Together again - Case mystery remains open

Edward Powell with the case
Edward Powell with the case

THE mystery of the identity of the owner of a suitcase that landed in the possession of a genealogy fan remains unsolved.

Hartlepool man Edward Powell came into the possession of a brown suitcase which is full of family history memorabilia.

The Mail reported last month that the 72-year-old was keen to find the rightful owner of the case, which dates back to the late 1800s and early 1900s and contains various items relating to Elizabeth Ann Powell, who is of no relation.

Since the article appeared, Edward said he received a call from an unnamed elderly woman who was a neighbour of Elizabeth’s, in the former Hampshire Street, and still lives in the town.

Edward, who lives in the Hart Lane area with wife Carole, 69, said: “The woman said Elizabeth married a chap called James Crichton and they had two children.

“She said the first child had mild learning difficulties and apparently the authorities said this child would not accept the newborn because of the condition she was suffering from.

“She was put into a home and that child died in that home, and the husband later died.

“Later, the second child was living in Raby Road and had a flat above a shop, but apparently the flat caught fire and she jumped out of a window and died after being impaled on railings.”

Retired transport manager Edward, who has a son Stephen, 43, and a daughter, Catherine Hynd, 44, said he was now focusing his search on a Nancy Powell, who may have been Elizabeth’s mother.

He said the case contains a diary belonging to Nancy, which is dated 1902 and says she lived in Studley Road.

He has tried to look up her birth records, but says it has been difficult as most online sites ask for a fee.

Edward, who is granddad to Alexander Hynd, 21, and Andrea Hynd, 18, added: “As I haven’t had much luck regarding Elizabeth and seem to have come to a dead end, I’m now focusing on Nancy and going back to the 1800s.”

The suitcase contains 10 photographs taken by an A Clennett of 25 1/2 Lynn Street, West Hartlepool, the birth certificate of James Crichton, dated February 11, 1904, the marriage certificate of Elizabeth and James, who were wed in 1938, and a birth certificate of a Jennifer Jane Crichton, dated May 8, 1944.

There is also a grey case containing a leather and gold cigarette lighter, a brown envelope containing a Premium Bond, a Bible inscribed “To Marion Crichton from Dad”, a book of the New Testament inscribed “Presented to Marion Crichton”, a book called Congregational Church Hymnal, inscribed “Miss Nancy Powell, 56 South Parade”, dated October 10, 1922, and a picture of a young child named Ann, which was taken in Manchester in 1961.

Anyone who believes the suitcase belongs to them can call Edward on (01429) 426375 or email: manyuk@ntlworld.com