Red Wheel National Recognition for Transporter Bridge

Sir William McAlpine officially unveiled the Transport Trust Red Wheel plaque as dozens turned out to celebrate the Tees Transporter Bridge’s transport heritage significance.

The Red Wheel award was one of two presented along the Tees Valley on Friday (April 7), with the Cleveland Bridge-designed Transporter Bridge becoming the 89th site recognised by the Trust, followed by an unveiling at the 90th site – the Stockton & Darlington Railway’s Hopetown Carriage Works.

The Tees Transporter Bridge joins an elite list of transport heritage landmarks recognised by the Transport Trust, the only charity devoted to the conservation, restoration and promotion of Britain’s transport heritage nationally and across all modes of transport – by land, air and water. Other sites in the region include nearby Saltburn Cliff Lift and Shildon’s Soho House.

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge was awarded a Transport Trust Red Wheel Award at a ceremony today (Friday 7th April)
7-4-17 Pic Doug Moody Photography

President of the Trust Sir William McAlpine, who praised the north east and the region’s spirit, said: “The idea of the Transport Trust Red Wheel plaques is to draw attention and provide information for visitors about interesting, wonderful constructions – buildings, bridges, canals – all over the country.”

Sir William went on to say, “Oh I think it is wonderful, wonderful that the Transporter Bridge has been recognised, or more recognised than it already is because it should be as an almost unique piece of engineering. There is one in Wales that works and one other that doesn’t work. And it is good to know that they are being kept and used and doing a useful thing.”

Tosh Warwick, Middlesbrough Council’s Heritage Development Officer, said:  “The event displayed the enthusiasm and passion for one of the region’s most iconic landmarks and we expect this latest award will generate further interest in our bridge amongst transport enthusiasts across the nation.”

  • More on the Tees Transporter Bridge, including booking information and upcoming events, can be found at teestransporterbridge.com

Information on the Transport Trust, who are currently inviting nominations for other sites of transport heritage significance, can be found at http://www.transporttrust.com/

Heritage Officer Tosh Warwick later gave me a short interview about the significance of the plaque unveiling.

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge was awarded a Transport Trust Red Wheel Award at a ceremony today (Friday 7th April)
7-4-17 Pic Doug Moody Photography

Q: Tosh, can you tell us a little about the new plaque unveiled today at the Transporter Bridge.

TW: The red wheel is awarded by the Transport Trust. It is one of 89 unveiled across the UK. It celebrates the fact the Transporter Bridge is a really important part of not just Teesside’s heritage but that of the nation. It puts it in a national spotlight.

Q: Today we have heard people discuss both the engineering masterpiece but also not forgetting that it was built so that people could get to work.

TW:  Yes, that is one of the beauties of today’s event; it is about how the bridge has been used rather than just being an icon, which obviously it clearly is. It is about it’s functional role as well. Those ironworkers who would have used the bridge to get over to Bell Brothers at Port Clarence, or getting over to Dorman Long from Port Clarence. And those people that had to carry their bikes over the top when the bridge wasn’t working or to save money. That ordeal of carrying your bike up 200+ steps.

Q: A heavy bike too in those days.

TW: An incredibly heavy bike in those days. It is a good event. The red wheel is alongside the Engineering Heritage Award we have from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers which is also on the side of the newly renovated Visitor Centre.

It is all about what we are trying to do, champion Teesside’s heritage. Today’s one of those events and I am sure we will have an awful lot more in the coming year with the renovation works on going at Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Q: And like the Town Hall this is a iconic structure that can be seen for miles around.

TW: Yes that is right, it is testament to the investment in the Transporter Bridge that it is still here today and it is working today. It is still something that is on people’s radar. It has not been forgotten about. It is not a relic. It is something that people readily embrace, they are very proud of it. You have these stories that when you come back to Middlesbrough you know you are home when you see the Transporter. So, yes it has an iconic and a functional role. That has really come across today with Sir William McAlpine’s visit. To be able to attract the calibre of the President of the Transport Trust, Sir William McAlpine along to celebrate our bridge is testament to how fantastic it is.

