Portrack Boy, St. Annes Terrace c1949

t14826This photograph was taken by a street photographer who knocked on the door of 17 St. Annes Terrace and asked my mother if she would like a picture of her little boy. Virtually no one in Portrack at would have had a camera, so it was a real opportunity for her to have a good picture of me. It was such an unusual event I remember it clearly, being aged about seven.

The photograph shows how a reasonably well off boy from the working classes would dress at the time. Shorts, cotton shirt, jersey and leather boots. Rationing was still in force, so I would not have had underpants and probably not a vest. The jersey would have been home knitted by my grandma, who owned the house. The jersey would have been a much better quality and warmer than what could be bought off a market stall. The socks would have been made of wool, tending to wear out quickly and would have needed darning at least once. Quite literally, a housewife’s work was never done.

The house still exists and was built in 1935. At the time it had a wooden fence and gate. Like all the other houses in this short “modern” block we also had a privet hedge which completely overshadowed the postage stamp of a front garden and was a pain to cut. Modern pictures show the fence and the hedge to have vanished. The house was sold for £1100, very roughly, a very good annual wage at the time.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

5 thoughts on “Portrack Boy, St. Annes Terrace c1949

  1. One of the lads in our class lived in St Annes Terrace John King – we both finished up in form 1b at Bailey Street under Miss Green (wonderful teacher) I finished up top of the class)-I think John went on to play football for the school.
    I went on to Freddy Nat and also played for the school.


    • Do you have a brother Barry? I also went to Bailey Street before we moved to Roseworth Estate, then I went to Roseworth Primary where I was in a musical play called Peach Blossom. Barry and I had the 2 lead parts. We both attended Roseworth Secondary School which was the 1st new secondary modern to be built in the borough since W.W.2. now replaced by the North Shore Academy. I have a school photo of The Roseworth Junior School choir date late 50`s with Barry in it.. We won 2 trophy’s in a competition at Darlington.


  2. I should have made it clear that the house was sold for £1100 in 1960-61. My grandmother bought one of the old Edwardian terraced houses, further down St Annes for £200, and spent about £100 doing it up. The main shortcomings, compared to 17 St Annes Terrace, were that it didn’t have a bath and there was no garden.

    By 1965 this house had been demolished by the Council and my gran was rehoused on the Portrack Estate in one of the flats. She got compensation as a house owner. We had a very canny granny!


    • I feel sure that my mother and father bought the house. I remember that my brother and sister were not born until 1962 and I had a card made at school (Portrack Infants) when they were born.
      I also recall that my mother often referred to Mrs Starr.
      My mother and father were/are Connie and Ken Taylor.


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