Black Country Genealogy







This is a photograph of my father Sidney Crutchley, taken whilst he was working at Central Coachways in Walsall. The image was apparently captured at 4:15am on the morning of Sunday 13th October 1974, Dad often worked through the night at Central's Walsall garage. Dad was a driver for Central from 1965 until the firm ceased operations about 1987.

Central Coachways were a locally well known and respected Walsall coach travel operator with garage, maintenance and office facilities in Shaw Street. The firm operated between the mid 1950's and 1987, finally being taken over by WMPTE towards the end of that period. Central was owned for many years by the Co-op, their garage being located on the corner of Wolverhampton Street and Blue Lane West, with an additional access off Shaw Street. The garage and yard were located where the Crown Wharf Shopping Park is situated today, roughly where the Next and Asda Living stores are currently positioned.

The coach visible behind Dad in the image above is a Duple Viceroy, produced between 1966 and 1972. There were six and four wheel variants of the Viceroy produced during this period, the one seen here is a four wheel version. The Duple Viceroy was succeeded by the well known Duple Dominant, which remained in production for ten years.

Another of Central's coaches from the 1970s is shown below:

Central coach

One of Central Coachways' 1970's coaches.

This particular coach was driven by Peter Blackmoor, one of my father's colleagues at Central. At Central most of the permanent drivers preferred to operate one particular vehicle.