Tom Dresser VC statue unveiled

The newest statue to a local Victoria Cross (VC) winner has been unveiled outside the Dorman Museum.  The statue was commissioned to mark 100 years since Private Tom Dresser was awarded a VC for his heroic actions in a battlefield in France, and was created by sculptor Brian Alabaster, who also created the amazing Stanley Hollis VC statue which stands opposite the Dorman Museum.

Tom Dresser was born in Yorkshire, around the beginning of the 1890s.  There are conflicting accounts of where, specifically, he was born, and in which year – it varies between 1891 and 1892.  According to the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, which claims to have a copy of Dresser’s birth certificate, he was born near Easingwold on 9th April 1891, so hopefully this is a reliable record!

We do know that Tom was educated at Hugh Bell school here in Middlesbrough. He worked for Dorman Long, both before and after the war, before taking over his father’s newsagents, which stood at 65 Marton Road.  Many older residents of Middlesbrough still remember him, and the fact that he kept his VC in a tobacco tin behind the counter!

Tom Dresser’s VC was awarded for his actions on a battlefield near Roeux, France, on 12 May 1917, when he was aged just 24 years old and a Private with the 7th Yorkshire Howards Regiment.

His official VC citation gives more information:

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Private Dresser, in spite of being twice wounded on the way, and suffering great pain, succeeded in conveying an important message from Battalion Headquarters to the front line of trenches, which he eventually reached in an exhausted condition. His fearlessness and determination to deliver this message at any cost, proved of the greatest value to his Battalion at a critical period.

Private Dresser was presented with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 21st July 1917.

A fun fact for you: Tom Dresser VC is distantly related to Christopher Dresser, the visionary Victorian designer, to whom a fantastic (and extensive) gallery in the Dorman Museum is dedicated.

Credits
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Why Cattle and Cane are Dancing for Joy on Cleveland Hills

There was some good news in a grim week for Teesside when leading local band Cattle and Cane’s second album, Mirrors, broke into the midweek charts. The band celebrated with a “secret gig” at Hit The Bar in Middlesbrough.

Mirrors made no. 53 in the national charts, no mean feat for an unsigned band. Sales at venues on the band’s current UK tour do not count towards chart positions, so it has all been achieved through genuine sales.

The follow up to the band’s popular long playing debut Home was launched at an In Store event at world renowned Stockton vinyl store, Sound It Out Records. Siblings Joe, Helen and Fran Hammill performed  acoustically between the record racks for a shop full of fans.

I caught them last week on the north eastern leg of the UK tour at the wonderful Sage music venue in Gateshead. As it happens I was in good company as it appeared a very high percentage of the audience were Teessiders on an away day. There were more than a few familiar faces, like retiring Boro FC Academy Director, Dave Parnaby as well as former band members James and Vin Hammill.

The band were on top form and revelled in both the superb acoustics offered by the venue and the very welcome respectful silence from the audience. This allowed the Thornaby band the luxury of being able to play more sensitive songs in the encore. It has to be one of the very best shows I’ve ever seen the band stand and deliver.

We need a big push now to keep Mirrors in the charts announced at the weekend. So, with that object in mind here is a quick interview with singer Joe Hammill, which he completed in his gig dressing room mid tour in Manchester.

Q: The second album is notoriously difficult but you seemed to have been playing songs from Mirrors before you had even released Home.

Joe: The second album wasn’t quite as difficult as it could’ve been. We had a lot of the songs already written for a while and had road tested quite a few of them.

Q: You have come a long way in recent years. There have been line up changes. And does Fran prefer sitting down in his more mature years?

Joe: Yeah the line up has changed but the core of me, Tom Helen and Fran is still there. I think with the band we are okay to have a fluid approach to interchanging/having guest members.

With each album we write and produce the sounds will change and working with other musicians is a very positive thing. Fran is thrilled to be sat down these days! What a doddle! He’s the elder statesman of the band and it’s only right he has a chair.

Mirrors sees Cattle and Cane’s sound pushing out in different directions. There is a lot of innovative production including unusual vocal harmonies and rhythms.

Q: You have been exploring a lot of different aspects of music. There are a lot of different directions and influences on Mirrors. You have also spread song writing duties and working with others too – do enjoy this process?

Joe: We’ve definitely experimented with different sounds on this album. That’s a lot to do with Luuk the producer, whose background is electronic/dance. We totally embraced that. I love co-writing – so I’ve been writing with lots of people recently. Lucy Spraggan, Alice on the Roof, Norma Jean Martine, Sivu.

Q: There is a lot of interesting, exciting production also with unusual vocal harmonies and rhythms etc do you enjoy exploring new roads. Would you describe your sound as having gravitated more from folk to pop?

Joe: I guess our sound on this record is more pop than folk I guess the songs for this album lend themselves to a more pop sound.

You are obviously still influenced by folk and your roots. People may not be aware that Joe you won a Graeme Miles Bursary a couple of years ago, awarded as part of the legacy of the great, late Teesside song writer. The wonderful Tonight We Dance on Cleveland Hills seems to spring from this tradition. Your Teesside roots are obviously still important to your music.

Q: You achieve so much as an unsigned band but does this give you an advantage of being closer to your audience with fan pledges of money for albums etc?

Joe: In terms of being unsigned we’re quite content doing everything ourselves. We have a fan base that sustain us by coming to gigs and buying our music.

Q: How delighted are you to have charted with the album? Maybe you will all have to follow Helen now that your music is being played on Made in Essex and Chelsea.

