About the Family

How it all started

How it all started
by Derek Bickford-Smith

The initiative for the start of this research for Norfolk's & Norwich's around the world was the visitor book started by Stanley Taylor in his uniquely organised City Regalia Exhibition in 1991 - a book signed by visitors from all over the world during the five years of that exhibition. Since the time of Stanley's residence the regalia has largely been lost to the public and is now housed, impersonally and without the fascinating background that Stanley used to describe to his many visitors. A regalia without peer in the United Kingdom (and the world!). Even that of The City of London had been largely destroyed during that original Cromwellian revolution.

Stanley TaylorLeft: Stanley W Taylor - that true Norfolk & Norwich gentleman - unassuming, but with oh so many stories and an immense sense of humour!

Stanley Taylor's Record:
31 years of service to Norwich City Council.
16 years Mace bearer - Toastmaster etc.
11 years Chauffer to the Lord Mayor.
3 years City Regalia curator.
He served 72 City Dignitaries - Lord Mayors and Sheriffs. Took part in 23 thousand civic engagements, and more!. And before that - awkward squad Army service, Fearless Steel Erector everywhere - on his motor bike!

The visitors book in Stanley's Regalia Exhibition contained the record of 10 Norfolk & Norwich communities. The astonishment at that time was how little was known of Norfolk & Norwich namesakes - Norwich Union records showed but a few. Norwich City and Norfolk County knew no more, and the American resources were no help that first instance.

Finally it was through large scale maps that primary discoveries were made, written to and in many cases eliciting no interest or replies. The realisation came that the only way to make progress was to visit, invited or no. The discovery of being able to become a courier, with minimal fare costs, within the constraints of having two weeks between the outgoing and the return journey all became economically possible.

And so, my bags were packed and off I started on a journey of discovery that was to take me around the world. You can read about my adventures and mishaps, and the many friends I met in the Derek's Travels section of this web site.