Q: And obviously the bridge will have a pivotal role in the future of the area.

TW: Absolutely, yes. It is a key part of our vision for heritage but also visitor and tourism attraction in the area. We have had the new lift installed and the visitor centre renovated. And today we saw evidence that having that lift installed can be part of key events and celebrations and really provide an alternative view of the River Tees and Teesside, a bit more broadly as well. Sir William McAlpine was able to go up in the lift and look out across the Tees and all those different views and those different landmarks and all those key parts of Teesside’s community.

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge was awarded a Transport Trust Red Wheel Award at a ceremony today (Friday 7th April)
7-4-17 Pic Doug Moody Photography

Councillor Lewis Young, Executive Member of Culture, Leisure and Sport had these words about the plaque and the bridge and Middlesbrough.

In his short speech Lewis talked about how the red wheel.. “speaks about this area, where it is from and where it is going.”

Q: It is a fantastic looking red wheel plaque. It must be a great recognition of the history and heritage of this area.

LY: Yes very much so, I think, we all know and love this bridge and we know that it has national recognition. This is an official sign that it has that national recognition and national significance as well. People talk about the Transporter Bridge across the country and across the world and it shows what kind of iconic significance it really does have.

Q: Something to be proud of?

LY: Very, very much so. We are all very proud of the bridge. We know what it means but it is about selling that story to the wider world isn’t it really. It means, yes, it is our bridge, we are proud of it, proud that we are still investing in it as well. We are proud that it still works. For most of the time. Yes, we are exceptionally proud of it. And it is about using it and using that pride to drive forward other projects and other investment. We are proud of the whole town.

Q: It is an icon for the past but does it have a role for the future?

LY: Very much so. It is a significant part of our cultural strategy, of our regeneration strategy in the Middlehaven area in particular but also in the town we have these kind of attractions and we need to use these kind of attractions to bring in people and to bring in that investment that they will potentially bring. It is about saying yes we are very proud of that cultural heritage that the Transporter Bridge symbolises but it is also about utilising it for the future of Middlesbrough and the future of the Tees Valley really.

#UKCoffeeWeek

It’s UK Coffee Week this week (10th – 16th April) and two out of your three Love Middlesbrough Lasses enjoy a crackin’ cuppa or two, so we figured what better time to share some of our favourite places in town?! At the same time we can let you know a bit more about UK Coffee Week and how (and most importantly where!) in town you can get involved.

Great coffee, good will‘. UK Coffee Week is a nationwide fundraising campaign that takes place in thousands of coffee shops across the country.  100% of donations received from UK Coffee Week will go to Project Waterfall, an initiative dedicated to bringing clean water facilities to coffee growing communities.

One of our very favourite coffee stops in town (and an independent to boot!)  Bedford Street Coffee will be donating 5p for every cup of coffee sold to Project Waterfall. You can read the full story via the Love Middlesbrough website  and follow Bedford Street Coffee on Facebook to keep an eye on more fundraising updates and special prize draws!

Love Middlesbrough Lass: Claire ❤️

Up until a few weeks ago I had two solid contenders for the best coffee in town, and then boom – a new place opens and it turns out to be the coffee of dreams! So now I have a list of three places that I insist you visit for your caffeine fix.

1.  Off the Ground
Newly opened, Off the Ground is a coffee shop with a difference as it’s also a social enterprise, re-investing money back into the community. I love the decor, the atmosphere, the staff are lovely and yep, the coffee is delicious. It’s my new favourite place to go, both for a quick stop during the work week, and it’s ideal for a weekend afternoon, sipping your coffee and watching the world go by.

