Kelly was born in Newcastle and her family moved to Collier Street in Weatherfield in 1912. Kelly worked at the dyeworks in Crimea Street, handling yards of material from the dyeing vats into clean water. It was there that she met Joe, a worker at Hardcastle's Mill who looked after the donkeys. They got married on 9th March 1913 at St. Mary's Church and moved into No.9's front parlour. Exactly nine months later, their son Jim was born.
During the war, Kelly moved back to Collier Street with Jim and took a job as a conductress on the trams. When Joe was demobbed he discovered he'd been replaced at work and so he, Kelly and Jim moved to Canada for a new life there.