View of Holme House Farm 1969

t15088As can be seen, Holme House Farm was still in its original condition, surrounded by fields. This view is taken from somewhere near the Rocks Field in Portrack. I know for certain that the crops included potatoes and barley.

During potato picking week, which was a half term, a the end of October, infuriatingly just before Bonfire night, older working class kids and young men, from Tilery, Portrack and Swainby Road, lined up near Blackett’s bridge over the beck to be chosen for a day’s potato picking by the farmer. Only the stronger and rougher looking types would get a job. I tried a couple of times without success.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

10 thoughts on “View of Holme House Farm 1969

  1. My great great great grandfather, Robert Johnson lived at Holme Hills House (he is on the 1841 census). Does anyone know if this is this Holme Hills Farm?
    His son my great great grandfather, James Johnson then lived there followed by his son, my great grandfather Robert Thomas Johnson.
    He had 2 sons, Ernest James (my grandfather who went into the Navy) and Oswald Frederick born 1892.
    We don’t have any further information after this, does anyone else? Thanks
    Janet Johnson


  2. My Great Great grandfather owned and ran the farm. His name was Alfred Johnson, His wife Mary Johnson. The was and still is an apparent bomb shelter in which my dad played in with his friends when he went to his Grandma and Grandads farm. Holme House HMP Prison now sits on top of the old farm.


  3. As far as I can make out, what is now South Road used to be referred to as Portrack Back Lane, but on the 1913 Ordnance Survey Map is called Portrack Lane.

    On this 1913 map what is the “real” Portrack Lane is confusing called “Portrack Lane East”

    But South Lane/Portrack Lane, according to the 1913 map leads to Holme House Farm, which corresponds to the location in the picture.

    It is reputed that the term Portrack came from the procedure of dragging sailing ships around the loops of the river. So there seems to be no reason why men from Norton shouldn’t have there own route down to the river.


  4. Hello, my late father was born in 1923 and his first address was Holme Hill Gardens, South Road, Norton-on-Tees before moving to London at the end of the war. He was one of 5 children that lived on a farm, Holme Hill Farm I’m guessing. The farm land was opposite the Fire Station on South Road and his brother eventually moved to Collins Avenue. Is Holme House Farm in the picture a different farm altogether, or would it be the one on South Road? I think Holme Hill Farm was sold off to housing developers in the early 1970s. Excuse my ignorance of local affairs as I also live in the London area.


  5. Walked the foot path across those fields many times Fred from Norton to Middlesbrough then on to North Ormesby by bus. We always called it Lamberts farm and working at Freight-liner brought back memories of those times.
    As to potato picking, school holiday during the war we had no choice, we went into school as normal during that school break then were back on the bus to selected farms where we joined locals mainly women and joined in the back aching business of filling wire baskets after the scrabbler laid the potato’s on the surface. Must admit the farms did provide tea and food that was much better than the school dinners and those local ladies had a lot of fun with us shy schoolboys. Dad would say it got me in trim to pick our local farm field after the pickers finished, we got a years supply of potato’s for our pig food, shows what was missed by the first pickers.
    None of it did me harm, it was a look at another side of life and mixing with different people to whom a few weeks potato picking money would make a difference, just extra pocket money to us lads, a case of food on the table to them.


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