2. Bedford Street Coffee
When I think of Bedford Street Coffee I think quality – there’s something in those beans that just tastes rich and gloriously decadent! Add a brownie of the day to your order and you’re basically winning at life…

3. Espresso 10
It’s an unassuming stand in the middle of the street and yet Espresso 10 has to be in my top 3. It’s cheap, has loads of different coffees to choose from and it never disappoints.  Even Mr Love Middlesbrough Lass, who takes his coffee very seriously, assures me that the double espresso is as good as any he has had in Europe (and trust me when I say that is a whole lotta European coffee that has been consumed).

Love Middlesbrough Lass: Emma ❤️

Of course Claire and I will have some mutual favourites and I have a personal bias towards Bedford Street Coffee (being amazing coffee and selling some awesome veggie food) but I think Claire covered that place amazingly, other than the fact that the staff in there are amazing and I’ve never seen them frown. So, in no particular order, here are my top three coffee shops in Middlesbrough:

1. Cupeno
This place is morning coffee heaven. I change my entire route to get this coffee on a morning when I’m in zombie mode. It’s just the right sweetness (I’m a two sugar gal and this needs nothing) and they are so nice. It’s great to have a ‘Good morning’ with your coffee. I can’t complain about the price either, great value for money, hence why this is in my top 3 and have loads of options. They also offer breakfast and are open super early so can’t complain.

2. The Olde Young Tea House
My mum introduced me to this place right before my interview for this job (I’m adamant that it’s what landed me the job) and it was the cutest, most relaxing place I have ever been in. Funnily enough, we found out what the place was actually called from the Love Middlesbrough website… what a coincidence. This is a great place for a coffee and a chat, they apparently do good tea as well but we’re not here to talk about that. It’s one of them smooth coffees that you don’t even realise you’ve drank until you hit your forehead on the rim of the mug- or is that just me?! Either way, great coffee, and of course, cake. So much cake…

3. Esquires Coffee
This is actually a chain but really doesn’t seem like it. I discovered this place in my hometown and it was one of the few places I’d visit when I was in Middlesbrough before joining the Love Middlesbrough Lasses on a daily basis. This is such a great place with good coffee and very good service. You know to expect good quality, simple coffee when you walk in this place.

We have a few honourable mentions for independents who just didn’t make our top three: Mannequin Cafe, Goodbody’s Eaterie, TP Coffee House, and Cafe Zim, all of which do good coffee and should be tried as well.

We’ve talked mainly about the independents so far, but we have to hand it to the chains; they didn’t make it this big without doing something right after all. So, we’ve mentioned Esquires, but we also have Cafe Nero and Starbucks. We’ve also decided to give an honourable mention to our colleague Matt who said Costa Coffee was the only shop he visits.

We hope you enjoy the coffee and try some new places. Hint for students and those low on cash: Mannequin Cafe is amazing and around £1.20 to take out. Emma X

We’re always up for trying new places so if there’s somewhere you think we definitely need to try, shout out in the comments below. Anyone for a cuppa now…?

Gilkes Street Art on Tour

I always count myself fortunate to work in an office surrounded by artists and their artwork. For the next month I will be sharing my good fortune with visitors to the Heritage Gallery at Cargo Fleet, as Gilkes Street Artists display their work in an exciting new exhibition.

The exhibition encompasses recent work from all of the Gilkes Street Artists, including painting, drawing, printmaking and tapestry weaving. It is a truly eclectic mix of subject matter as well as media used to express it. Yet the groups’ work sits so well together.

You are immediately struck by the giant stylised heads of John Wheeler on one wall but then drawn into the more intricate lino-cuts of Jenni Thirwell or Leanne Jackson’s detailed portraits. I could not believe Jenni’s comic poster cover was created from scraping away at lino. Unbelievably patient and skilled work.

Dot Seddon’s tapestry and the abstract shapes and colours of Emma Bennett take you on further adventures of discovery. Dianne Bowell, has had a major exhibition at the Python Gallery until the last week and so has been extremely busy painting away. I love the idea that her portraits could flash across your peripheral vision. So much movement and mood.

