four series were created and material from the original accession was redistributed to align with this new arrangement.
LANGUAGE NOTE: The material is in English, with a few records in Italian.
ASSOCIATED MATERIAL: Also see the Frank Hubert Norbury (Major) clippings file at the City of Edmonton Archives and the Architectural Photography negatives and prints of Hubert Norbury available at the University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections.
RELATED RECORDS: For more information on Stella Little (neé Hanna), also see the John “Jack” and Stella Little Family fonds (PR3751) at the Provincial Archvies of Alberta.
RELATED SERIES: PR0183.0001 (Frank H. Norbury series)
PR0183.0002 (Ethel Norbury series)
PR0183.0003 (Hubert and Marjorie Norbury series)
PR0183.0004 (Esmé Hanna series )
RELATED FILES: Display FileList
RELATED ITEMS: A7802 (Major Frank Herbert Norbury)
A7803 (Fort Chipewyan, Lake Athabasca, Alberta)
A7804 (War Memorial, Holden, Alberta)
A7805 (Red Deer War Memorial, Edmonton, Alberta)
A7806 (War Memorial, Red Deer, Alberta)
A7807 (Unveiling the War Memorial, Red Deer, Alberta)
A7808 (Memorial to Edward Martin, Fort Smith, Nothwest Territories)
A7809 (Sculpting the Red Deer War Memorial)
A7810 (Sculpting the Red Deer War Memorial)
A7811 (Frank H. Norbury)

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