EARLIER THIS year we looked back at the history of Hingley Athletic Club, ably guided by Stuart McMaster of Kingswinford.
Stuart’s article (published in four parts — see Bugle editions 1016 to 1020) provided a historical overview of the club’s formation, development and sporting/social activities from 1914 through to its closure in the early 1980s.
Whilst undertaking research for that article, Stuart discovered that an HAC sports medal had been presented to a Hingley employee in 1929.
The following description of the medal with details relating to the recipient was published with the accompanying photograph by an auction house in 2008: "A sterling silver and enamel medal, showing on the front a laurel wreath surrounding a raised circular disc reading ‘Hingley Athletic Club’ with entwined initials of the club in navy and pale blue enamels.
"The reverse side is engraved: Hingley Shield.
Winners 1929. Old Hill Mill.
"It is hallmarked Birmingham 1929. In original condition.
Medal measures 1inch(2.5cm) diameter."
Stuart was particularly intrigued by the engravings on the reverse side of the medal and is wondering whether any of our readers can provide any information regarding the following comments and questions. He asks: "The Hingley Shield — What sporting activity might the Shield have been associated with? "Winners 1929 — The word Winners implies that there were more than one recipient of a Hingley Shield medal, suggesting that the sport was a team sport, e.g. football, cricket, bowls.
Mill "Old Hill Mill — It is believed that Old Hill Mill, which was a large industrial plant that converted pig iron into wrought iron products, was an integral part of The Old Hill Ironworks complex located at Powke Lane, Old Hill. The ironworks also included Old Hill Furnaces, comprising two large blast furnaces and a foundry which manufactured the pig iron destined for the Mill. The ironworks was one of many companies located in and around The Black Country who were members of the Hingley Group of companies."
"T. Collier — assumed to be a Mr Collier who was clearly associated with the Mill at Powke Lane and an active member of HAC. It is assumed that Mr Collier lived locally to the Mill and I am wondering whether any relatives of Mr Collier are still residing in the area. On the other hand might Mr Collier (or even one of his family) have emigrated to New Zealand? The auction house that acquired and sold Mr Collier’s medal in 2008 is located in the town of Russell, North Island, NZ.
"The medal, measuring an inch in diameter, is hallmarked Birmingham as mentioned above, but unfortunately no other hallmarks were quoted by the auction house that would have indicated the name of the company who had produced the medal. However, it is possible that the medal was produced and supplied by Thomas Fattorini (Birmingham) Ltd, Hockley Street; well-known manufacturers of silver enamelled medals, badges and other products since 1827, and still trading today.
Officials’ badges issued for a HAC sporting event in 1927 were supplied by Fattorini."
The Old Hill Ironworks, established in 1848, can be seen in the background of another photograph supplied by Stuart, which was taken (circa 1921) from the former grounds of the T. W. Lench works. Stuart explains: "The view overlooks Powke Lane Cemetery and Cenotaph on the right, and the Rowley Regis and Blackheath Gasworks on the left.
Powke Lane, running past the old gasworks site on the left, connects with the crossroad intersection and continues northwest crossing over the Dudley No2 Canal and under railway bridges towards Netherton. The walls supporting the bridges were constructed of recycled slag, a non-metallic waste material which was produced during the process of making pig iron, remnants of which can still be seen today. The railway bridges carried sidings from the GWR railway which encircled the Ironworks and connected with railway lines belonging to the works. In 1914 Hingleys purchased a Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0 ST steam locomotive (named Elfin) from GWR which was used specifically for shunting wagons. The Dudley No2 Canal, closely situated to the works, provided a ready means for moving raw materials from one part of the works to another and for transporting coal, pig iron and wrought iron to Hingley’s other Ironworks in Netherton.
"Part of the Ironworks, located on the left hand side of Powke Lane, comprised two blast furnaces, each furnace 52ft in height with an 18ft diameter bosh/hearth, nine hot air blast nozzles (tuyeres) and a hot blast stove. The two blast furnaces (believed to have been erected in 1855) are the two large vertical cylindrical structures, shown left-of-centre in the photograph; the T shaped structure located between the two furnaces is assumed to be the charging system used to feed raw materials into the top of each furnace.
"The smaller cylindrical structure seen to be standing behind to the right of one of the furnaces is one of the hot blast stoves used to pre-heat pressurised air (4 psig) prior to it being blasted into the furnace by a steam blast engine. The blast engine was a condensing beam engine of the Boulton & Watt type with large steam and blowing cylinders; steam for the engine was provided by a bank of five coal-fired boilers.
The design of the blast engine is believed to be similar to the one formerly used at the works of M W Grazebrook Ltd, of Peartee Lane, Netherton.
That engine, now preserved and re-erected, can be seen standing on the Dartmouth Circus roundabout on the A38(M) in Birmingham.