Dot Seddon tells me that her beautiful tapestry of a Teesside industrial icon would have taken her hundreds of hours to perfect. I love the idea that Dot performs a traditional craft to depict the industrial mass production that all but superseded the cottage industry. The value of human craft is once again much prised and sadly is the manufacturing skills that seem more under threat. The colour and texture of Dot’s work is very arresting.

Emma Bennett is very attracted to late 20th century modernist architecture but she abstracts those forms from the cold concrete into altogether different planes and colours that leap off their new natural wooden panels.

John Wheeler is no stranger to this gallery. Earlier this year he exhibited a body of work showing the evolution of his techniques in his figurative work. These recent portraits are bold, minimalist I approach but certainly not in scale.

Ray Husband’s colours bleed across his abstract landscapes. Brian Russell’s portrait of Acklam Hall depicts Middlesbrough’s only Grade 1 listed building in an image that is crying to become a jigsaw.

The Gilkes Street Artists include Emma Bennett, Dianne Bowell, Ray Husband, Leanne Jackson, Brian Russell, Dot Seddon, Jenni Thirwell (Lino Cut to the left) and John Wheeler.

The artists studio group, which set up in 2012 have studio spaces on my floor of the Brentnall Centre, Gilkes Street in Middlesbrough and regularly exhibit as a group, as well as individually and hold an open studio event every autumn.

The show will continue at Heritage Gallery until 5th May. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30pm- 5pm. Oh and you can eat while you browse the show as the bistro is open 8.30am to 3pm and is very popular for breakfasts and lunch. Big recommendation to them from me.

Cargo Fleet Offices is on Middlesbrough Road, it was the former Cargo Fleet Iron Works Offices used more latterly by Langbaurgh Council and British Steel Teesside HQ.

Heritage Gallery

More information on Gilkes Street Artists www.gilkesstreetartists.co.uk

 

Restaurant Week Returning With May Treats

A firm favourite with all those that enjoy eating out, Middlesbrough Restaurant Week returns at the start of May. So head on out and tuck in.

It is a chance to be enticed by one of the many special offers at the seventeen eateries signed up so for and maybe fall in love with a brand new venue. Middlesbrough’s food scene is better than ever, and with this year’s Restaurant Week – from Monday, May 1 to Sunday, May 7 – being the biggest yet, there has never been a better time to explore it.

From independent cafés and bar-restaurants to much-loved family favourites, Middlesbrough has a truly diverse dining offer that caters for all tastes. There will be a variety of special menus, limited edition dishes and excellent price offers in restaurants in the town centre. That all means that Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to take to the streets and prepare to sample what Middlesbrough has to offer.

The participating eateries, so far, are Al Forno, Akbars, Bedford Street Coffee, Dickens Inn, Eliano’s, Fellinis, Fork in the Road, Goodbody’s Eaterie, Holiday Inn Express, Khushi, Manjaros, Mohujos, Nosh, Pizza Hut (Middlesbrough), The Curing House, The Chairman,  The Dovecot.

So a great range, both in terms of menu and the type of venue. You might fancy the lively Bedford Street gastropub The Chairman or earlier in the day sample a different form of brew altogether at Bedford St Coffee. You can make it a  hat trick on the same street by booking a table at The Curing House.

Example of food from the smelteryThe Fork in the Road, an innovative not-for-profit restaurant that serves high end international cuisine while changing lives, is the perfect place for people who want to dine and make a difference. This venue has recently taken on the former chef of the much celebrated Michelin awarded The Star at Harome and maybe it was no coincidence went to top on TripAdvisor for the town.

Fork in the Road restaurant, Linthorpe Road Middlesbrough.
23/12/16 Pic Doug Moody Photography

There is stiff competition at the top end of dining, Al Forno has been up at the top of the charts for a decade. It is somewhere that always looks after the regulars as well as welcoming newcomers. Al Forno also sponsor the Teesside Tornado, Richard Kilty.

