My last post about old views of Middlesbrough went so well that I decided to do a follow-up post – plus it’s Local History Month so really, what better time?

Transporter Bridge

No, your eyes don’t deceive you – that really is our beloved bridge, and it really is red! Because our lovely residents have the best local knowledge, I reached out on Facebook for some help with an explanation, and Paul Tidy, who works at the Bridge, responded to my call via Memories of Middlesbrough. He said: ‘It was originally red, as in ‘Red Lead Paint’ which was used on most structures as it was more rust resistant. In around the 1930’s it was changed to ‘Corporation Green’ where it seems every bit of metal work Middlesbrough Corporation owned, was painted green! In the 1980’s, the bridge became illuminated, but the green wasn’t a good colour. Some clever colour scientist decided that this shade of blue was the best, and it’s been that ever since.’

So now you know! Thanks Paul!

Newport Bridge

I feel like sometimes our other bridge could do with a bit more love, so here’s the Newport Bridge (or Tees Bridge, as it’s apparently known!) in its elevated state. Sadly I’m far too young to remember the days when this happened on the regular, which is a real shame because it looks awesome! (Also, if you’re interested, My Town My Future has an awesome photo of the final lift of the Newport Bridge)

The bridge itself was built by Dorman Long and opened in 1934. According to Historic England, it was ‘the first vertical-lift bridge in England and the heaviest of its type in the world’.

Kirby Schools

When I found this postcard, I immediately had to have it! Growing up in Linthorpe, Kirby College, as it was known to me then, was a familiar feature of the local landscape, and it makes me super happy that it’s still standing today.

I’m reliably informed by the internet that the building was originally called Kirby Grammar School, which was an all girls grammar school, and was founded in 1910, with the benefaction of Alderman Kirby.

Seaman’s Institute

I had to do some digging for this one (not literally, although I always fancied being on Time Team and doing archaeology!), as I didn’t know much about the building. It was apparently in Queens Square or Queens Street, depending on which online source you look at (I used Forebears and the Internet Archive). Queens Terrace, which still stands today, offered accommodation for 42 sailors. But back to the institute…

St. Nicholas’ seamen’s Church and Institute, in Queens square, erected in 1856 as a Congregational chapel, is an edifice of red brick with stone dressings, and will hold 700 persons. In 1897 a new wing, comprising officers’, apprentices’ and committee rooms, coffee bar &c. was erected … (information via Forebears)

According to their official websiteThe Mission to Seamen was established in 1856, so as a town with a very busy dock, it’s no surprise that Middlesbrough’s institute began around that time.

Categories: History and Heritage


Favourite things are the Dorman Museum, history, and photography, and blog posts usually contain at least one of them!