Joe: I’m delighted that we’ve made the charts. It’s all down to the people who have pledged and supported months before the album was released! I was so chuffed when we found out yesterday!

Q: What is next? A Boro promotion song?

Joe: If Boro come straight back up we’ll write a song!

Photos top by Tracy Hyman – Sound It Out Records, Stockton.

Bottom from Louise Wilkin at Hit The Bar, Middlesbrough

How to buy Mirrors

PledgeMusic: http://po.st/PledgeMirrors
iTunes: http://po.st/iTunesMirrors
hmv: http://po.st/HMVMirrors
Google Play: http://po.st/GoogleMirrors
Amazon: http://po.st/AmazonMirrorsCD

Or in store at Sound It Out Records in Stockton or nationwide at your local hmv.

 

 

 

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All Aboard the Magical History Bus

There are still a few places available to hop aboard the magical History Tour.
It departs from outside Dorman Museum tomorrow morning at 10 am and from then on is guided by historian Martin Peagam and the 500 Group experts around a brand new route to see the history, the mystery and the up and coming in Middlesbrough.
Run as part of Middlesbrough Local History Month this is always a sell out part of October’s Discover Middlesbrough festival. This time the 500 group have kindly made available their vintage Bristol VRT RDC106R a former Transit double decker for our Spring history festival. We won’t need the heating switched on!
Sadly the bus is not wheelchair accessible and children must be accompanied.
So if you fancy exploring the history of Middlesbrough then hop on board the vintage bus.
The tour runs tomorrow, Saturday 6th May at 10am-4.30pm
Booking by calling 01642 81 51 81
£2 admin fee

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It’s Middlesbrough Restaurant Week

The first week in May means it is time for the annual Middlesbrough Restaurant Week, starting today on May Day Holiday.

Year on year Middlesbrough’s food scene gets better and better and that means that this year there is more choice and variety than ever before.

This is the fourth annual Middlesbrough Restaurant Week and can be no doubt that there are more people enjoying eating out and there are far more venues out there. That has to be a very healthy sign for a town that is starting to establish itself as a foodie destination.

From independent cafés, bar-restaurants to much-loved family favourites and even high end restaurants, there has to be something for everyone in this year’s list. This is an open invitation to explore from Monday, May 1 to Sunday, May 7.

In total there are twenty outlets offering special menus, limited edition dishes and fantastic prices in restaurants across the town centre. Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to try somewhere new and sample more of what Middlesbrough has to offer.

I am looking down the list and thinking of where I have and where I haven’t been to eat. I reckon I will be needing to be cutting a couple of new notches in my belt by the time the week has finished. Then again there are some healthy eating options amongst those participating.

Oh an please note that 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. So guests will be able to enjoy their meal with the knowledge that they are contributing to the local economy in more ways than one.

Here is the full list – click for offer details.

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

Photos Tracy Hyman

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Middlesbrough Station Pop Up Shopping

If you go down to Middlesbrough Railway Station over the next couple of days you will see shops popping up all around you.

The next Middlesbrough Railway Station Pop Up Shops will be held this Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April from 10am until 4pm and the following lovely Traders will be present:

Tony and Cally from Black Heart Soap Creations
Brian from Victoria Jackson Renovated Furniture
Kirsty from Bookshop on the Wall
Angie from Fancy That
Emma from Emma’s Enchanted Crafts – SATURDAY ONLY
Nicola from Nicola’s Cake Corner
Wendy from Wendy’s Cards and Gifts
Julie from Hannah’s Sweets
Sharon and Ashley from Ashley’s Craft Designs – FRIDAY ONLY
Scoobie and Drama from Twisted Wood Creations
Claire from Super Geek Stuff – FRIDAY ONLY
Ali from Independent Phoenix Trader – SATURDAY ONLY
Angie from Mrs Bow-Jangles – SATURDAY ONLY
Jackie from Dog House Designs – SATURDAY ONLY

Please come and have a stroll around the Pop Up Shops where the stalls have been carefully selected for their quality and uniqueness, chat to the friendly stallholders who offer a diverse shopping experience showcasing handcrafted gifts including alternative soap bars, luxury whipped cream soap in a tin, bath delights (bath bombs), cushions, quillows, bunting, renovated furniture, preloved gifts, artwork, superhero and super geek gifts, silver and beaded jewellery, watches, purses, key rings, children’s books, knitted baby clothes, children’s handmade ribbons, bows and headbands, cards for all occasions, quirky frames and plaques, signs and wall hangings from recycled wood, delicious homemade cakes, sweets and so much more…..…..…..

Pop Up Shops are held the 3rd Friday and Saturday of every month and the event was the idea of Dave Mitchell Middlesbrough Railway Station Team Leader.

The Pop Up Shops are made up of 12 local independent traders with the aim of having a diverse range of items for perusal. It is a fabulous opportunity for both passengers and visitors to buy from local businesses from within the Station Concourse.

The dates for the remainder of the year are as follows: Middlesbrough Railway Station Pop Up Shops 10am – 4pm Friday April 21st Saturday April 22nd Friday May 19th Saturday May 20th Friday June 16th Saturday June 17th Friday July 21st Saturday July 22nd Friday August 18th Saturday August 19th Friday September 15th Saturday September 16th Friday October 20th Saturday October 21st Friday November 17th Saturday November 18th Friday December 15th Saturday December 16th.

‘Remember when you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.’

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