H. Vernon Radcliffe was born in Rotherham on 10 March 1926. After attending Rotherham Grammar School in 1944, Radcliffe went straight into the army, serving in India and Malaya before his demob in 1947, with the rank of Sergeant. Radcliffe then went to work for the Meteorological Office, becoming Resident observer at Kew before entering training for museum work at Sheffield. Following short spells of work at Vestry House, Walthamstowe and Gunnersbury Park, Radcliffe was appointed the first Curator at the Museum for the Borough of Newark (subsequently Newark District Council) in November 1964. He retired from that post in 1991 and died in June 2011.
Radcliffe's interest in meteorology began as a boy when he acquired his first raingauge in Rotherham. He kept rainfall records almost continuously from childhood until his death and received an M.B.E for his meteorological work in 1997.