Black Country Genealogy








Mom 2009

The photograph above is of my mother, Elsie May Crutchley (nee Bennett), seen here in 2009. Mom was born at 41 Moor Street, Wednesbury, on Saturday 19th July 1930. She was one of a family of nine children. Mom's parents were Harry Bennett (1897 to 1953) and Isabella Bennett (nee Dent, 1897 to 1974). Harry and Isabella were married at West Bromwich register office on 22nd January 1921.


The image above shows a moment of Bennett family fun, with my mom, (second from the right) two of her sisters, and her younger brother. The lady second from the left is my maternal grandmother Isabella Bennett (nee Dent, 1897 to 1974). I have no firm date for this image, but judging by the ages of those pictured, this event took place at some time during the 1950's. The location is almost certainly 41 Moor Street, Wednesbury, the home where this Black Country family grew together.

41 Moor St

The image above is of 41 Moor Street, Mesty Croft, Wednesbury in recent times.

1950s Wedding

A post-war Black Country wedding. The groom above is Raymond Henry Marson, born in 1928. His bride is Mary Elizabeth Bennett, born 10th March 1929. Mary was my mother's older sister. Ray and Mary's wedding took place on the 7th August 1950 at St John's Church, Wednesbury. My mother Elsie is the bridesmaid third from the right. The couple on the far right of this endearing group photograph are Harry and Isabella Bennett, parents of the bride and of course my mother.

St John's church in Wednesbury was located on Lower High Street and consecrated on 13th May 1846, although the parish itself existed from 1844. As a place of worship, it fell into disuse in 1980, and was demolished in July 1985. 


Above is another wedding group from my family image collection, this time the scene shows my mother's wedding to my father on 2nd September 1967. The location for their wedding was St Paul's church, Wood Green, Wednesbury, the same church where I was later christened in 1968 and married in 1993.

From left to right in this photograph are Joan and Tony Horan, my aunt and uncle. My father Sidney Crutchley, and the bride, my mother Elsie Crutchley. Next to my mom is her brother Alfred (who was always known as Alf) and one of my mom's sisters whom I cannot name.

St Paul's church at Wood Green, Wednesbury was built in 1874, funded by the locally resident Elwell family who became wealthy as a result of their tool manufacturing business. Initially only the main church building was constructed, with the spire, tower and bells added later in 1887.

Due to the location of their home, my mother's family were more often associated with the mission church established by St Paul's. This was the church of St Luke, located in Alma Street, Mesty Croft. The church mission itself was established in 1879 and its premises rebuilt in 1894. St Luke's itself was designated as an ecclesiastical district in 1944, and my mom recalled the original building in conversations many times. This first church was demolished in the 1970's, to be replaced with a more modern building where my wife and I attended marriage preparation.

At the time of mom and dad's wedding, mom was working as the manageress of a local shop. Many years later she was employed as the assistant cook in the canteen of the Blue Coat Church of England comprehensive school in Walsall, the school where I later studied.

Mom and Dad 1993
The photograph above shows my mother with my father, at St Paul's church, Wood Green, Wednesbury, the occasion being my own wedding on 28th August 1993. At the time of my wedding she was 63 years old. By this time mom had retired from work.
Mom 2011
The final photograph above is of my mom on her 81st birthday, 19th July 2011. By the time this portrait was created, mom's health had already begun to deteriorate. Mom died at 12 Martingale Close, Walsall on the morning of 21st July 2014, at the age of 84 years. Her funeral was held at Sandwell Valley crematorium.