Elliott Street, Portrack

This photograph was taken outside my Granny Dobson’s house at 32 Elliott Street, Portrack. The school at the bottom of the street can be easily seen. I think the caretaker of the school was Mr Lee, I seem to remember he lived in one of the houses showing on the left of the picture, close to the school. In the photograph is my late younger sister Margaret with her son Gary. My late eldest sister Mary and husband Charlie married in 1948 lived with my gran in that house until they could get a place of their own.

My sister Margaret and husband Herbert also lived with my gran until they too found a place of their own in which to live. I think back in those early days it was quite normal for newly married couples to live with relatives until such a time something else became available. It never ceases to amaze me how large families were brought up in these two up two down terraced houses. I was also brought up in a similar house in Buxton Street in the Garbutt Street area. So sad to see those communities lost when moved on to the newer modern estates. I think only St Anne’s Terrace at Portrack is the only original site that remains from those days. Such memories.

Photograph and details courtesy of John Robson.

11 thoughts on “Elliott Street, Portrack

  1. I lived at 29 Elliott Street with my family, Joyce Akers, Bill Harrison (Mum and Dad) my older sister Clarice and Brothers David and Paul. We left about 1960. Would love it if anyone can remember anything about my family or if anyone has more pictures of Elliot Street.

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  2. I enjoyed reading the comments about Elliot Street, Portrack. I remember this all very well. I am looking to see if anyone has information about Lenard Street in Portrack.

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  3. John Robson is correct in that one half of St Annes Terrace is still standing along with the Portrack Hotel on the corner of St Annes and Portrack Lane. The school at the end of St Annes is now called Tilery Primary. The clay pit is long filled in, I understand with the debris from the old houses of Portrack when they were demolished. I first lived in Lambert Street and then in St Annes Terrace before leaving in 1963 on joining the Army.

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  4. My recollection of Mr Lee the caretaker was that he was below average height. His main responsibility was to keep the central heating boilers running, A difficult job when coal was rationed and coke hard to get.

    I think that to save energy the heating in the school had to be cut back during one year in the late 1940s or early 50s. This was possibly in the new half of the school (which still exists). At these times, on a cold day, the morning lessons started with us doing physical exercises at our desks to keep warm and bring up the room temperature.

    The older half of the school which ran parallel to St Annes Terrace, dating from before the 1920s, had big fires and enormous sets of gas lighting lamps. So these rooms were much warmer.

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  5. Think the caretaker was Sam Lee (my granddad). A big man. Married to Maria-Jane (my nana). A little woman. Had a big family Lewis, George, Doreen, Florrie, Alec, Miriam, Thelma, Sam. There may have been more of them.

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    • Sam Lee was my mam’s uncle. She says he was the caretaker for a long time and when he retired my Grandad (John Lee) took over.
      My mam lived at 53 Elliott Street – the corner house on the left hand side of the road in the above photo.

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  6. My Welsh family Davies/Howells settled in Elliot Street in the 1800’s and lived in Portrack for over a hundred years – came from the steel mills of Wales Tredegar/Pontlottyn to work on Teesside – many of them including myself went to that school at the bottom of the street, St Annes – fond memories of Miss Morgan who taught my dad as well as his family.
    Ironic the clay to build Portrack finished back in the ground when the area was demolished. Remember carol singing at Elliot St. 1947 with my pal Cedric Douglas – he went down one side and I did the other. I sang Silent Night down the passage of one house and got four pennies – the lady said I sang like an angel – my welsh ancestry coming out – but I was no angel.
    Nice memory, Ken Howells

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    • My Nana was a Davis living near Portrack on the Stockton side I think near the Catholic Church Thorpe Street? there were quite a few of them about 7 or 8 children.
      They “emigrated” (as she often mentioned to my Dad) from Wales to Co. Durham to find work.
      My Nana Jane Davis was born in Stockton 1900 married my Granda William Newman and moved to Sunderland. I think they were married in about 1919.
      Nana was the oldest child I’m not sure of all the siblings names but she had a sister named Mary and Mary had a daughter called Jenifer think I’ve got that right.
      I’d love to see some pictures of the house/houses where they lived.
      The houses, terraces had earth “netties”
      Nana also had a fine singing voice :).

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