I have few memories of my father, Anthony Brian Hingley known as Brian, he taught me to be unafraid of thunderstorms, he could lift me up and bump me against the ceiling, a vague memory of riding on the tank of his motorcycle, and that's about it. But those that did know him said he was a lovely man, which is good as far as it goes but doesn't help me much in finding out more about him. Those that knew him better are gone now so all I have are a few letters, some reminiscences and these photos.
He was born in 1926 and brought up in Cradley Heath in the Black Country, West of Birmingham. His father worked as a clerk at the railway offices at Snowhill and his mother's family were bakers in Old Hill.
Here he is, a few months old with, from the left, his great-grandmother, Fanny Griffiths, his grandmother, Fanny Maria Birch and his mother, Fanny Louise Hingley.
And here, from top left, Fanny Maria Birch,
Fanny Louise Hingley and Fanny Griffiths.
I'm fascinated by their clothes; the contrast between the older generations, both widowed, and Fanny Hingley's much lighter outfit, Fanny Maria's little buttoned pocket and the different cuts over the generations
Here, as a lad, with, from left, his father Horace, his mother Fanny and, with the pipe, Dennis Couse, a family friend.
A studio portrait done for his parents just before he went off to do his National Service.
He was educated at Quarry Bank school and then at the Grammar School in Brierley Hill and then went to do his National Service. I have his letters home from his basic training where he tells of the fellow in the next bed who starts off with a cold which gets steadily worse, his final letter says the fellow has been taken off to the infirmary and that he, Brian, has started a sniffle ... two weeks later Brian was invalided out with pneumonia!
I'm not sure how he filled his time between his National Service and going to Teacher Training College on the Sussex coast but it was at college where he met my mother.
Brian and his wife-to-be, Audrey Haines, relaxing at college on the South Coast.
He could brush up quite well too.
He and Audrey were married on a damp, chilly day early in 1953 at St John the Baptist church in Clayton, Sussex.
After college he found work at Park Royal, St Paul's Cray, Kent. Here are memories from some of his pupils.
I have very fond memories of your Dad though I was not the best behaved
child and often felt the sting of the slipper administered by him for my misdeeds.
He was a very patient man who had a great sense of humour which often had us
all in fits of laughter.
I think he had a ginger beard and was a very vibrant teacher who was
a great organiser on school sports days each year. I believe he was a very
good dancer and was always showing us nippers how to dance the Maypole dance
with the female teachers.
I remember being a little scared of him but looking back I think that
was because of the large beard and loud voice! I can remember him once
calling me little butterfly.
Brian was a fan of Rugby Union and frequently attended internationals at Twickenham. My mother once admonished me when I was kicking a football in the garden “Your father would never have let you have a round ball to play with”. He also loved boats, holidaying on the canals and spending time aboard a friends yacht.
Having found work in N.W. Kent my parents moved into a caravan at Hawley Manor near Dartford. After a year or so I was born in West Hill hospital.
My father and I at Hawley Manor playing in the rubber dinghy we used as a paddling pool.
Introducing me to staff and pupils at Park Royal school on sportsday 1956.
The Hingley family, from left, Audrey, Brian, Simon, Lydia, Fay & Horace
Not long after this photograph was taken, one summer's evening in Battersea, South London on his way home from his new job, my father was knocked off his motorbike and killed by a hit-and-run driver who was never caught.