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British Industrial History

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Benjamin Hingley

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Sir Benjamin Hingley (1830-1905) of N. Hingley and Sons.

1830 Born at Cradley, Worcestershire, son of Noah Hingley, chain manufacturer, and his first wife, Sarah.

c.1845 Entered his father's business, Noah Hingley and Sons.

1861 Living at Chapel House, Cradley: Noah Hingley (age 64 born Rowley), Ironmaster employing 1,000 men and boys. With his wife Ann Hingley (age 63 born Liverpool) and their children Mary Hingley (age 45 born Rowley); Joseph Hingley (age 39 born Rowley), Ironmaster; Leah Hingley (age 34 born Rowley); Samuel Hingley (age 32 born Rowley), Ironmaster; and Benjamin Hingley (age 30 born Rowley), Ironmaster. Three servants.[1]

1865 After his brother Hezekiah's death, Benjamin took over the management of the firm

1871 Living at Hawthorn Lodge, Windmill Hill, Cradley: Noah Hingley (age 74 born Rowley Regis), Mayer (?). With his wife Anne Linta Hingley (age 73 born Liverpool) and their children Benjamin Hingley (age 41 born Rowley Regis), Ironmaster and Leah Hingley (age 40 born Rowley Regis). Two servants.[2]

1877 Became head of N. Hingley and Sons after the death of his father. He continued to expand the business, buying more ironworks at Old Hill and Harts Hill and new coal mines

1885 Elected Liberal MP for North Worcestershire.

1886 Joined the Unionists

1890 The firm took limited liability, with Hingley holding over half the shares and his nephews most of the rest; it employed 3000 men and produced 40,000 tons of chains and anchors a year.

By 1892 he had rejoined the Liberals.

1893 Made baronet

1895 Left Parliament

1905 Died in Cradley. The baronetcy passed to his nephew George Benjamin Hingley, son of his eldest brother, Hezekiah.


1905 Obituary [3]

Sir BENJAMIN HINGLEY, Bart., died at Hatherton Lodge, near Cradley, from heart failure, on May 13, 1905. Born in 1830, he was a son of Noah Hingley, of Cradley Park, the founder of the firms of Noah Hingley and Sons and Hingley and Smith, of Netherton. Noah Hingley was proud to acknowledge that he was born a poor man, and sprang from the ranks of the working-classes, he and his father before him having plied the craft of chain-making in a small factory on the banks of the Stour; but he was the pioneer of a great industry, and before he died he had laid the foundations of one of the most important industrial concerns in the Midland counties. Having attained some measure of success in the chain-making trade, he, in 1838, attempted the manufacture of anchors; but he was not immediately successful — indeed, it was not until some ten years later that he succeeded in establishing the trade in the Black Country. For the first few years no anchors weighing more than 20 cwt. were forged; but eventually, thanks to the introduction of the Nasmyth hammer, forgings weighing 74 cwt. were successfully turned out. Sir Benjamin was a boy at school during the early stages of these developments; but he entered the business while yet in his 'teens, and by the time he attained his majority he had thoroughly mastered the trade in all its details, had travelled extensively in the interests of the business, and was assisting his father in its management. His assistance must have proved invaluable at that juncture, for Mr. Noah Hingley had conceived the idea of making his own iron, and with that object in view had recently erected a large ironworks at Netherton.

From that time onwards the business has grown continuously. Additional ironworks have been acquired at Old Hill and Harts Hill; blast-furnaces have been erected, collieries sunk, iron-mines opened out, and other branches developed in various parts of the district, and from the small factory on the banks of the Stour, employing, perhaps, a score of hands, a great undertaking has grown which finds regular employment for many thousands. About 1890 the business was converted into a limited liability company, but Sir Benjamin retained a controlling interest, and continued in command until his death. For nearly thirty years he was chairman of the South Staffordshire and East Worcestershire Ironmasters' Association, and President of the Midland Iron and Steel Wages Board, and he was also for many years a prominent member of the South Staffordshire Coal Trade Wages Board. He was greatly esteemed by all the members of these organisations for his sense of fairness, ripe judgment, and scrupulous integrity, and it may fairly be said that in the exercise of these attributes he did much to preserve industrial peace in the Black Country over a period of more than a quarter of a century. For about thirty years he was chairman of Lloyd's British Testing Co., Ltd., and he occupied a similar position on the board of the Cradley Gas Co., while he was also a director, and for a time chairman, of the South Staffordshire Mond Gas Co. In virtue of his association with the coal trade, he was President of the Mining Association of Great Britain in 1903, and for many years he was a member of the management committee of the South Staffordshire and East Worcestershire Miners' Compensation Fund, while he also had a seat on the South Staffordshire Mines Drainage Board. He filled with distinction the office of Mayor of Dudley in 1890-91, as his father had some twenty years before him, and he was a Magistrate for Staffordshire and Worcestershire and also for the county borough of Dudley. He was elected, by a large majority, Member of Parliament for North Worcestershire in 1885, and continued to represent that constituency for ten years, when, owing to a somewhat serious illness, he found it necessary to retire. In Parliament he took a useful part on committees dealing with trade and commercial questions. He was specially thanked for his services in connection with the Admiralty Committee, and was one of the backers of the abortive Iron Warrants Bill, which was intended to control the speculative element in the iron trade. He was an advanced Liberal, became a Unionist in 1886, but shortly afterwards rejoined the Liberal party. He received the honour of a baronetcy in 1893, and was appointed High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1900; while, later still, he was appointed Deputy-Lieutenant of the county. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1883, a Member of Council in 1891, and Vice-President in 1903. He was chairman of the Reception Committee at the Birmingham meeting in 1895, and regularly attended the Institute meetings, having even been present at the meeting on May 11.


1905 Obituary [4]



1905 Obituary [5]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1871 Census
  2. 1871 Census
  3. 1905 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries
  4. The Engineer 1905/05/19
  5. Engineering 1905 Jan-Jun: Index: General Index
  • Obituary of Benjamin Hingley, ODNB