HINGLEY, Norman ‘Taffy’

The Project

by Dr Colin Harris

Download the full The Norman Hingley Project (PDF download)

Norman Taffy hingley MGS 1955

Norman Hingley 1955

A chance remark at the Royal Lodge at Symonds Yat during a Christmas Holiday in 2009 quickly established that I was talking to Sue Hingley – well, there’s a lot more to it than that but that will suffice!

I realised that Norman Hingley had had a profound effect on the lives and careers of the many Moseleians whom he had taught and so I resolved to make a very special tribute for Sue and her family to share and treasure. I was able to contact a wide range of former students and colleagues via e-mail, letter, Friends Reunited and flyers at Open Days etc with the support of the Moseleians Association and plan to lodge this project in the Moseleian Archive at Spring Hill College and the Birmingham Local History Archive, the brain child of another old Moseleian – Professor Carl Chinn.

The results from my letter can be read by clicking The Norman Hingley Project (PDF download). It was difficult to acquire photographs of Norman but thanks to the wonders of the Internet and digital photography, I have been able to include some.

My aim is to raise money for Norman’s favourite charities, Cancer Research UK and Age UK. You can of course download the project for free however if you feel inclined a donation of £5.00 would be very much appreciated. You can donate by cheque made out to ‘The Moseleians Association’ and posted to The Norman Hingley Project, Moseley School, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9UU. Your donation will be split equally between these two charities.

A Brief Biopic

Norman Hingley was quickly nicknamed “Taffy” by many generations of boys at Moseley Grammar School, Birmingham and latterly girls too at the Moseley School which followed amalgamation.

He was a kind, dedicated and sincere man – nothing was too much trouble for him and he always went the extra mile until he was sure that you were sure.

He was open, caring and quiet but once roused he enjoyed vigorous debate and discussion. He thrived on logical and intensive ideas and thoughts and their presentation- he thrived on fiery discussions, particularly on religion, politics and everyday concerns.

He was born on 24 July 1920 in Ebbw Vale and died on 10 November 1998, in his beloved South Wales. It is difficult to acquire in detail a full picture of his many skills and interests. We do know that he was intensely proud of other famous names from his home town – Michael Foot and Aneurin Bevan. He shared their intense love of the concept of the National Health Service and socialist principles. He defended the underdog and was strong and determined in his passionate approval of fair play, justice and truth. He enjoyed practical and creative work, he worked long hours each evening and into the early hours preparing lessons and marking books – I well remember the depth and succinctness of his own notes augmenting my own “A” Physics notes.

He had considerable debating skills as a scientist and as an agnostic / atheist- it was a privilege to witness him in many debates with the Moseleian Society when famous names as Father Trevor Huddleston and David Shepherd ( the English Cricket Captain and latterly Bishop of Liverpool) visited us in the beautiful Spring Hill College Library.

Norman joined MGS in September 1951 – he ran many science clubs, debating societies, continental holidays and camping trips. The letters which follow hint at the unbelievable happenings at the clubs! He was famous for his wild shirt collars, chalky sleeves and speech problems involving “parallelograms”. He found and helped to develop the School Cottage near Gilwern, Abergavenny where eventually he found his retirement home.

These snapshots of the man and his school give reflections of life in the 1960’s besides intriguing snippets of schooldays in long–gone Grammar Schools – as you will read it is “warts and all” and uncensored.

The letters show how proud he was of his students and they, of course, echo their great respect and affection for him.

On behalf of his students and colleagues, I hope that this project enables his family and friends to enjoy and smile at the great contributions which Norman made to all our lives and in so many ways. Click The Norman Hingley Project to download the full Project (PDF download).