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Reginald William Norman

Poet and Cartoonist

'Ma Norman'
Reg's mother
Courtesy of Rushden Museum
Mr Reginald William Norman was born in 1901. He lived in Moor Road and went to the school there. His mother was one of the teachers and she also made knitted whips with little bells on to sell to the local children.

Reg had a stiff leg and always walked with a stick, and he was a leather worker in a small factory in Duck Street. He was married to Lily Frances and they had one son, Patrick.

R.W.N. as he became known, created a cartoon character "Air Ada" and it was featured by the Evening Telegraph for many years, and the cartoon was drawn by Peter Nevett. The cartoons portrayed a lady called Ada talking to her friend in "Rushdenese" or "Ruzdin" - our own distinctive dialect. The conversations Ada had were always down to earth and often included something her husband had said, "Nye sez". R.W.N. also wrote rhymes, both in plain English and in 'Ruzdin', sometimes describing events in the town.

In the 1980s some of his work was published in a fund raising book, together with a 70 year history of the "Rushden St John Ambulance Brigade" in aid of their Motor Ambulance Appeal. Some of the rhymes had been written for a War Memorial fund raising booklet, to put up a memorial inside the hospital in Hayway and that then became known as the Memorial Hospital.

A cartoon of 'Air Ada'
Air Ada talking to Mawd
Book cover
Sketch by Peter Nevett
A signed cover
In 1995 another booklet was published by Rushden & District History Society, to commemorate the 'blue plaque' erected on his home in Moor Road. It included several of the rhymes Reg had written especially to enclose with British Legion parcels sent to the troops during WWII.
1995 booklet

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