taking our culture forward

John Watterson was born in 1930 to Harry and Eunice in the Port Soderick Railway Station where Harry was Station Master, they then moved to Ballasalla, Port Erin and finally Port St Mary Railway Station where Harry’s father, also named John, had at one time been Station Master himself. Some of his earliest memories were in Ballasalla where on a Tuesday, when the ‘Mart’ was held, John repeatedly went missing from school and was found helping the farmers move their livestock. He also remembers helping move the donkeys and ponies down from Ballafesson to the beach and the hotels on the front in Port Erin where holidaymakers would take rides out for the day.

John’s youth would be the stuff of childhood dreams, helping out at the station and getting to travel with the driver on the train to Castletown and back, even being allowed to pull the whistle! He remembers the internees arriving at the station during the war years and a police officer being based there throughout the day to check the paperwork of everyone coming in, his father taking on that job if the officer had to go elsewhere. John’s older brother, Fletcher, followed in the family tradition becoming a Clerk for the Railway, however, John knew from a young age that he wanted to farm and at 14 he left school to work at Ballachurry Farm on the milk round. This took him from Ballafesson out round Port St Mary on his 125 calls, Ballachurry was just one of a number of local farms with milk wagons and John was grateful when the horse and cart was replaced with a van as he didn’t get so wet in bad weather after that! After three years John moved on from the milk round and started working on the farm, moving on to Ballakilpheric Farm after 8 years and then to Scard that he eventually bought. John has many stories of his farming days and his days running a haulage company over the 49 years he lived at Scard. His love of horses started with the Port Erin beach donkeys and continues with John’s passion for carriage driving, a sport he takes part in regularly in his 90th year!


When you click play on one of the interviews below there will be a slight delay as the audio file is downloaded. Large files or slow internet connections will increase the length of this delay.

  • Interview with John Watterson

More Photos

  • Port St Mary railway station
  • Grandfather, John Watterson
  • Father, Henry Watterson
  • At the Royal Show, 2021