‘Richard W Smith Memorial Award’ 2020

Despite the difficult times we find ourselves in with COVID-19 affecting society as a whole. We wanted to keep as much of our work supporting Maritime Ipswich going as we can. So we are proud and excited to unveil a new award!

The ‘Richard W Smith Memorial Award’ is to be given annually to the person(s) or organisation who, in the opinion of the Trustees of the Ipswich Maritime Trust, have contributed in a significant way to the understanding of local maritime culture or heritage.

Richard W Smith who passed away in 2017 was a founder member of the Ipswich Maritime Trust, an author, photographer and great contributor to the appreciation of local maritime history and heritage. As such we have named the award in his honour.

The award is a bronze cast medallion engraved with the recipient’s name for them to display how they wish.

We are sure you are all wondering who will receive the first award. Well we can unveil that the recipient of the 2020 ‘Richard W Smith Memorial Award’ is Robert Malster.

When it comes to knowledge of East Anglian history and heritage especially maritime matters, there is no one who has contributed more than Robert Malster. 

2020 ‘Richard W Smith Memorial Award’ recipient Robert Malster.

Over the last few years, he has completed four major volumes of work on maritime East Anglia:

  • Maritime Norfolk Part One (the coast from Wisbech to Caister), (2012)
  • Maritime Norfolk Part Two (primarily Great Yarmouth), (2013)
  • North Sea War 1914-19, (2015)
  • Maritime Suffolk, (2017)

He has been a leading supporter in many local history societies, often taking an active role. Whenever a question of local maritime history arises, the answer would be to just “ask Bob Malster” and, when asked, he is always extremely helpful, frequently going beyond a simple answer and providing incredibly in-depth information. 

Not only has he written and spoken on many aspects of East Anglian local history, with shelves full of books that bear his name but, less obviously, he has been for many years instrumental in getting large numbers of other people to put their research into writing, championing them and helping them get works published.

A selection of Robert Malster’s works on local history

Many works that have been published on East Anglian local history in the last 45 years owe something to Robert Malster. Indeed, at times, he has provided his editorial services freely in order to get an important work of local history before the public. Recent examples would be his work on R. W. Smith & J. Freestone’s important book “The Port of Ipswich, its shipping and trades” (2011) as well as H. Moffat’s “Ships and Shipyards of Ipswich 1700-1970” (2002) and Ted Frost’s “From Tree to Sea” (1985).

These important works of local history would never have been published but for Bob Malster’s efforts. He has almost turned 88, yet he still continues to work on other publications.

It is for all these reasons that the Ipswich Maritime Trust honour him as the first recipient of the ‘Richard W Smith Memorial Award’.

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