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The men who made everything tick at Hingley Athletic Club

By rob taylor  |  Posted: February 23, 2012

A club Membership Card.

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WE CONTINUE this week with our look back at the sporting and social side of one of our most famous companies, Noah Hingley and Sons, ably guided by Stuart McMaster, who has done an enormous amount of research into the subject and dug up a wealth of photographs along the way.

Stuart begins with a look at some of the more interesting entries in the Club Rules, before moving on to profile some of the men who made the sporting side of Hingleys run so smoothly ...

"In 1932 the club formalised and published a document which included a list of 36 rules, of which the following are of particular interest: “Rule 1. The club shall be called the ‘Hingley Athletic Club’ and its objectives shall be the promotion of all kinds of sport which the General Committee may decide upon, and the furtherance of the social and educational interests of its Members.

“Rule 2. The address of the Club shall be: c/o N Hingley & Sons Limited, Netherton Iron Works, Dudley, Worcestershire.

(“Note however that a Staffordshire Knot is depicted on HAC’s blazer badge. The reason for this is that the land acquired/leased by Hingleys for development of the club in the early 1900s was located within the boundary of Staffordshire, to the south of Mousesweet Brook.”) “Rule 3. Anyone employed by the Company shall be eligible for membership.

“Rule 4. The subscription shall be 1.1/2d. per week.

“Rule 7. The affairs of the Club shall be managed by a general committee, which shall have power to appoint Sub-Committees to carry out any duties allotted to them by the General Committee.

Hours “Rule 30. The registered hours of the Club shall be 11.00am to 12.00 midnight but except by special occasions which must be sanctioned by the General Committee, the Club shall be closed by 11.00pm.

“Rule 31. The bar will be open for the sale of intoxicants during the hours of 11.30am to 3.00pm and from 5.30pm to 10.00pm, or for such less hours or such less days as the Bar and Billiards Committee shall decide. (No Sunday opening).

“The 'No Sunday Opening' rule was stipulated by Misses Lucy and Emily Hingley (granddaughters of Noah Hingley, founder of the firm) who were instrumental in the development of HAC.

“Rule 32. Members may invite guests subject to the following conditions: The charges incurred by such guests to be defrayed by the members introducing them. Members introducing guests shall sign the name and address of the visitor in the book provided for the purpose.

No members or visitors under the age of 18 years shall be supplied with intoxicants.

“Rule 33. A member of the Club is allowed to bring a lady to the ground and ladies shall be allowed access to the tea room, but under no circumstances shall any lady be allowed access to the Billiard and Smoke Rooms or be allowed to purchase any refreshments (intoxicant or otherwise) from the bar. This rule does apply to lady members.

In the event of the attendance at any function being 20 or under, the Secretary or other person organising that function shall be empowered to make use of the Smoke Room if he so desires.

Rule 34. Only such games as have received the sanction of the General Committee shall be allowed on the Club premises and grounds.


 "It is understood that the first groundsman to be employed at HAC was Jimmy Lynes (originating from Cornwall) who joined the club in 1921 having previously been employed by Netherton Cricket Club. An interesting comment discovered in NCC archives says, 'The '20s was a period, it is said, when some delightful Cricket was played at N e t h e r t o n .

Jimmy Lynes in his one and only Season with the Club as ‘Pro’, so pleased the crowd, that c o l l e c t i o n s were taken for him on several occasions'.

" A r c h i v e s indicate that Jimmy was e a r n i n g £4.0.0d. per week at that time.

Prior to joining Netherton and Hingley Athletic Club, Jimmy had been a professional cricketer/groundsman and county player for Surrey, and was clearly well qualified for the groundsman’s position at HAC. After 21years service he left the club and rejoined Netherton Cricket Club in 1946. A match against Old Hill CC was arranged for his benefit in 1959 but regrettably Jimmy died four years later.

Steward "HAC’s steward, who worked alongside Jimmy Lynes, was a gentleman by the name of Bill Timmington who, it is understood, was known for his strict and assertive manner. Bill ensured that club rules would be strictly adhered to and that club facilities were to be cared for and treated with respect for the benefit of other members. In particular, it is recalled that Bill was so concerned with matters of cleanliness that he used to instruct members to wash their hands before using the billiard tables! "Following Jimmy Lynes’ departure from HAC in 1946, Archie Ackroyd was approached to take on the job of groundsman, which he agreed to do. Residing in Simms Lane, Netherton at the time Archie, his wife Edith (nee Rollinson) and their three sons Archie Jr, Jack and Doug packed their bags and moved into the groundsman/ stewards residential accommodation located at the clubhouse; Edith undertook the role of club stewardess with valued support and assistance provided by her three sons.

