Middlesbrough


Middlesbrough
Borough of Middlesbrough
—  Town, Borough & Unitary authority  —
Middlesbrough Town Hall
Nickname(s): Boro (current),
Ironopolis (obsolete)
Coordinates: 54°34′26″N 1°14′0″W / 54.57389°N 1.233333°W / 54.57389; -1.233333Coordinates: 54°34′26″N 1°14′0″W / 54.57389°N 1.233333°W / 54.57389; -1.233333
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region North East England
Ceremonial county North Yorkshire
Founded 1830
Admin. HQ Middlesbrough
Government
 – Type Middlesbrough Borough Council
 – Leadership: Mayor & Cabinet
 – Executive: Independent Mayor / Labour, Independent Executive
 – Mayor Ray Mallon (Independent)
 – MPs: Stuart Bell (L)
Tom Blenkinsop (L)
Area
 – Total 20.8 sq mi (53.88 km2)
Area rank 268th
Population (2010 est.)
 – Total 142,400
 – Rank Ranked 134th
 – Density 6,845.1/sq mi (2,642.9/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 – Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode
ISO 3166-2
ONS code 00EC
OS grid reference
NUTS 3
Ethnicity 93.7% White
1.1% Mixed Race
5.1% S.Asian
1.0% Black
Website middlesbrough.gov.uk

Middlesbrough (Listeni/ˈmɪdəlzbrə/ mid-əlz-brə) is a large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England, that sits within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire. The local authority is Middlesbrough Borough Council.

Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1968 the town became the centre of the County Borough of Teesside, which was absorbed by the non-metropolitan county of Cleveland in 1974. In 1996 Cleveland was abolished, and Middlesbrough became a unitary authority, within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire.

Middlesbrough is different from the other districts on Teesside, as the borough is almost entirely urbanised, thus making it the largest town in terms of area and population, but the smallest district. However, it is locally regarded that the town exceeds the confines of the Middlesbrough Borough to include the areas of Eston, Grangetown, Normanby, Ormesby, and South Bank which are wards of the neighbouring borough of Redcar and Cleveland.

To the northeast of Middlesbrough lies the Tees Estuary, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) away. A few miles to the south lies the edge of the North York Moors National Park.

Teesport,[1] the UK's third largest port,[2] lies 3 miles (4.8 km) to the east, and Durham Tees Valley Airport[3] lies 8 miles (13 km) to the west, near Darlington.

Contents

History

Toponymy

Mydilsburgh is the earliest recorded form of the name. The element '-burgh', from the Old English burh (meaning 'fort') denotes an ancient fort or settlement of pre-Anglian origin.[4] The spelling brough sets Middlesbrough apart from other English towns, which typically use the spelling borough.

It is not certain if Mydil was someone's name or a reference to its position (middle) in between the centres of Durham and Whitby. The burgh, though, may have included a monastic cell and was probably situated on the elevated land where the Victorian church of St Hilda's (demolished in 1969) was later built.[4]

The town and its sporting teams are commonly referred to as the Boro, which is a common abbreviation for borough despite the fact that the name is spelled with a single "o".[5]

Early history

In 686 a monastic cell was consecrated by St. Cuthbert at the request of St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby and in 1119 Robert Bruce, 1st Lord of Cleveland and Annandale, granted and confirmed the church of St. Hilda of Middleburg to Whitby.[6] Up until its closure on the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1537,[7] the church was maintained by 12 Benedictine monks, many of whom became vicars or rectors of various places in Cleveland. The importance of the early church at “Middleburg”, later known as Middlesbrough Priory, is indicated by the fact that in 1452 it possessed four altars.[citation needed]

After the Angles the area became home to Viking settlers and it is argued by some that 'old' Cleveland has the highest density of Scandinavian parish names in Britain.[citation needed] Names of Viking origin (with the suffix by) are abundant in the area – for example, Thornaby, Ormesby, Stainsby, Lackenby, Maltby and Tollesby were once separate villages that belonged to Vikings called Thormad, Orm, Steinn, Hlakkande, Malti and Toll, but now form suburbs of Middlesbrough. Lazenby was the village belonging to a Leysingr – a freeman; Normanby, a Norseman's village and Danby, a Dane's village. The name Mydilsburgh is the earliest recorded form of Middlesbrough's name and dates to Anglian times (400 to 1000 AD), while many of the aforementioned villages appear in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Other links persist in the area, often through school and/or road names, to now-outgrown or abandoned local settlements, such as the medieval settlement of Stainsby, deserted by 1757, which amounts to little more today than a series of grassy mounds near the A19 road.[8] In 1952 Stainsby Secondary Modern School, now renamed Acklam Grange Secondary School, was named after this village.

Industrial history

Old Town Hall

In 1801 Middlesbrough was a hamlet with a population of just 25 people living in four farmhouses. During the latter half of the 19th century, however, it experienced a growth unparalleled in England. Development began with the purchase of the farm in 1829 by a group of Quaker businessmen, headed by Joseph Pease the Darlington industrialist, who saw the possibilities of Middlesbrough becoming a port for the transport of northeast coal. Four initial streets, leading into the market square, were duly laid out. This cause was facilitated by an 1830 extension of the Stockton and Darlington Railway to the site, which all but erased the logistical obstacles to ongoing development of the town. Before this, the shipment of coal had been problematic owing to the shallow waters around Stockton-on-Tees. The opening of the Clarence Railway, in 1833, which shared some of the Stockton and Darlington Railway's track, also provided the stimulus for the growth of Port Clarence on the opposite side of the river to Middlesbrough.

