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THE CROUCHES 1859 - 1966

By Ruth Hooper (Grand Daughter)

I remember Westbourne mainly for the lovely summer family holidays we had there with my grandparents Ada and Ed Crouch when I and my younger brother and sister spent a lot of time at the seaside, and cycling. I remember a boxer dog called Peter belonging to the owners of the shop on the corner of School Lane. I was born in 1947 so I suppose my memories were of the mid/late 1950’s. As my father was in the RAF we moved around a fair bit and always looked forward to going to Westbourne in the summer. At that time my immediate family lived in Berkshire, Surrey, Lincolnshire and then Oxfordshire so having holidays at the seaside and cycling was great fun. Ada was a music teacher and gave lessons from their home at No.2 The Bungalows¹, School Lane.

My father Raymond was the eldest and was born in 1921, though not in Westbourne. He attended Chichester High School. He had two younger sisters Joyce and Molly. They were all keen cyclists. I do remember the inside of their house well and, what seemed to me as a child, the high ceilings, (their lounge had been the main school room), the music room, the kitchen with a tin bath hanging on the wall and the outside loo with a view looking down the garden! I remember too some sort of sawmill business at the far end of School Lane, and going to see a donkey in a field opposite.

My grandmother Ada Crouch was also for many years the organist at the Parish Church in Westbourne and I have been told that an organ stool was presented to the church in her memory.

My great-grandfather Mark Crouch was a 'professional' gardener and supplied his wife's shop as well as other local customers in the 'big' houses with produce from the large garden behind the shop. Their daughter Dorothy used to deliver groceries on her bike which had a large carrier, so the cycling 'bug' began way back!

"CROUCH FLOWERS" - Mark Crouch (1859-1925), a greengrocer of East Street, Westbourne

Mark Crouch

Annie Crouch (neé Coles)

Mrs Annie Crouch (neé Coles) at East Street Shop c1930

Now a private home in 2010

Raymond            Edward
Joyce          Ada            Molly

Edward & Molly

Historical note: 1. No2 The Bungalows is part of the first school to be built in Westbourne. It is now a listed building. It was built in 1846 and designed to hold up to 160 children.

Able Seaman J/172, HMS 'Bulwark', Royal Navy. Lost when the Battleship blew up off Sheerness Dockyard 26th November 1914. Aged 22. Son of Mark & Annie Crouch of East Street, Westbourne. Born in Westbourne. No known grave. Commemorated on The Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea.

Records from the National Archives at Kew show that Ernest Crouch joined the Royal Navy in 1910, signing on for 12 years. The following year he was an able seaman at the Navy's gunnery school at Whale Island, Portsmouth. Census records show that he had a sister Beatrice, who married Charles Souter - another name on the war memorial. Charles died while serving in HMS Good Hope at the Battle of Coronel, three weeks before Ernest was killed. Ernest also had a brother Edward, and Westbourne parish magazine during the first world war years records an E. Crouch as serving with the Army Service Corps. The 1911 census shows Edward Crouch (16), born at Westbourne, as a boy in the Army Service Corps at Wellington Barracks, so presumably these are one and the same.  

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