You could eat out every day during Middlesbrough Restaurant Week and never get bored, with cuisines ranging from Mexican and Best of British to African-Caribbean and Italian.

Flavours from around the world are on our doorstep, and there has never been a better time to try something new!

Middlesbrough is passionate about supporting local suppliers and producers, and many restaurants participating in this year’s Restaurant Week are listed on the Growing Middlesbrough directory.

Guests will be able to enjoy their meal with the knowledge that they are contributing to the local economy in more ways than one.

With a record number of offers, this year’s Restaurant Week is not to be missed!

Sharon Thomas, Middlesbrough Council’s Director of Culture and Communities, said: “The last few years have seen Middlesbrough establish a regional reputation for first class culture and leisure, and eating out plays a key role in that offer.

“Our truly cosmopolitan range of independent restaurants, cafes, bistros and micro pubs is growing all the time, and there really is something for everyone.

“Restaurant Week 2017 is an open invitation to residents and visitors to enjoy fantastic food together with some unbeatable offers.”

For more information on the restaurants and their specials, visit www.lovemiddlesbrough.co.uk/restaurantweek

For information on restaurants supporting local food, visit www.growingmiddlesbrough.org.uk

Trashterpiece – Saturday

This Saturday is the only weekend opportunity to see musician/artist, Teesside voice, and so much more besides, Kingsley Chapman’s exhibition and statement Trashterpiece at the House of Blah Blah.
trashterpiece-introWith a bar and some amazing Boro memorabilia to see as well as the artwork then what better way to spend your pre-match build up to Boro v Burnley. Oh and amongst that memorabilia are the giant heads of Ravanelli and Emerson that paraded the Wembley turf in our cup finals season 1996/97. Now I know you are going to want to see them.
To my eyes this is an amazingly impressive exhibition. Paintings dripping in gold, fake velvet and oozing decadence from every pore. It is an exhibition that points fingers, foam fingers and asks questions. What does Teesside mean? What is the future of Teesside? Can we escape our past?
You can bathe in the nostalgia buzz and reminisce about your favourite former nightclubs whilst watching the ZDS Northern Final highlights; you know the one we actually won, with Bernie’s amazing pivot and goal.

trashterpiece-boro
There are Boro and Teesside items festooning a special alter. Including a pin badge of Jet the Gladiator, no less.

trashterpieceOh and there is unique merchandise to buy, including t-shirts and tee towels.
Kingsley, as singer with the Chapman Family and then Kingsley Chapman and the Murder has never been shy in coming forward and making commentary about the local area. He is such a good and opinionated writer that he has scribed for many music and arts magazine and his opinion even courted by the NME.
trashterpiece-artThinking about, that last Christmas I commissioned Kingsley – posh way of saying, asked – to write me a piece for Fly Me To The Moon fanzine reflecting on his 2016 and the bigger picture (arty joke) for Middlesbrough and Teesside. His final piece was typically forthright and hard hitting but also very funny. It has made it onto some of the merchandise at the exhibition.

I will put his words up online later this week to give you a better sense of his viewpoint. But for now I want to promote this event on Saturday. If you don’t know the House of Blah Blah it is an amazing warehouse type venue, close to Middlesbrough Railway Station and almost under the A66 fly over. It is bang next door to Teesside Archives and opposite what was the Royal Exchange site. Once the main postal sorting office and now is an arts venue and performance space. Exchange House, Middlesbrough TS1 1DB
This event is 11-3pm this Saturday, 8th April. Get down and see the art, the Rav and Emmo heads and watch the ZDS Northern Final win v Aston Villa. Then you can head down to the Riverside for the first ever Fan Zone 12-3pm outside the North Stand. You cannot fall off for things to do pre kick off on Saturday.

trashterpiece-heads