From 1840 to 1842 the civil engineer George Turnbull built Middlesbrough Dock which was then bought by the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company.

When Prime Minister William Gladstone visited the town, he stood under the roof of the original (1846) town hall and famously dubbed Middlesbrough 'an infant Hercules' in 'England's enterprise'.

A wall celebrating the name Ironopolis

At the very moment when early fortunes showed signs of giving way to decline, another great leap forward took place, with the discovery of ironstone in the Eston Hills in 1850. In 1841, Henry Bolckow, who had come to England in 1827, formed a partnership with John Vaughan, originally of Worcester, and started an iron foundry and rolling mill at Vulcan Street in the town. It was Vaughan who realised the economic potential of local ironstone deposits. Pig iron production rose tenfold between 1851 and 1856.

The importance of the area to the developing iron and steel trade gave it the nickname Ironopolis.[9][10] Also, a local football team playing in the late 1800s (sadly long since defunct), called itself Middlesbrough Ironopolis F. C.

The first ten mayors of Middlesbrough[11]
Year Name of Mayor
1853 Henry William Ferdinand Bolckow
1854 Isaac Wilson
1855 John Vaughan
1856 Henry Thompson
1858 John Richardson
1859 William Fallows
1860 George Bottomley
1861 James Harris
1862 Thomas Brentnall
1863 Edgar Gilkes

On 21 January 1853, Middlesbrough received its Royal Charter of Incorporation,[12] giving the town the right to have a mayor, aldermen and councillors. Bolckow became mayor in 1853 and Middlesbrough's first Member of Parliament (MP).

On 15 August 1867, a Reform Bill was passed, making Middlesbrough a new parliamentary borough, Bolckow was unanimously elected member for Middlesbrough the following year.

The population of Middlesbrough, as county borough, peaked at almost 165,000 in the late 1960s but has been in decline since the early 1980s. From 2001 to 2004, however, the recorded population jumped significantly, from 134,000 to 142,000, then to 147,000 in 2005. The current population, as of 2010 estimates, is believed to be 139,000.

The Bell brothers opened their great ironworks on the banks of the Tees in 1853. Steel production began at Port Clarence in 1889 and an amalgamation with Dorman Long followed. After rock salt was discovered under the site in 1874, the salt-extraction industry on Teesside was founded. By now Bell Brothers had become a vast concern employing some 6,000 people. Isaac Lowthian Bell's own eminence in the field of applied science, where he published many weighty papers, and as an entrepreneur whose knowledge of blast furnaces was unrivalled, led to universal recognition. He was the first president of the Iron and Steel Institute, and the first recipient of the Bessemer Gold Medal in 1874. Bell was Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1854–1855, and again in 1862–1863. He served as MP for Hartlepool in 1875–1880.

For many years in the 19th century Teesside set the world price for iron and steel. The steel components of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932) were engineered and fabricated by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough. Fittingly, the words MADE IN MIDDLESBROUGH are stamped on the Bridge. "The golden rivet" was hammered in by Kenneth Johnson Esq, Mechanical Engineer, whose son Christopher was later a pioneer in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry[citation needed]. The company was also responsible for the earlier New Tyne Bridge across the river at Newcastle.

Transporter Bridge, built in 1911

Via a 1907 Act of Parliament the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company also built the great Transporter Bridge (1911) which spans the Tees itself between Middlesbrough and Port Clarence. At 850 feet (260 m) long and 225 feet (69 m) high, is one of the largest of its type in the world, and one of only two left in working order in Britain (the other being in Newport). The bridge remains in daily use and it is worth noting that, contrary to what is suggested by the plot of popular BBC drama/comedy Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, the bridge was not at any point dismantled and removed to Arizona. It is, indeed, a Grade II* listed building. Another landmark, the Tees Newport Bridge opened further along the river in 1934. Newport bridge still stands and is passable by traffic but it no can longer lift the centre section.

Several large shipyards also lined the Tees including the Sir Raylton Dixon & Company which produced hundreds of steam freighters including the infamous SS Mont-Blanc, the steamship which caused the 1917 Halifax Explosion in Canada.

The great steelworks, chemical plants, shipbuilding and offshore fabrication yards that followed the original Middlesbrough ironworks, have in the recent past contributed to Britain's prosperity in no small measure and still do to this day.

Second World War

Middlesbrough had the distinction of being the first major British town and industrial target to be bombed during the Second World War. The Luftwaffe first visited the town on 25 May 1940 when a lone bomber dropped 13 bombs between South Bank Road and the South Steel Plant. One of the bombs fell on the South Bank football ground making a large crater in the pitch. The bomber was forced to leave after RAF night fighters were scrambled to intercept. Two months after the first bombing Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the town to meet the public and inspect coastal defences.[13]

German bombers often flew over Eston Hills in an effort to reach targets further inland, such as Manchester. On 30 March 1941 a Junkers Ju 88 was shot down by two Spitfires of No. 41 Squadron, piloted by Tony Lovell and Archie Winskill, over Middlesbrough. The aircraft dived into the ground at Barnaby Moor, Eston. The engines and most of the airframe being entirely buried upon impact.[14]

On 5 December 1941 a Spitfire of No. 122 Squadron, piloted by Sgt Hutton, crashed into rising ground near Mill Farm, Upsall, on the lower slopes of Eston Hills. Visibility had been poor due to bad weather and low cloud. It is believed this was the cause of the crash.[15]

On 15 January 1942, minutes after being hit by gunfire from a merchant ship anchored off Hartlepool, a Dornier Do 217 collided with the cable of a barrage balloon over the River Tees. The blazing bomber plummeted onto the railway sidings in South Bank leaving a crater twelve feet deep. In 1997 the remains of the Dornier were unearthed by a group of workers clearing land for redevelopment. The remains were put on display for a short while at Kirkleatham museum.

