7 thoughts on “Watson Street

  1. This picture, although drawn from memory in 1970, is a fairly accurate view of Watson Street as viewed from Portrack Lane in the 1950’s. This is confirmed by an aerial photo of the Portrack area (EPW 038901) in the Britain from Above series.

    The only mistake is the set of chimney’s in the far distance, which are supposed to be serving open heath steel plant furnaces in the Malleable. The open hearth plants had shut down long before the 1950s and they seem to have been on the east side of the works, and would have been well out of sight. This artistic licence was the result of spending too much time around the open hearths at Dorman Longs Cleveland Works in Grangetown!

    There are now a number of pictures of the Portrack and Tllery areas in Britain from Above, taken between 1948 and 1953

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  2. If it is the man I am thinking about, Jonny Jones and his wife ran a small shop on Portrack Lane at the corner of Portrack Common. One of his sons died in a terrible drowning accident at the Malleable Works.

    I have a feeling that in the mid fifties he set up a bicycle repair shop on the other side of the Common in what had been a sort of antiques/second hand shop.

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  3. My grandad was by all accounts a well respected man on Portrack around 1960, does any one remember him and have any information about him he was called Jonny Jones.

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  4. Some of the tradesmen in Portrack had lorries (trucks), and I think Skippy had two or three, which were kept in his yard. That is why the gates had to be so big. There was enough local trade for a garage to be built on the site of the Anglican Church in Portrack after it was demolished in about 1959.

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  5. According to my mother, back in the 1930’s the Electricity Board said that they would put electricity onto any street, providing the inhabitants in the street clubbed together to raise £30 towards the cost. I think the majority in Portrack found the money somehow. It would be about a week’s wages at that time. But for various reasons some streets did not get wired up. The only two I can remember without electricity are Watson Street and Jackson Street. However, there were some oddities. Although Barrett Street and Hill Street were wired up, the house at the south end of Barrett Street, in which David and Ray Elliott lived, was only on gas. And both gas lighting and electric lighting was used at the same time in the Infant Section of Portrack Primary School.

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  6. Following on from the comments made by F Starr regarding gas lights; I think that most of the houses in Portrack only had gas lighting into the 1950s. I lived in Lambert Street and have memories of the gas lights being used in the early 1950s.
    I certainly remember Norman Lamb running the newsagents shop on Portrack Lane as I used to work for him as a paper boy. He did recharge the accumulators and also sold paraffin.
    Because he was a devout church goer he refused to open on sundays for selling the sunday newspapers.

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  7. The houses on Watson Street only had a gas supply, which was used for gas mantles for lighting. The gas light had a greenish tinge. The radios or “wirelesses” as they were called, that the people in Watson Street used, ran off lead acid “accumulators” (rechargeable batteries). These accumulators were recharged by Mr Lamb who ran the local newspaper/post office on Portrack Lane. It was really quite dangerous to have carry these heavy batteries as they were made of glass and contained sulphuric acid.

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