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A curious item of ironworks memorabilia

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: December 31, 2013

By Stuart McMaster

  • Hingley's Netherton Iron Works, as seen from the canal around 1910

  • A rare survivor from Hingley's Netherton Iron Works; a glass paperweight containing the names and telephone numbers of the factory's top tier

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OVER the previous three editions we've taken a look, thanks to some rare aerial photographs, at three of Hingley's iron works – at Netherton, Old Hill and Harts Hill.

But now we come back down to earth, and take a look at the firm from a very different perspective.

Shown here is a paperweight retrieved from Hingley's Netherton Ironvworks, dating from circa 1911, when it would have graced the desk of one or other of the factory's top brass. The paperweight provides a list of telephone numbers as well as contact names of Senior Managers and Directors associated with Netherton, Old Hill and Harts Hill Ironworks.

A brief resumé of the men behind the names listed, is as follows:

5. Mr Fletcher.

Joseph Ernest Fletcher, Consulting Engineer to Hingleys. Mr Fletcher, who joined Hingleys in 1904 (having previously worked for Charles Cammell & Co of Sheffield) was involved in the on-going development of several 'new design' specifications associated with the Hall's Patent Anchor which Hingleys were licensed to produce as sole manufacturers following an agreement with Hall's Patent Anchor Company Ltd of Sheffield. The 'Hall's Latest Improved Patent Anchor' design of 1910 is believed to have been used for manufacturing the large foredeck anchor and possibly the two smaller bow anchors installed on RMS Titanic which tragically sank in 1912.

9. Mr Homer.

Mr Homer is believed to be Senior Manager of the Chain Works at Old Hill Ironworks.

13. Mr Simms.

George Frederick Simms, Director and former owner of George Hartshorne & Co Marine Works of Netherton, which merged with Hingleys in 1907.

15. Mr Howell.

Charles Edward Howell, appointed Director in 1911.

17. Mr Trinham.

Col. James Samuel Trinham, Director, with responsibilities for personnel and administration.

18. Mr Smith.

Edward Henry Smith, appointed Director in 1911 and in 1919 was appointed Director of Coombs Wood Colliery.

20. Sir George Hingley.

Sir George Benjamin Hingley (1850-1918), Chairman. Sir George's father was Hezekiah Hingley (1825-1865) son of Noah Hingley (1796-1877) founder of the company.

21. Mr Lloyd

Cyril Edward Lloyd (1877-1963), Director. Joined Hingleys in 1908 as a Director and in 1918 was appointed Chairman after the death of Sir George Hingley.

25. Mr Glaze.

Mr Glaze is believed to be Senior Manager of the Marine Works at Netherton Iron Works.

26. Mr B Hingley.

Harry Bertram Hingley(1872-1957), Senior Manager of Harts Hill Iron Works, and appointed Director of the Works in 1918. Bertram Hingley's father was Samuel Hingley (1829-1901) son of Noah Hingley (1796-1877) founder of the company).

The paperweight referred to was kindly presented to the writer, as a keepsake, by Margaret Harris of Pedmore, daughter of Ted Hodgkiss who was the last manager of the chain works at Netherton. The chain works closed down in 1960 when Hingley's ceased producing wrought iron by the puddling process.

I would also like to acknowledge much appreciated historical information drawn from Kenneth Mallin's book: Noah Hingley, The World's Premier Manufacturer of Ships' Anchors and Cables in the period 1890-1918, and information provided by Reg Ball, Reg Cooper and Ken Taylor, former staff employees of Hingleys, Netherton; Ray Weaver former employee of Thos. Bantock & Co, Cradley Heath, Mick Beech, Managing Director of C. Beech & Sons (Netherton) Ltd and Ron Moss, Local Historian.

If any reader has past associations with, or an interest in Hingley's, then both Stuart and the Bugle would be pleased to hear from you.

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