On 4 August 1942 a lone Dornier Do 217 picked its way through the barrage balloons and dropped a stick of bombs onto the railway station. One bomb caused serious damage to the Victorian glass and steel roof. A train, also in the station at the time of attack, was badly damaged. Luckily there were no passengers aboard.[16]

By the end of the war over 200 buildings had been destroyed within the Middlesbrough area. Areas of early and mid-Victorian housing were demolished and much of central Middlesbrough was redeveloped. Heavy industry was relocated to areas of land better suited to the needs of modern technology. Middlesbrough itself began to take on a completely different look.[17]

Origin of motto "Erimus"

The rapid growth of the town saw the prophetic words (probably spoken by Pease), 'Yarm was, Stockton is, Middlesbrough will be' come true. Indeed, the motto chosen by the first body of town councillors was in fact 'Erimus'; Latin for 'We shall be'. (See also the Pearson family grave at Crambe, which uses the motto "ERIMUS".)

“Erimus” or “We shall be”, in Latin was chosen as Middlesbrough’s motto to signify the town’s will to grow and become great from its foundation in 1830. The arms of Middlesbrough were designed by W. Hylton Longstaffe in 1853, the year of incorporation. The arms were modified in 1911. They show an azure (blue) lion beneath a row of 2 ships to represent the shipping trade of Middlesbrough. The design is based on that of the Brus family who owned the site on which Middlesbrough is built. Their motto “Fuimus” means “We have been”.

Green Howards

The Green Howards was a British Army infantry regiment very strongly associated with Middlesbrough and the area south of the River Tees. Originally formed at Dunster Castle, Somerset in 1688 to serve King William of Orange, later King William III, this famous regiment became affiliated to the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1782. As Middlesbrough grew, its population of men came to be a group most targeted by the recruiters. The Green Howards were part of the King's Division. On 6 June 2006, this famous regiment was merged into the new Yorkshire Regiment and are now known as 2 Yorks – The 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards). There is also a Territorial Army (TA) company at Stockton Road in Middlesbrough, part of 4 Yorks which is wholly reserve.

One of the most well-known soldiers of this historic regiment was WO2 (Company Sergeant Major) Stanley Hollis. He was the only soldier in all of the British and Empire armies to be awarded a Victoria Cross (VC) in the D-Day landings at Normandy, France in June 1944. Other well-known Green Howards have included the TV magician Paul Daniels, Middlesbrough F.C.'s Wilf Mannion, General Sir Richard Dannatt (who was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the British Army in August 1996), former England rugby player Tim Rodber, and Yorkshire and England cricketer Hedley Verity, killed in action in 1943.

Governance

Middlesbrough was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1853. It extended its boundaries in 1866 and 1887, and became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. A Middlesbrough Rural District was formed in 1894, covering a rural area to the south of the town. It was abolished in 1932, partly going to the county borough; but mostly going to the Stokesley Rural District.[18]

Middlesbrough gained a "twin" in 1890 when the town of Middlesborough, Kentucky was incorporated in the United States; it was named after its English namesake due to the discovery of ironstone deposits in the region.

Middlesbrough is twinned with Oberhausen in Germany, Masvingo in Zimbabwe and Dunkerque ('Dunkirk' in English) in France. This last association resulted from the Dunkirk evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force during World War II, in which one quarter of the ships involved were from Teesport.

The district in England and Wales with the lowest healthy life expectancy, according to the Office for National Statistics study, is Middlehaven, the dockside area of Middlesbrough, which is currently undergoing major regeneration and will soon become a flagship regeneration project in the UK, with plans from the architect Will Alsop.[19]

Crime

Middlesbrough uses combined installations of CCTV cameras and loudspeakers to reprimand citizens when they are committing infringements (throwing cigarette ends on the ground, littering etc.). Middlesbrough was the first place in the UK to install CCTV with loudspeakers which inspired other towns to use this idea. The crime rate in Middlesbrough is nearly twice the UK average and was 4th highest in England in 2007 despite seeing year on year reductions according to the Cleveland Police crime statistics.[20]

Politics

Middlesbrough and the surrounding area has two Members of Parliament (MPs): Tom Blenkinsop and Sir Stuart Bell. Middlesbrough has been a traditionally safe Labour seat, largely due to its industrial, working class history. The first Conservative MP for Middlesbrough was Sir Samuel Alexander Sadler, elected in 1900. The Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland seat is also Labour but incorporates surrounding towns including Guisborough and Saltburn and is a more marginal seat and a Conservative target (the Conservatives having held the Langbaurgh predecessor seat until 1997).

In 2002, Middlesbrough voted to have a directly elected mayor as head of the council. The current mayor is Ray Mallon (independent), a former senior, and somewhat controversial, figure in the local police force. Mallon was voted in as the first directly elected mayor in 2002, re-elected for a second term in office in May 2007 and re-elected again for a third term in May 2011 in the local and mayoral elections.

