In days gone by, the railway porter was viewed largely as a member of the station staff who carried your luggage. But in reality this was a very minor part of their regular duties, as confirmed by Percy Primmer who joined the railway in 1929 and was employed at Ventnor’s main station on Mitchell Avenue for eight years as a Porter, before moving on to Newport and, later, Ryde. He retired in 1978.
On Ventnor station, the list of tasks undertaken by porters included cleaning the station on a daily basis and undertaking regular maintenance tasks. They were also responsible for ticket collection and passenger luggage sent in advance, requiring careful checking of labels to ensure that items did not end in the back of beyond.
Read PDF version here: A Railway Porter’s Life