Frances Bell

home at last – for all the mes

An 80th Wedding Anniversary

Elise and Vincent Richardson wedding photo

On 26 December 1940, my parents, Vincent Richardson and Elise Crampsey, got married at the Sacred Heart Church in Drummond Place, Grangemouth, one of many couples getting married in that year. I can’t find the data for Scotland but 1940 was the peak year for marriages in England and Wales from 1862-2009.

Vincent hailed from Salford, Lancashire (born in Ardwick, Manchester in 1909) and had moved to Grangemouth in the 1930s with a job in Dyestuffs at Imperial Chemical Industries, Grangemouth plant. Serving in the Territorial Army (because he knew what was coming), Vincent joined the Royal Artillery when WWII began.  ICI kept his job open until the end of the war when he returned to work there, making good progress, no doubt because of his experience in the army.  Elise was born and raised in Grangemouth, and was a primary school teacher.

Elise was the oldest of seven, and her mother Margaret (a widow of ten years) was disappointed when Elise and Vincent announced their engagement. Margaret Crampsey is reputed to have said “What do want to marry a tuppence-halfpenny clerk for?” and was probably regretting the loss of a teacher’s wage in their poor family. I was horrified when I heard this, and asked my mother why Grandma had called him a “a tuppence-halfpenny clerk”. She replied “that’s what he was”.

I don’t know where Elise’s wedding dress came from but I am sure there was a talented seamstress around to make it fit. Sewing and textile skills are evident on both sides of their families.

Vincent got just a half day’s leave for the marriage, so it’s no surprise that there was no baby until January 1942, after a spring leave.  Vincent and Elise had four children (two surviving), twelve grand-children (eleven surviving), fourteen great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Vincent’s mother Anna and sister Cecilia were supposed to travel to Scotland for the wedding but trains were cancelled because of the so-called Manchester Christmas Blitz, on the nights of 22/23, 23/24 December. I have lived in the Manchester area again since 1993, during which time there have been two other bombs:  the 1996 IRA bomb and The Manchester Arena bomb in 2017. All of these bombs caused death, injury and damage to the city but I was surprised to read of the scale of the death, injury and damage in the 1940 bombing. The Royal Exchange (now a theatre) and Manchester Cathedral were both damaged in the 1940 and 1996 bombings.

Here’s to Vincent, Elise and their descendants – we are a well-scattered and varied bunch.


francesbell • December 26, 2020

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