Geography

The following is a table of the different wards, districts and suburbs in the Middlesbrough area.

Acklam Ayresome Beckfield Beechwood Berwick Hills Brambles Farm
Brookfield Clairville Coulby Newham Easterside Eston Gresham
Grangetown Grove Hill Hemlington Kader Ladgate Lazenby
Linthorpe Marton-in-Cleveland Marton Grove Marton West Middlehaven Netherfields
Normanby North Ormesby Nunthorpe Ormesby Pallister Park End
Priestfields Saltersgill South Bank St. Hilda's Stainton-in-Cleveland Thorntree
Teesville Tollesby Town Farm University West Lane Whinney Banks

Middlesbrough's contemporary townscape is largely workaday, it being no longer a heavy industrial town, though there are areas around which still support chemical, fertiliser and iron and steel production.

Street layout

Unlike some English towns where there was an older market town around which a larger industrial town grew, Middlesbrough was laid out starting from scratch. The result of this can be seen in the grid-like pattern of streets. Although there is no overall grid plan of the sort found in many American cities, there are areas in which side streets are laid out at right angles to major thoroughfares, with other side streets crossing them at right angles. These streets are continuous over three or four blocks of buildings. In the main shopping area, and on the east side of Linthorpe Road, streets were laid out in rectangular grid which seems to be based on Corporation Road, which runs from east to west. To the west of Linthorpe Road a grid pattern is based on Linthorpe Road itself, but after a few blocks the layout changes to a grid based on Newport Road, which runs north-east to south-west. South of Albert Park there are other smaller grids, but the long continuous streets are all north of Parliament Road and Albert Park. Further out of town there are more recent suburban streets with various layouts.

Climate

Middlesbrough has an oceanic climate typical for the United Kingdom. Being sheltered by both the Lake District and Pennines to the west, Middlesbrough is in one of the relatively drier parts of the country, receiving on average 25 inches of rain a year. It has more of a continental climate than other parts of the UK, with above average summer temperatures, and below average winter temperatures. Summer highs are typically 20/21°C, winter lows typically dropping several degree's C below freezing.

Climate data for Middlesbrough
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6
(43)
7
(44)
9
(48)
11
(52)
14
(58)
17
(63)
20
(68)
19
(67)
17
(62)
13
(55)
9
(48)
7
(45)
{{{year high C}}}
(54)
Average low °C (°F) 1
(34)
1
(34)
2
(36)
3
(37)
6
(43)
8
(46)
11
(52)
11
(52)
9
(48)
6
(43)
3
(37)
2
(36)
{{{year low C}}}
(42)
Precipitation mm (inches) 56.1
(2.21)
38.9
(1.53)
51.1
(2.01)
52.1
(2.05)
49.5
(1.95)
54.9
(2.16)
44.5
(1.75)
61.2
(2.41)
57.4
(2.26)
56.9
(2.24)
61.5
(2.42)
59.2
(2.33)
643.1
(25.32)
Source: [21]

Transport

A Travel Information Display at a Middlesbrough Bus Shelter

Middlesbrough is served well by public transport. The Arriva North East, Stagecoach on Teesside, Leven Valley, Alrite Travel and Go North East bus lines provide local transport mainly in Middlesbrough and to Durham Tees Valley Airport, Sunderland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. National Express and Megabus operate long distance coach travel from the bus station. Middlesbrough has recently benefited from an upgrade in bus services; with digital displays having being fitted at selected bus shelters in the town and many bus shelters being renovated.

Until the 1970s Middlesbrough bus services consisted of the blue buses of Middlesbrough Corporation Transport, or the red buses of the United Bus Company, with an occasional green bus from Stockton Corporation Transport. The merger to form Teesside resulted in a unified Teesside Corporation Transport, with Stockton's green merging with Middlesbrough's blue to give a turquoise-liveried fleet, a colour which was not universally popular. The United Bus Company, which had operated fewer services than the other two, but tended to cover longer distances, began operating under the National Bus Company brand at about the same time.

Train services are operated by Northern Rail and Transpennine Express, the latter of which provides direct rail services to cities such as Leeds, York, Liverpool and Manchester, departing from Middlesbrough railway station. Currently there are no direct rail services to London King's Cross from Middlesbrough, however, open access operator Grand Central Trains operate four weekday return journeys from nearby Eaglescliffe. Northern Rail connect with the East Coast Main Line at Darlington providing an interchange for direct services to many areas of the UK. Northern also operate the Saltburn route as well as the beautiful Esk Valley Line to Whitby. The Tees Valley Metro scheme intends to improve railway services from Middlesbrough to Darlington, Saltburn, Nunthorpe and Hartlepool and open new stations at Teesside Park, Middlehaven, James Cook University Hospital and Nunthorpe Parkway. The first stages of the scheme were approved by the Department for Transport in 2009.

Landmarks

Panoramic view of Middlesbrough
Acklam Hall

Located in the suburb and former village of Acklam and by some distance Middlesbrough's oldest domestic building is Acklam Hall of c.1680–83. Built by Sir William Hustler, it is also Middlesbrough's sole Grade I listed building.[22][23] The Restoration mansion, accessible through an avenue of trees off Acklam Road, has seen progressive updates through the centuries, such that it makes for a captivating document of varying trends in English architecture.

