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Biographical entry Hayward, Sir Charles William (1892 - 1983)

Kt 1974; CBE 1970; Hon FRCS 1970; KStJ 1973; Hon LLD Birmingham 1975.

3 September 1892
3 February 1983


Charles William Hayward was born in Wolverhampton on 3 September 1892, the son of John and Mary Hayward. His father, a bicycle salesman, died when Charles was two years old and his mother died four years later. He and his younger sister were then cared for by their grandparents and he was educated at St John's Church School in Wolverhampton. His spare time was spent with his grandfather who owned a lock making business. He helped in the workshop, collected castings from a local foundry, delivered finished locks and latches to customers and collected cash from them. He left school when he was thirteen years old and he was then apprenticed as a pattern maker at Joseph Evans, heavy pump manufacturers. In 1910, with a small loan from a friend and one assistant, he rented a small factory for half-a-crown a week where he made wooden patterns for engineering and motor car firms, later producing motor cycle sidecars, tubular chassis and motor car bodies. In 1920, his company merged with the AJS Motor Cycle Company using premises that covered 100,000 square feet and employed a thousand people. In 1932, he sold his interest in AJS and moved to London where he formed Electrical and General Industrial Trusts Ltd to finance new inventions and new processes. This led to the formation in 1956 of the Firth Cleveland Group which operated twenty factories in the UK, employing over seven thousand people. The turnover in 1970 exceeded £52 million.

There were factories in Holland, Germany, India and Australia and agencies worldwide. The Group headquarters was Stornaway House, a Crown property, formerly the home of Lord Beaverbrook. Air raids almost destroyed it and Charles Hayward restored it in 1956. He built a port, factories and a hospital in Grand Bahama, a hospital in Sri Lanka and an old people's home in Wolverhampton. Apparatus for cardiac surgery was presented to St George's Hospital, Haywards Heath and he defrayed the greater part of the cost of rebuilding the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children. Generous contributions were made to Moorfields Eye Hospital and to the Institute of Ophthalmology and he presented a splendid organ to the chapel at Gordonstoun.

He was a member of the Post Office Advisory Council, Vice-President of the Wildfowl Trust, President of the Wolverhampton School, a Liveryman of the Barbers' Company and a Freeman of the City of London. He was Honorary Fellow of Keble College and Oriel College, Oxford, and the University of Birmingham conferred on him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in 1975. He was elected Knight of the Order of St John in 1973. He was admitted to the Court of Patrons on 9 April 1964 and the citation by Clifford Naunton Morgan was published in the Annals, as was the citation by Robert Cooke when Mr Hayward, as he then was, was admitted an Honorary Fellow in 1970. On that occasion, he unveiled a replica of his Coat of Arms in the room at the College that now bears his name. He was made CBE in 1970 and created a Knight Bachelor in 1974.

In 1915, he married Hilda, the daughter of John and Alexandra Arnold. They had one son, now Sir Jack Hayward. Hilda assisted in the business from its early days in Wolverhampton and she organised the entertaining of their friends and business associates at their home in Sussex. Her death in May 1971 precipitated a decision to find a suitable buyer for the Firth Cleveland Group and it was acquired by Guest Keen and Nettlefold in 1972. In December 1971, Sir Charles purchased the lease of a Crown property the Isle of Jethou, east of Guernsey and in December 1972, he married Elsie Darnell George, the daughter of the late Charles and Kate George. They lived on Jethou until Sir Charles died on 3 February 1983, in his 91st year.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Ann Roy Coll Surg Eng 1964, 34, 406; Ibid 1970, 47, 52 with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England