Norman Keith Hislop, one of the founding members of the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers, passed away on 8th July.
Norman (known as Keith) was born in 1927 in Holbrook near Belper, Derbyshire. He won a scholarship to study maths at Cambridge University, where he joined the university air squadron. In 1947 he married a fellow Cambridge student, Kay, with whom he was together for 72 years.
Keith also studied at Nottingham College of Art, hoping to move into industrial design, but flying remained a passion, so he set out on a dual career. He joined 504 Nottingham County Auxiliary Squadron, flying front line in the first generation of jet fighters during The Cold War.
In parallel, he was recruited by furnituremaker Gimson and Slater (G&S). He travelled widely and was inspired by the sleek, pure lines of Scandinavian design. Even his earliest work still has a modern feel.
By 1957 his squadron’s role was taken over by ground-to-air missile systems, which coincided with a main board directorship with G&S, which took him from design director to MD to chairman by his retirement in 1992, while working with educational bodies and chairing advisory committees and research groups.
According to his tribute, "he had huge respect for the skilled craftspeople who built furniture, kept the order books full and helped many hardworking Long Eaton families to thrive. There was never any rivalry with his neighbouring manufacturers – they were all part of the Long Eaton team".