Built on extensive grounds by the Pennyman family now under the jurisdiction of the National Trust, Ormesby Hall, a Palladian mansion actually technically located within the neighbouring borough of Redcar and Cleveland, but within one of the town's seven conservation areas, was largely built around 1740, although an older wing dating from around 1599, still exists.

There is also a group of interesting churches, for example at Acklam, Marton and Stainton (c. 12th century), as well as the modern St. Mary's R.C. Cathedral at Coulby Newham, replacing in the 1980s the previous structure on Sussex Street that was left gutted and at the mercy of arsonists in 2000.[24]

A modest tally of pre-1900 buildings remain in the town centre, however; the priory, farmhouse and any other elements of the town's pre-industrial landscape (such as the Restoration Newport House and its associated Hustler Granary, which submitted to demolition in the 1930s by virtue of its vicinity to the then-recently opened Tees Newport Bridge, and the locally famous "White Cottages" on St. Barnabas Road in Linthorpe) have long since been banished to history.[25] Indeed, incorporation of the town itself did not occur until 1853. Even so, the urban centre remains home to a variety of architecture ranging from the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, opened in January 2007 to replace a number of former outlying galleries; and Centre North East, formerly Corporation House, which opened in 1971. Many believe that there is a beauty to be found in the surrounding landscape of industry along the River Tees from Billingham to Wilton. The terraced Victorian streets surrounding the town centre are characterful elements of Middlesbrough's social and historical identity, and the vast streets surrounding Parliament Road and Abingdon Road a reminder of the area's wealth and rapid growth during industrialisation.

Middlesbrough Town Hall

The town hall, designed by George Gordon Hoskins and built between 1883 and 1887 is a Grade II listed building, and a very imposing structure. Of comparable grandeur alongside these municipal buildings is the erstwhile Empire Palace of Varieties of 1897, the finest surviving theatre edifice designed by Ernest Runtz in the UK. The first artist to star there in its guise as a music hall was Lillie Langtry. Later it became an early nightclub (1950s), then a bingo hall and is now once again a nightclub in the form of 'The Empire'. It has recently, as of 2005, had the missing ornate glass and steel over-canopy to the front entrance fully restored. Further afield, in Linthorpe, can be found the Middlesbrough Theatre (formerly the Little Theatre), which was opened by Sir John Gielgud in 1957 and was one of the first new theatres built in England after the Second World War.

Middlesbrough Central (Public) Library

The town can also boast this country’s only public sculpture by the celebrated modern American artist Claes Oldenburg, the "Bottle O' Notes" of 1993, which relates to Captain James Cook. Based alongside it today in the town's Central Gardens is the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), the successor to previous art galleries on Linthorpe Road and Gilkes Street. Refurbished in 2006 is the Carnegie library dating from 1912. The Dorman Long office on Zetland Road, constructed between 1881 and 1891, is the only commercial building ever designed by Philip Webb, the great architect who worked for Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell.

The town centre has been undergoing modernisation in recent years; this includes the addition in 2004 of 'Spectra-txt,' a 10-metre (33 ft) high interactive tower of metal and fibre-optics inspired by Blade Runner (whose own industrial scenery was inspired by that of Teesside, by virtue in part of the experiences of its director, the South Shields-born Ridley Scott, a former art college student up the coast in nearby industrialised West Hartlepool). 'Spectra-txt' allows a member of the public to send an SMS (text) message via a mobile phone to change the colours of the lights. Texting various codes, such as 'Chromapop' produce a display of changing colour lights.

Economy

There is a large and comprehensive shopping district made up of several separate shopping centres, which include 'The Mall Middlesbrough' renamed in 2005 from 'Cleveland Shopping Centre,' which has undergone a major refurbishment. 'Dundas Street Shopping' renamed in 2005 from 'Dundas Shopping Arcade', 'Hill Street Shopping Centre' and 'Captain Cook Square'. Linthorpe Road is home to several independent and national fashion shops. A four-part BBC3 documentary "The Secret Life of the Shop" was made in 2005 about the clothing store Psyche, which highlighted how seriously Teessiders take fashion.

Future developments

As part of its £1.5 billion investment programme, Tees Valley Regeneration has started work on reclaiming Middlesbrough Docklands with the £500 million Middlehaven scheme to bring new business and homes to a 250 acres (1.0 km2) area.[26] The first phase around the former docklands has already begun and is visible from the Riverside Stadium. The master plan drawn up by Will Alsop in 2004, includes proposals for the relocation of Middlesbrough College and the building of a virtual reality centre by Teesside University as part of the DigitalCity development, in addition to numerous offices, hotels, bars, restaurants and leisure attractions. Tees Valley Regeneration now has a shortlist of five developers seeking to build at Middlehaven, the list includes some of the most prestigious and groundbreaking names in development and regeneration, and a decision on the chosen developer is due to be made in the next few months.[when?]

The Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative is a 20 year vision for regenerating the urban core of the Tees Valley, the main focus being the 30 km² area along the banks of the River Tees between the two centres of Stockton and Middlesbrough. The master plan has been drawn up by environmental design specialists Gillespies, the eventual aim being to bring distinctive high-quality city-scale assets to the centre of the Tees Valley, including the town centres of Stockton and Middlesbrough. The project will include not only the existing developments at North Shore[dead link], Stockton and Middlehaven[dead link], Middlesbrough, but many others over a 15-20 year period.

