In August 2008 Jim Hicks from Portland, Oregon, in the United States, contacted Cradley Links, asking if we would like some old postcard images of Cradley. Jim, full name James Hingley Hicks, has inherited the postcards from his great-grandfather, Joseph Hingley, who visited Cradley, his birthplace, in 1911.
Many of these postcard images are part of the "Hickman Series", believed to have been commissioned by Sam Hickman, proprietor of the newsagents shop in Colley Gate.
Joseph took back with him many photographs of Cradley and these and other family photos found their way into a "Family Chest" now in the safe-keeping of his great grandson.
Jim Hicks has kindly emptied his "family chest" of photos for Cradley Links. The photograph (left) is of Joseph Hingley and his wife Mary, Jim's great grandparents. The photograph was taken in Progress, Oregon, the town given its name by Joseph (its first postmaster), in September, 1898.
Joseph kept a diary during his travels in 1911 that gives many insights into Cradley as it was then and the changes that he saw, in people and places, compared with when he left for America in 1873. Joseph's great grandson Jim Hicks has transcribed this diary and illustrated it. Cradley Links has more about the diary, on a page devoted to its contents.
Jim has supplemented the Cradley pictures with a number of portait photographs of his Hingley family members and these are all reproduced below. This Hingley family line is known to us back to James and Mary, whose children were Noah (b. 1806), Samuel (b. 1808), James (b. 1810), Benjamin (b. 1813) and William (b. 1816). Our Jim is descended from the second son Samuel and Eliza Walker, through their son Joseph (1850-1925), the youngest but one of 10 children, who travelled back to Cradley in 1911, and his son Howard.
Joseph died 25 May, 1925, Portland, Oregon, USA. He married Mary Edwards Asbury, born 30 Mar 1846, in 1871. She was born in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex (near Hastings), and died 17 Sept 1900, in Portland, Oregon. Joseph and Mary had six children in Oregon, the youngest of whom was Howard, Jim's grandfather.
Jim tells us there is a story to the arrival of three Hingley brothers to the new world in the 1870s and he will share it with us in due course. The aforementioned Joseph, an older brother Noah and his younger brother Simeon arrived in New York on the same boat on 18 July, 1873. Noah and Joseph made their way to Oregon, but Simeon reached Sacramento, California and went on to Australia.
Jim is still writing his family history (aren't we all?) but in the meantime, he has sent us copies of the photos and here they are, "back in Cradley" after a century across "the pond".
St. Peter's Parish Church, Cradley, the bell tower was added in 1875, as part of a major restoration of the building, at a total cost of £4000. Mr J. Cotton of Temple Row, Birmingham was the Architect and the tower was built by William Nelson of Dudley. The "pepper-pot" turret as it was known locally was removed after the Dudley architects, Webb and Gray, stated in December 1931 that its removal would reduce the cost of the upkeep of the building, and also take away "a definite and considerable wind-strain on the tower".
Drew's Holloway, Cradley, another part of the main A458 road from Stourbridge to Birmingham. This section runs from the top of Windmill Hill down to Belle Vale on the way to Halesowen. The junction with with Colman Hill off to the left is clearly shown, as is the house 'Hillcrest', built in about 1900 for the chain manufacturer Frank Sykes and was later owned by Alf Ryland, a Cradley Heath manufacturer, and finally by the Blackwell family. In 1964 it was demolished to make way for the proposed A458 relief road, that was never built.
Titanic Anchor, Noah Hingley Works, Netherton. It is hardly surprising that the Hingley family in the United States would take an interest in the world-famous iron works in Netherton bearing their name. Noah Hingley, the ironmaster, had his first works in Cradley, before re-locating to Netherton, and lived in Cradley.
Anchor chain making at N. Hingley works, Netherton. One of the most well-known photographs of chain making at the Noah Hingley works in Netherton. This is Ben Hodgetts' large cable Titanic chain gang (left to right): Ben Woodhouse, George Bridgwater, Albert Hodgetts, Theopholus Dunn, Ben Hodgetts. Joseph Hingley wrote on the back of the photograph: "Quite a test!".
