Dugdale, Norman (1921–95), civil servant and poet, was born 6 February 1921 in Burnley, Lancashire, England, third child of William and Eva Dugdale. Educated at Burnley Grammar School and Manchester University (graduating BA in 1941), he joined the board of trade as an assistant principal (1941) and transferred to Northern Ireland in 1948. He enjoyed swift promotion in the Ministry of Health and Social Services thereafter: assistant secretary (1955), senior assistant secretary (1964), second secretary (1968), and permanent secretary (1970). A central architect of integrated services between general practices, acute and social services, he also published four poetry collections. A prospect of the west (1970) has three sections of Irish, English, and miscellaneous interest. ‘Anglican church: west Cork’ embraces the solitary sense identified elsewhere by Derek Mahon, while ‘The disposition of the weather’ is a precise diagnosis of inner darkness. Corncrake in October (1978) is a technically superior work, while Running repairs (1983) takes ageing as its main theme. Most accomplished is Limbo (1991), voiced with a quiet pain that turns to anxious contemplation in his version of Cavafy, ‘In a large Greek colony: 200 BC’. After retirement from the civil service in 1984 he served as chairman of the Bryson House charity, trustee of the Pushkin prize, a governor of the National Institute for Social Work from 1985, and a board member of the British Council from 1995. He died in Belfast on 27 October 1995. He married (1949) the painter Mary Dugdale, and was made CB (1974) and awarded an honorary D.Litt. by the University of Ulster (1983).
ITWW; Ir. Times, 1 Nov. 1995; Times, 9 Nov. 1995; Fortnight Review, no. 360 (Apr. 1997), 40; Robert Greacen, ‘Ithaca achieved’, Books Ireland, no. 213 (May 1998), 126–7