The former Odeon cinema in Middlesbrough, during demolition

Private local developers have recently announced plans to build a 360-foot (110 m) tower on the site of the old Odeon Cinema (more recently a nightclub named "the Jumpin' Jack") which collapsed during demolition work in July 2006. The site is in central Middlesbrough at the eastern end of Newport Road and was proposed to be the tallest building in the North East, although the plan was later, as of 2007, downscaled.

One of Middlesbrough's finest buildings, Kirby College, set in the inner suburb of Linthorpe is currently in the process of being brought back to life by local developer Green Lane Capital. The building will become known as The Old College.

Middlesbrough, along with other towns and cities in the UK, will be granted a licence to build a new large casino. Manchester won the bid to host the 'Super Casino'.[27]

Just announced is a plan to turn one of the area's most impressive yet under-used buildings into a top specification office location. Cleveland House on Cleveland Street was built in 1872 by John Gibson – a renowned architect who worked with Sir Charles Barry designing the Houses of Parliament. The building's new owners have renamed it Gibson House and plan to spend £1m on the grade II listed construction. It is thought that the developers are planning to capitalise on the success of the huge regeneration project at nearby Middlehaven district of town.

Culture and leisure

Dorman Museum

The long-awaited flagship art gallery project, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art opened its doors in January 2007. It currently holds the second largest collection of Picassos in the United Kingdom. It also holds works by Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and Damien Hirst among others. Its considerable arts and crafts collections span from 1900 to the present day. Surrounding it is the town's overhauled Victoria Square and Central Gardens, in tandem producing "the largest civic space in Europe".[28]

Middlesbrough has two major recreational park spaces in Albert Park and Stewart Park, Marton. The former, originally hailed as the 'People's Park', was donated to the town by Bolckow in 1866. It was formally opened by Prince Arthur, youngest son of the monarch, on 11 August 1868 and comprises a 30 hectare (70 acre) site accessible from Linthorpe Road. The park underwent a considerable period of restoration from 2001 to 2004, during which a number of the park's most well-known landmarks, including a fountain, bandstand and sundial saw either restoration or revival. The latter park was donated to the people of Middlesbrough in 1928 by Councillor Thomas Dorman Stewart and encompasses Victorian stable buildings, lakes and animal pens. During 2011 and 2012, the park is to undergo major refurbishment of many of its features. Alongside these two parks are two of the town's premier cultural attractions, the century-old Dorman Memorial Museum and the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. The former was given the honour of displaying the Middlesbrough meteorite in March 2011 (loaned from the Yorkshire museum). This was the first time the 1.5 kg meteorite had been put on display in the town since it fell to Earth in 1881. Close to the latter museum can be found a granite urn marking the supposed spot of the world famous explorer's birthplace.

Newham Grange Leisure farm in Coulby Newham, one of the most southerly districts of the town, has operated continuously in this spot since the 17th century, becoming a leisure farm with the first residential development of the suburb in the 1970s. It is now a burgeoning tourist attraction: the chance to view its cattle, pigs, sheep and other farm animals is complemented by exhibitions of the farming history of the area.

Back in the 'Old Town' or St Hilda's, is the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre, opened in 2000 and offering its own exhibitions charting the stirring past of the surrounding industrial powerhouse, as well as that of the singular structure it commemorates.

Nightlife

During university term time, Middlesbrough is busy throughout the week with student nights taking place throughout the bars and clubs. During the holidays, the town is especially busy from Thursday to Sunday.

One of the most popular venues is The Empire in the centre of town. Several famous bands and DJs have played at this venue, from the likes of Roger Sanchez, Eric Prydz to DJ Disciple. The Crown, Basement, Blu, Cornerhouse, Walkabout, Aruba, Onyx, Barracuda and the Arena, now re-opened with a seven o'clock license are also popular. A Cineworld cinema is located at Middlesbrough Leisure Park, as well as a Showcase Cinema in the Middlesbrough part of Teesside Park.

The Rolling Stones, iconic and internationally famous rock-band, played their first gig outside of London on 13 July 1963 at The Outlook, Corporation Road, Middlesbrough. The present Teesside Combined Law Courts now stand on the site of these premises which were built as a small department store featuring fashion, hair-styling and record sales. The small 'club' was actually a coffee and snack-bar (unlicensed) in the basement. Manchester band, The Hollies appeared the same night. In 1966 both Stevie Wonder, and rock-band The Who, played a tiny 200 capacity, unlicensed club-venue called Mr McCoy's, a former Electrical wholesalers warehouse, which until 1970, stood on the site of 'The Mall' indoor shopping centre.[citation needed]

Sport

Riverside Stadium 2010

Middlesbrough is home to the Championship football team, Middlesbrough F.C., owned by local haulage entrepreneur Steve Gibson. The club is based at the Riverside Stadium on the banks of the River Tees, where they have played since relocating from Ayresome Park (their home for 92 years) near to Linthorpe Road in 1995. The club was a founder member of the FA Premier League in 1992, and moved from its previous home at Ayresome Park in 1995. Having endured 128 years without a major trophy, Middlesbrough finally won the Carling Cup under then-manager Steve McClaren, on 29 February 2004, beating Bolton Wanderers 2–1 in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.[29] This also qualified them for another club first: competitive European football, with the first of two consecutive UEFA Cup campaigns. The second resulted in them reaching the final, which they lost 4–0 to Sevilla of Spain. Other notable successes of the club include a string of promotions to the top flight (the most recent in 1998) and being runners-up in both domestic cup finals in 1997 (the first two cup finals they ever reached). In 1905 they made history with Britain's first £1,000 transfer when they signed Alf Common from local rivals Sunderland. Other notable players to have worn the Middlesbrough shirt include Steve Bloomer, Wilf Mannion, George Camsell, George Hardwick, Brian Clough, Bernie Slaven, Gary Pallister, Juninho, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Graeme Souness. Notable former managers include Jack Charlton, Bruce Rioch, Lennie Lawrence, Bryan Robson and Steve McClaren.

