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Black Country workmen with a flair for flannels

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 16, 2014

  • Possibly a rare photograph that appears to suggest the HAC was establishment in 1919

  • An advert from Coronation year, 1953

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THE stalwart members of this quintessentially English cricket team, who also appear to have a flair for flannels, worked for one of the most famous industrial companies ever to have forged their names on the tablet of Black Country history, Noah Hingley & Sons.

Some, possibly all, would probably have been sporting a very different uniform just a few years before if the date printed on the building behind is correct. It clearly states N. Hingley & Sons Ltd Athletic Club 1919.

In 1914, land surrounded by Bluebell Road, Halesowen Road, Mousesweet Brook and the old GWR Netherton & Halesowen railway embankment at Old Hill was acquired to erect and develop Hingley's Athletic club (HAC) and the grounds comprised of a clubhouse, events hall, changing rooms, bowling green, tennis courts and sports fields. Because of the outbreak of the First World War the precise year the club was established has always been uncertain, although the club is known to have been fully functional in 1925 and continued to provide for Hingley employees and the local community until its closure in the late 1980s.

The photograph of the cricket team however seems to confirm that the club was established in 1919. It was rescued from a car boot sale at Cheltenham race course about ten years ago by Bugle reader Keith Taylor of Cradley Heath, but other than what can be seen at face value, the names of the players remain a mystery. The photograph was taken by the well known Black Country photographer E. Beech, who worked at the Imperial Studio, Cradley Heath during the first few decades of the 20th century.

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