A History of Potto Station
Thomas Walls was born in Appleton Wiske on 30 Sep 1827, a village about 7 miles from Potto. He worked, like most people in the area at the time, in agriculture. With the coming of the mineral railway to the area in 1857, he was employed to help in the surveying and contruction of the new line. When the line opened from Picton to Stokesley in March 1857, he was appointed Station Master of the newly open Potto Station. He remained as Station Master until his retirement in 1890 (He is listed as a Retired Station Master in the 1891 Census - living in Northallerton), having served 33 years.
John Walls was born in Appleton Wiske in Mar 1852. He moved to Potto when his father was appointed Station Master in 1857. He started as a Railway Clerk at Potto in 1867. In order to assist his father by remaining at Potto, he became a Signalman. When his father retired in 1891, he succeeded him as Station Master until his retirement in May 1908. He died in 1911. He served the railway for 41 years. He is buried in Whorlton Old Church, Swainby.
Thomas Henry Walls was born in Hutton Rudby in June 1878. He was the eldest son of John Walls. He started as a Railway Clerk at Potto in 1893, moved to Yarm Station in 1898 and was appointed Relief Station Master for the Middlesbrough District from 1903 until 1910. It was during this time he briefly became the 3rd generation Station Master at Potto, when his father had to retire in 1908, due to ill health. He was appointed Night Foreman in the York Yard in 1910 before moving to Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales to become Station Master in September 1911, where he looked after the three stations of Aysgarth, Askrigg and Redmire. His final posting was as Station Master in Knaresborough in September 1933. He died in 1936 after 44 years service.
John George Walls was born in Hutton Rudby in Nov 1887. He was the youngest son of John Walls. John George Walls started his railway career like his father and elder brother, by becoming a Railway Clerk at Potto Station on 19th November 1902. He moved to Picton in 1905 as Railway Clerk. He then became a 'Spare Clerk' in the Darlington District in 1906. He was then Relief Clerk in the York District in 1911 and a Clerk at Stockton in 1912 and Thornaby in 1913. In 1919 he was a Clerk in the York District. In the summer of 1921 he was appointed Relief Station Master for the York District - filling in when required at various stations. In July 1922 he was appointed Acting Relief Clerk for the Darlington District before being appointed Station Master at Harperley in October 1922. From there he moved to Scholes in January 1924 and to Scorton and Moulton in September 1928. In January 1930 He was again promoted, this time to become District Signalman's Inspector at Hull. In April 1933 he was appointed District Inspector at Burntisland, Fife. In June 1937 he was appointed Station Master at Grimsby Docks with responsibility for the passenger station at New Clee and the Immingham Tramway. He moved to become Station Master at Ardsley near Leeds in July 1938.
While Station Master at Ardsley, John George Walls was responsible for managing up to 180 staff as can seen from the following document.
In September 1940 he became Acting Yard Master at Sheffield, moving to become Yard Master at Portobello in November 1941. He retired on 3rd April 1948 after 45 years service.
Thomas Henry Walls had four children, two of which, Arnold and Constance, worked for the railways. Arnold worked from 1929 to 1965 and Constance from 1942 until 1975.
So since leaving the family farm in Appleton Wiske in 1857 to help with construction of the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Railway, four generations of the Walls family have worked for the Railways amassing an incredible 232 years!
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