Another league club, Middlesbrough Ironopolis F.C., was briefly based in the town during the 1890s, but folded within a few years.

During the 2005–2006 season, Middlesbrough was the only north eastern team involved in European competition, having qualified for the UEFA Cup through a club-record seventh-placed finish in the 2004–2005 FA Premier League. Having beaten FC Basel and Steaua Bucureşti 4–3 in previous rounds (coming back from three goals down on both occasions), Middlesbrough F.C. arrived at its first UEFA Cup final. They lost 4–0 to Sevilla FC at the Philips Stadion on 10 May 2006, although three of Sevilla's four goals were scored in the last fourteen minutes.[30] The efforts of McClaren, however, were recognised in his appointment as Sven-Göran Eriksson's successor at the helm of the England national team after that summer's World Cup,[31] albeit only remaining in the role until November the following year.[32] He was replaced as Middlesbrough manager by long-serving defender Gareth Southgate, in an appointment that was controversial owing to Southgate's initial lack of the coaching qualifications required by English Premier League rules. The appointment was unsuccessfully opposed by various Football Association officials.[33]

Speedway racing was staged at Cleveland Park Stadium from the pioneer days of 1928 until the 1990s. The post-war team, known as The Bears, and for a time, The Teessiders, and the Teesside Tigers operated at all levels. The immediate post war Bears team, which operated between 1945 and 1948, was reputed to be a victim of its own success. The track operated for amateur speedway in the 1950s before re-opening in the Provincial League of 1961. The track closed for a spell later in the 1960s but returned in as members of the Second Division as The Teessiders. Speedway returned to the Middlesbrough area in 2006 and the team is known as the Redcar Bears.

Middlesbrough is also represented nationally in Futsal. Middlesbrough Futsal Club play in the FA Futsal League North, the national championship and their home games are played in Thornaby at Thornaby Pavilion.

Education

Middlesbrough Tower, Teesside University

Middlesbrough became a university town in 1992, after a concerted campaign for a distinct 'Teesside University' which had run since the 1960s. Prior to its establishment, extramural classes had been provided by the University of Leeds Adult Education Centre on Harrow Road, from 1958 to 2001.[34] Teesside University has more than 20,000 students. It dates back to 1930 as Constantine Technical College (although teaching formalities had begun in the then-new building as early as September 1929). Current departments of the university include Teesside University Business School as well as the Schools of Arts and Media, Computing, Health and Social Care, Science & Engineering and Social Sciences & Law. The university is internationally recognised as a leading institute for computer animation and games design and along with Arc arts centre at Stockton-on-Tees, Cineworld cinema in Middlesbrough, and the Riverside Stadium, hosts the annual Animex International Festival of Animation.

The university is not alone in providing further and higher education in the town. There are also a number of modern schools, colleges and sixth forms, the largest of which is Middlesbrough College with 16,000 students, which once covered the four campuses of Acklam, Kirby, Longlands and Marton, including the one-time Acklam Hall until July 2008. From September 2008 Middlehaven is now the new home of further education in the town. Others include St. David's School in Acklam, Newlands School F.C.J. in Saltersgill and Macmillan Academy on Stockton Road, which was recently declared the best state school in England.[35] Two of three campuses of Cleveland College of Art and Design are also based in Middlesbrough, with its primary site on Green Lane having been officially opened in 1960. It remains the only such college remaining in the North East, and one of only four specialist art and design further education colleges in the United Kingdom, the others being in Herefordshire, Leeds and Plymouth.

Secondary schools

Middlesbrough also includes some very competitive secondary schools.

  • Acklam Grange Secondary School is also a specialist mathematics and computing college. Its also home to the Acorn Sports Centre and Middlesbrough City Learning Centre. It opened its new school building in September 2010. In July 2011 the long time headmaster of the school, John Bate, retired, after over 2 decades of service.
  • Oakfields Community College Speciality Sports And Arts College is open as of September 2010 due to be rebuilt elsewhere on site and open in September 2012, with a multi-million pound college building located in Acklam on Hall Drive opposite Acklam Hall.
  • The King's Academy, in Coulby Newham, was opened in 2003 by Tony Blair and is part of a group of schools built by Peter Vardy (businessman). It has a sixth form, and the total number of students the school has at the moment is 1000, with roughly 150–200 staff. It has a high pass rate at both GCSE and A-level. The academy specialises in business, but has excellent sport facilities. It is the top school in Middlesbrough for its teaching of deaf and visually impaired students.
  • The £17 million Unity City Academy, which replaced the Langbaurgh and Keldholme schools in east Middlesbrough, was one of the first schools to open as part of the government's £5 billion City Academy programme for failing comprehensives. In 2005, an unusually large proportion of pupils gained no GCSEs, and only 14% of pupils gained 5 A*–C grades, compared with a national average of 51%.[36] However, in 2006 the school had new management in place, and achieved pass rates of 33%.[37] In 2009, Unity City Academy was named the most improved school in Middlesbrough by Ofsted.
  • In 2007, Ofsted reported that Macmillan Academy was grade 1, outstanding, in overall effectiveness.[38]

Religion

Christianity

Middlesbrough is a deanery of the Archdeaconry of Cleveland, a subdivision of the Church of England Diocese of York in the Province of York. It stretches west from Thirsk, north to Middlesbrough, east to Whitby and south to Pickering.