Chain Making, Cradley. On the back of this postcard is a stamp reading: "E. Beech, Imperial Studio, Cradley Heath." This photograph is an example of the work of local photographer Edwin Beech, some of whose studios were at 192 High Street, Cradley Heath. A decade earlier, in 1900, Edwin Beech was a tobacconist with premises at 191 High Street.
Members of the Cradley Hingley and Cartwright families at Cuckoo's Corner, Park Lane, Cradley, 1870. Jim Hicks has helped us identify two of the people on this photograph that we published on "old" Cradley Links some years ago, in a Portrait Gallery of Cradley people from yesteryear. The picture was given to Jill Guest by Bridget Cox's father, with others which he found when clearing out a relatives house. This was the only one with anything written on the back: "Cuckoos Corner, Park Lane, Cradley 1870. Left to right: Myra Hingley, Lucy Cartwright, Mr & Mrs Hingley, Joe Cartwright" Jim adds: "From my records I could add that Myra (whom I have as Mirah) was born in 1847 in Cradley, her sister Lucy Hingley born in 1844, also in Cradley. Mr. and Mrs. Hingley (from the Gallery page) would be Benjamin Hingley, born 1813 in Cradley, and [his wife] Hannah Wynham, born 1814, again in Cradley. Benjamin's father is James Hingley, and his brother, Samuel (born 1807), is my great great grandfather and the father of Joseph, our 1911 traveller. That would make Benjamin my 2nd great grand uncle. Lucy Hingley and Joseph Cartwright were married 17 October, 1875, St. Mary's, Old Swinford, Worchestershire."
This photograph was taken in 1890, 17 years or so after Joseph's arrival in Oregon, and includes all the emigrants from Cradley in their new home in Oregon in the place Joseph named, Progress. They are outside the Post Office, founded by Joseph Hingley. All the children are those of Joseph and Mary, and collectively they and the others are, left to right: Hubert Bright Hingley (1876-1952, age 14), Noah (1841-1929, Joseph's brother, age 49), Ellen Maud Hingley (1878-1962, age 12), Mary Asbury Hingley (1846-1900, wife to Joseph, age 44), Henry William Hingley (1884-1960, age 6), Joseph Hingley (1850-1925, age 40), Howard Asbury Hingley (1884-1976, Jim Hick's grandfather, as a 4-year old), Annie Mabel Hingley (1875-1954, age 15), and Myra Hingley (1880-1903, age 10). All the children were born in Progress.
Joseph Hingley, taken while visiting Cradley in 1911. Joseph wears the hat - the others are his nephew Ben with his wife and step-child. "Cousin Ben" is written on the back of the original photo which was sent to one of Joseph's daughters. Ben was the son of Benjamin, Joseph's older brother, not one of those who emigrated, but a grocer back in Cradley. The rather formidable looking child is Ben's step-daughter, whom Joseph describes in his letters as "willful". Jim adds: "She looks it."
Benjamin, Joseph's nephew Ben in Cradley, standing in front of his house in Furlong Lane. In addition to the diary he kept whilst on his travels, Joseph wrote letters back home to Oregon and Jim has three of them (that family chest will never empty, it seems). On one of them he leaves the address of Ben Hingley (the nephew he is staying with), which is: Gladstone Villa, Furlong Lane, Cradley.
Hannah Hingley, daughter of Samuel and Eliza, another sister of Joseph, born about 1840. She died 16 June, 1911, in Cradley, while Joseph was visiting. Hannah married a David Horton, and like her, is also from Cradley. David and Hannah Horton had 9 children: Ann Horton (1862), John Horton (abt. 1865), Ellen Horton (abt. 1866), Alice Horton (abt. 1869), Jane Horton (abt. 1871), Lottie Horton (abt. 1873), Arthur Horton (1875), and Adelaide Horton (1877). Five of their children emigrated to live in Cleveland, Ohio, while two were still living in Cradley at her death.