Kilburnlad | Chatteris | Porters Yard
Porter's Yard is one of many small yards off Chatteris High Street. Its name derives from the family that owned a ginger beer factory in the Yard. The old abandoned factory can be seen in the background of the photograph.

Our house is built on the site of the factory.

Finding historical information on the family and the business hasn’t been easy, but I have managed to piece together the following.
Porters Yard
  • Charles Porter
    The 1901 census reveals the following members of the Porter household:

    Charles Porter - Head of family - Brewer - Age 45
    Annie Porter - Wife - Age 34
    Charles William Porter - Son - Employed at Brewery - Age 14
    Horace Porter - Son - Apprentice Pattern Maker - Age 15
    Alec Edwin Porter - Son - Clerk - Age 14
    Gertrude Annie Porter - Daughter - Age 10
    Archie Porter - Son - Age 9
    Constance Eve Porter - Daughter - Age 7
    Kathleen A M Porter - Daughter - Age 5
    Reginald Porter - Son - Age 3
    Victoria Mildred Porter - Daughter - Age 3
    Florence Irene Porter - Daughter - Age 1
    William Porter - Uncle - Age 72
    Susan Brown - Servant - Age 16
    Charles Porter

  • Archie Porter
    Taken circa 1914, Archie Porter delivering lemon and ginger beer.

    Photograph kindly provided by Chatteris Museum.
    Archie Porter 1914

  • Advertisement
    An advertisement for Archie Porter's high class mineral water.

    This shows that the business was established in 1882.

    There clearly weren't that many people with telephones in Chatteris at the time judging by the telephone number CHATTERIS 101.

    Smith's Potato Crisps - a simpler time !

    Kindly provided by Chatteris Museum.
  • High Street showing entrance to Porters Yard
    The entrance to Porters Yard is by the telegraph pole, there still being a pole at this location, as can be seen in the more recent aerial photo below.

    The shop has long since gone, there being a new development at this location.

    Photograph kindly provided by Chatteris Museum.
    93 High Street

  • The Porter Family seeing off emigrants at station
    Unfortunately the precise details of the title of this photograph are not known, such as who is emigrating.

    It is, however, a fine photograph of the age and another piece of history.

    Photograph kindly provided by Chatteris Museum.
    Porter Family at Stations

  • Yard photograph circa 1920s
    This photograph was also provided by the relative of the family. It was probably taken during the 1920s and one of the children was her nan. The ginger beer factory is in the background and cottages are on the left.

    Apparently her great grandparents were very wealthy and owned the first car in Chatteris but bad fortune during the second world war, and a decline in the sales of ginger beer left them penniless. The factory was left to rot after the war.

    A fire in the factory ultimately led to its demolition, and in 2002 our house was built on the site. The Yard remains a conservation area and the house has been built sympathetically to match in with the two neighbouring cottages.
    Porters Yard 1920

  • Old aerial photo taken probably in the 1950s
    The garage shown in the foreground (left) had been demolished when we moved in, and the vacant site was later developed as a small infill housing estate.

    The buildings in the High Street have not changed significantly.

    Photograph kindly provided by Chatteris Museum.
    91-97 High Street aerial

  • Another Aerial Photograph
    This photograph again shows the garage and to the right of it Porters Yard with Porter’s factory.

    The fields in the background have since been developed as a large housing estate, as has the site of the garage.
    High Street aerial

  • Relics
    When I was digging over the garden I found many broken fragments of glass and earthenware bottles, which were clearly remnants of the factory’s produce.

    I uncovered only two complete examples, one earthenware and the other glass. The glass bottle has a marble in the throat that was forced into a restriction by the pressure of the gaseous ginger beer, thus retaining its fizz.

    Unfortunately children used to break the bottles to remove the marbles, making complete specimens very scarce.

    I gave the glass bottle to the woman who kindly provided details of her family history.
    Glass BottleEarthenware Bottle

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