Middlesbrough is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough, which was created on 20 December 1878 from the Diocese of Beverley. Middlesbrough is home to the Mother-Church of the diocese, St. Mary's Cathedral, which is located in the suburb of Coulby Newham. The present bishop is the Right Reverend Terence Patrick Drainey, 7th Bishop of Middlesbrough, who was ordained on Friday 25 January 2008.

St. Stephen's, Middlesbrough, near the university campus, is an evangelical congregation, worshipping in the style of the Church of England, but which is in the Evangelical Connexion.[39]

Islam

The Islamic community is represented in several mosques in Middlesbrough. Muslim sailors visited Middlesbrough from about 1890.[40] and, in 1961, Azzam Din opened the first Halal butcher’s shop.[40] The first mosque was a house in Grange Road in 1962.[40] The Al-Madina Jamia Mosque, on Waterloo Road, the Dar ul Islam Central Mosque, on Southfield Road, and the Abu Bakr Mosque & Community Centre,[41] which is on Park Road North, are among the best known mosques in Middlesbrough today.

Sikhism

The Sikh community established their first Temple, or Gurdwara, in Milton Street, in 1967.[40] After a time in Southfield Road, the centre is now in Lorne Street and was opened in 1990.[40]

Hinduism

There is a Hindu Cultural Centre in Westbourne Road, North Ormesby, which was opened in 1990.[40]

Television and filmography

Middlesbrough has featured in many television programmes, including The Fast Show, Steel River Blues, Spender, Play for Today (The Black Stuff; latterly the drama Boys from the Blackstuff) and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Some of the Movie Billy Elliot was filmed on the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.

Tyne Tees Television used to broadcast its news for the South regions from its studios located at the base of Corporation House (now Walkabout bar), before moving to its new premises in Billingham.

On 17 December 2007, at about 1 p.m. local time, the American television network NBC broadcast live from the Transporter Bridge, where presenter Ann Curry performed a bungee jump above the river, as part of a fundraising effort for charities such as Save the Children and United Way. Despite advance publicity in the Evening Gazette[42] and the BBC, the occasion did not attract many spectators other than the members of the UK Bungee Club supervising the jump, and the recovery party in a river boat. Despite recent adverse publicity for the town, including a poll conducted by a Channel 4 television programme, Location, Location, Location, making use of criteria questioned by the mayor Ray Mallon,[43] which listed Middlesbrough as the country's supposed 'worst place to live' in 2007,[44] no local politicians attempted to capitalise on the occasion.

In May 2008 Middlesbrough was chosen as one of the sites in the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting Project. Like other towns participating in the project, Middlesbrough was offered a large 27 m2 (290 sq ft) television screen by the BBC and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games. The screen was installed on 11 July 2008 and is located at the western end of Centre Square.

In November 2009, the mima art gallery was used by the presenters of Top Gear as part of a challenge. The challenge was to see if car exhibits would be more popular than normal art.[45]

Middlesbrough is also the home of the award-winning series of short films called Cold Up North. Made by local people, with no formal training and with local bands providing the soundtrack, they have won two Best Film Awards at film festivals, two awards on YouTube, numerous awards and accolades from Middlesbrough Council and recently worked with the North East Film Council. There is a story attached to the film crew that they once received an e mail from Sir Ridley Scott (who has connections to the area) complimenting their work and encouraging them into the future. Some of their short films are available on YouTube.[citation needed]

Notable people

The world-famous explorer, navigator, and map maker Captain James Cook was born in Marton, which is now a suburb in the south-east of Middlesbrough.

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Other famous people from Middlesbrough include:

Other eminent sons and daughters of Middlesbrough and its environs include Martin Narey (1955–present), chief executive of Barnardo's, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson,[47] Chief Medical Officer for England, E. W. Hornung, the creator of the gentleman-crook Raffles (who was fluent in three Yorkshire dialects), and Naomi Jacob novelist. Florence Easton, the Wagnerian soprano at the New York Met and Cyril Smith (1909–1974), the concert pianist, were also natives. The famous M.P. Ellen Wilkinson wrote a novel Clash (1929) which paints a very positive picture of ‘Shireport’ (Middlesbrough). The classic study, At The Works (1907), by Florence Bell (1851–1930), gives a striking picture of the area at the turn-of-the-century. She also edited the letters of her stepdaughter Gertrude Bell (1868–1926), which has been continuously in print since 1927. Pat Barker's debut novel Union Street was set on the thoroughfare of the same name in the town, its central theme of prostitution still associated with the area around it to this day. The Jonny Briggs series of books, written by Joan Eadington (and later to become a BBC Children's TV series of the same name, was also based in the town.

Ford Madox Ford (1873–1939) was billeted in Eston during the Great War (1914–18) and his great novel sequence Parade's End is partly set in Busby Hall, Carlton-in-Cleveland.

Adrian 'Six Medals' Warburton, air photographer, was played by Alec Guinness in 'Malta Story'.

The great model maker Richard Old (1856–1932) resided for most of his life at 6 Ruby Street.

Image gallery

Twin towns

Middlesbrough is twinned with the following places:[48]

See also

References

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