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.

Area around Cowpen Bewley c1969

t14223 t14224 t14225These photographs were taken as part of a short cycle ride from Portrack in which I was intent in finding out what the countryside was like behind Haverton Hill. The building in the first photograph was just off the end of Cowpen Bewley Road, where it runs into Cowpen Bewley Lane.

I did this ride without maps, but recollect crossing the line of the Stockton to Hartlepool railway, so perhaps some of the photographs have been taken off Wolveston Back Lane… I would guess that with the massive development and land drainage in this area, some of the farm buildings have disappeared. Perhaps Stocktonians can help?

It must have been a difficult are to farm as the land was low lying and the pollution from ICI could not have helped. The farmland looked very bleak compared to that around Portrack and Norton.

Photographs and details courtesy of Fred Starr.