A RECENT rummage through the Bugle archive unearthed a couple of curiosities in the form of photographs from the 1930s — see our June 13th edition, page 19.
They showed a rather lavish dinner and dance at an unidentified local town hall, held for the staff of Hale and Hale, the Tipton foundry, and were supplied by Barbara Rushworth of Herne Bay in Kent a couple of years ago.
We asked, as always, if anyone could add tell us anything more about Hale and Hale, and we weren’t disappointed. We’ve had two particularly good responses, but for this week we’ll concentrate on the first of them, which came from Mrs Emmie Hale (no relation!) of Gornal.
Mrs Hale told us that her late husband Charles Hale was Sales Manager at Hale and Hale, and showed us several items of memorabilia from his days there.
“He worked for them when he left the Merchant Navy in 1945,” Mrs Hale said. “He took over a job from a fellow who had left the firm, but then he came back. So Charles went to Goodyear’s in Dudley, but within about a year Hale and Hale sent for him again. He worked under Mr J A Wylde, the Director, and he was there until, I think, 1966.”
Mrs Hale has a couple of photographs which, like our previous piece, show a function for the Hale and Hale staff, though this time we can name the venue — it was the Station Hotel in Dudley, and the date was Friday 13th May, 1949. The occasion was the presentation of the British Empire Medal to the Melting Shop foreman, John Rathbone.
Times were still hard in 1949 with some items still under rationing restrictions, but the menu that evening was still one to make the mouth water. Tomato soup for starter, followed by fresh salmon and mayonnaise salad, roast duck with apple sauce, potatoes and green peas, fruit sundae, cheese and biscuits, and coffee to finish.
Following the dinner, Mr Rathbone was presented with his medal by Mr W Edgar Hale, the founder and chairman of the company. Also receiving awards were Edward Hamilton, foreman of the Grinders and Fettlers, on behalf of his colleagues, and T Ingram, of behalf of the staff of Hale and Hale’s associate companies.
Mrs Hale also showed us some fine items which came from associated company Hale Enamellers, also of Tipton, which husband Charles had brought home over the years.
She has at least half a dozen cast iron ash trays, enamelled in white and green.
Some feature fine, very stylish line drawings of couples dining, others bear sketches of what looks like continental table ware, while another is an advert in itself, for Hale’s Blackheart Malleable Iron; no doubt a salesman’s piece of which Charles would have had many to hand out to customers on his rounds.
The most unique, though, is a green ashtray bearing Charles Hale’s name and the date: 27th November 1961 — perhaps an anniversary or a landmark in his career?
Charles also brought home some other cast iron items, with a very colourful lustre finish. Examples Mrs Hale still has include ash trays and decorative pieces in the form of a fox’s head and a large leaf.
“The director Mr Wylde, known as Tony, was a keen amateur artist, and would send out cards at Christmas with black and white line drawings which he’d done himself, ” she told us.
“He lived in Kinver, so he drew the Stewponey and the Rock Houses, but he also did lovely sketches of his own house. At one point he lived at North Lodge, and then he moved to the Iron House, and both of them featured on Christmas cards.”
Do let us know if you have your own memories or memorabilia from Hale and Hale’s foundry. Call, write, or email email@example.com