"After approximately twelve years' service at HAC A r c h i e decided that a career change was necessary, the family moving to Bean Road, Dudley, after he had secured employment with the Dunlop Rim & Wheel Co.

Ltd, Dudley.

“Archie was p r i m a r i l y employed in the works maintenance department; however, with his cricketing knowledge and past experience as a groundsman, he quite naturally became involved with the upkeep and maintenance of the works cricket pitch and facilities. Archie retired in 1963 but sadly passed away in 1968.

"It is worthy of mention, that during the ‘Ackroyd’ years at HAC, annual cricket matches were played for the purpose of raising funds for old age pensioners residing in and around Netherton; the fund was known as ‘The Old Folks Fund’. The teams selected to play were a combined XI comprising members from HAC and NCC versus a Birmingham League combined XI; the match was always played at NCC’s Highbridge Road cricket ground.

Funds collected were taken to Netherton Library where they were distributed to deserving pensioners at Christmas time.

"It is also worthy of mention that Archie (a former coal miner from Derbyshire) had previously been employed as groundsman/ professional cricketer at Netherton Cricket Club in 1921 and had played cricket as a professional for Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

He also moved north to Scotland to join Clydesdale Cricket Club as a groundsman/ professional cricketer and was selected to play international cricket for the Scottish Western District XI against an Australian Touring Side at The Hamilton Crescent Cricket ground, Glasgow, in July 1926.

Archie remained in Scotland until the outbreak of World War Two, but then returned to the Black Country to work as a machinist at John Thompson's in Peartree Lane, Netherton, till 1945, before moving to HAC in 1946.

"In 1958 Stan Brindley applied for the job of groundsman at Hingley Athletic Club, the post being vacant at that time following the departure of his predecessor Archie Ackroyd. Needless to say Stan’s application was successful and so he, his wife Gladys (nee Hall) and their eldest son Alan, moved into the groundsman/stewards residential accomodation located at the clubhouse; their younger son Trevor, yet to be born, would join them shortly afterwards. As Edith Ackroyd had done before her, Gladys undertook the role of club stewardess.

Cricket "Stan was born in Tower Street, Dudley in 1924, and his preferred sporting activity at school was cricket, playing regularly for the First XI.

After leaving school Stan joined the Army, serving with The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, and was posted to Algiers, North Africa, in 1943 to prepare for the invasion of Sicily and Italy during World War Two; he was demobbed from the Army in 1947 at the age of 23.

"After leaving the Army he secured employment with JB Brooks Ltd, Birmingham, as a ‘leather worker’. The company (trading today as Brooks England Ltd) specialised in the manufacture of leather bicycle saddles, bicycle/ motorcycle bags and other leather accessories.

“Whilst working at Brooks, Stan maintained his interest in cricket and joined Hingley Athletic Club as an Associate Member, playing for the club’s First XI on a regular basis. In 1949 Stan left JB Brooks Ltd and joined Noah Hingleys, working in the Fabrication Department for approximately nine years prior to his appointment as HAC’s groundsman in 1958.

Stan and Gladys, loyal and dedicated employees, worked at HAC for approximately eleven years prior to moving to West Bromwich Dartmouth Cricket Club in 1969.

"After the departure of Stan and Gladys, Hingley Athletic Club continued to function as a sports and social club for a few more years, but it is understood that the club, regrettably, closed down in the early 1980s.

"During Archie Ackroyd and Stan Brindley’s time at HAC, Stanley Hubble (son of Stanley Hubble senior and brother of Jim Hubble, both of whom were also members of HAC) was employed as an assistant groundsman; sadly, Stanley died at an early age.

The following obituary was recorded and published in the local press: 'Death of Netherton Groundsman The death has occurred at Burton Road Hospital, Dudley, of Mr Stanley Hubble, for some years assistant groundsman at Hingley Athletic Club, Old Hill. Mr Hubble, who was 35, lived at Molyneux Road, Netherton.

'His duties at the club included helping to maintain the football field used by Netherton Town F.C., the cricket pitch used by Hingley’s works side and the bowling green which is one of the best in the district.'

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