Town history timeline display unveiled

Visitors to Middlesbrough can enjoy a whistle-stop tour of its history through a new timeline hoarding unveiled around the Town Hall.The Town Hall recently celebrated its 128 year anniversary since officially opening (23rd January 1889) and now residents can discover more about the history of the venue and the town.

The hoardings have been erected as part of the Middlesbrough Town Hall Refurbishment and Restoration Project. The ‘My Town Hall’ hoardings stand at 2.3 metres tall and 29.5 metres long and tell the story of modern Middlesbrough’s expansion from a small hamlet in 1801 through to the refurbishment works of the Town Hall.

The temporary display forms part of the perimeter of the contractor site on the corner of Albert Road and Corporation Road whilst renovation work is ongoing at the Grade II* Listed venue.

The hoardings have been developed by project staff and Town Hall volunteers and chart historical events in the town and venue’s history including the story of rapid Victorian expansion, iron manufacturing, opening of the Transporter Bridge and David Bowie’s performance as Ziggy Stardust at Middlesbrough Town Hall 1972.

town-hall-trail-time-lineThe timeline also features artist impressions of the completed works alongside reproductions of unique historic plans, photographs and newspaper snippets from the collections of Middlesbrough Libraries, Teesside Archives and The Gazette.

Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We hope the hoardings whet the appetite of passers-by for the Town Hall restoration project which is now underway. They present a whistle-stop through the ages tour of where Middlesbrough has come from and ends with the question ‘What’s Next?’.

“The town is undoubtedly enjoying a huge upturn with new cultural, retail and leisure opportunities arriving all the time and the Town Hall when it reopens, restored to its former glory, will be the jewel in the crown of a hugely re-energised Middlesbrough centre so that is just one answer to the question.”

my-town-hallTosh Warwick, Middlesbrough Council’s Heritage Development Officer, said:  “The new hoardings capture key moments in both the story of Middlesbrough and the Town Hall spanning over two centuries and highlight the important part the venue has played in the history of the area.

“We have already had very positive feedback on the timeline and hope it generates further interest in Middlesbrough’s heritage, the history of the Town Hall and the fantastic renovation of one of the region’s leading landmarks.”

I chatted with Tosh about the illuminating time trail on the hoardings.

Q: Tosh tell me about the new town timeline outside the Town Hall.

T: The new timeline is there to celebrate key points in the town’s history. It has been produced as part of the Heriage Lottery Fund Town Hall Refurbishment project. It is going to be there during the course of the renovation work which is currently ongoing.

Q: It is very attention grabbing. I notice people are stopping to look as they walk past.

T: Yes it is very exciting. We have had the volunteers that work on the project, the project staff and I did a lot of the history research on it. It is great when you see kids walking by having a look at it and their parents pointing it out. Even people having a bit of a glimpse when they are stopping at the traffic lights. It is good and it is a way of celebrating not just the Town Hall’s history but the wider history of the Boro/borough.

Q: It starts at the beginning of modern Middlesbrough as Port Darlington and then we see the present Town Hall being built 50 years on. So I guess it puts the building in context.

T: We are aware that Middlesbrough dates back further than that but it is there to capture the modern Middlesbrough that led to the building of the Town Hall, the churches, the Transporter, Dorman Museum and the main library, just over the road.

So we have tried to capture that a bit more and show how the Town Hall reflects the wider heritage of the town. We have included things such as the opening of the Transporter Bridge and how they had the celebration at the Town Hall. How they had celebrations for other landmark events such as the end of the War and announcing of the Armistice at the Town Hall. So, how the Town Hall is part of the wider story of Middlesbrough.

We have also got information of where the town and Town Hall has been in the national spotlight as well. So I managed to get my reference to David Bowie in there, the Ziggy Stardust tour.

Q: There are two different sides to the Town Hall, as well as council offices most people will know the other side, going for gigs, such as Bowie, comedy and classical concerts.

town-hall-trail-rob-tosh-lizT: As far as I am aware my first time in the Town Hall was either my graduation from Teesside Uni or I went to see Morrissey a few years ago. Yes it is venue but it is also part of the wider town so it has got multiple uses and I hope the time-line captures that.

Q: You touched upon the War and there is a map on the time-line with an X marks the spot. Could you tell us about that.

T: There was a bomb dropped. The people at Teesside Archives have given us the Air Raid plan no, 4 and it shows where the bombs were dropped. So the night the Transporter Bridge was bombed during 1940 there was also a bomb dropped at the gas works, roughly where the new Transporter Park is now. But also on the corner near the town hall of Corporation Road/Albert Road, opposite where Hintons would have been. The bomb caused a bit of damage. I think it captures how the Town Hall was part of the wider story. Stuff like that is interesting and it is perhaps stuff that people don’t know.

Yes we have tied into information from Middlesbrough Reference Library collections. The Gazette as well has been very supportive. It is trying to showcase some of the historical parts of the town and some of the heritage resources and materials that we have that perhaps we don’t get out there as much as we might do.

Q: I love that illustration of Locomotion no.1 steaming past the early port. That takes us right back to Stockton and Darlington railway and I imagine a lot of people won’t know about the significance of that first railway to Middlesbrough’s founding. Locomotion no.1 is steaming past Middlesbrough farm house with the original Eston Nab (Napoleonic Signal Station) in the background. It is an incredibly evocative illustration is it not?

T: It shows the place before the iron and steel came in. The sketch dates from when Middlesbrough was a coal export town rather than this booming iron and steel town. It shows the Tees and the coal staithes and the farm house. People are perhaps not familiar with those images.

I have also managed to put a plan in of the old Town Hall and the grid plan of the original Middlesbrough. It all ties in to the story of why we have the Town Hall we have today.

Q: Of course this all leads to the future of the Town Hall and there are panels showing the new developments from the HLF project. It looks as if there will be more of the Town Hall opened up to more of the public.

town-hall-trail-mine-1T: On the hoardings we state ‘Find out more about the Town Hall’s history’ but we also ask the question what’s next? We have some of the computer generated images of how we expect the Town Hall will look once we have finished the work.

It is going to be fantastic. The old police cells will be opened up so people can learn about the criminal aspect of the Town Hall. The old court room where people were tried, it was later a refectory. That is going to be renovated so kids can go in there and learn about law and order in Middlesbrough and visitors too and even TV crews will be able to use it. It is brilliant. That is a fantastic resource for the town.

We are also doing some work on the main hall itself and making it a much more attractive, visitor friendly, venue. Making it a real hub for not only the town but also the region. It will be really exciting and in doing so as well we will get people interested in the area’s heritage and the stories and links to the Town Hall. Maybe people will even discover their links to the Town Hall that they weren’t aware of. So it is exciting.

Q: I believe that part of the project is to collect people’s memories. So people might have been to that Bowie/Ziggy gig or 1988 when we had the victory parade and reception for Bruce Rioch’s top flight promotion team.

T: You might have been standing in the crowd when Bruce Rioch came out onto the Town Hall steps with two arms aloft with the lads that had got us promoted.

Q: In their blazers.

T: Yes, in their Boro blazers. You might have been there for Ziggy, or for Oasis or Stone Roses, all of which are referenced on the hoardings. So it is about getting those memories. The My Town Hall strand of the project is trying to capture those memories, the photos, even the ticket stubs. Any of the ephemera people might still retain. We would love to hear from people at townhallvolunteers@middlesbrough.gov.uk

And we also have the Middlesbrough Town Hall facebook, instagram and twitter accounts too.

But it is all about bringing the Town Hall back into the community rather than it just being a building that sits in the centre of the town open occasionally for concerts. It is about making it a venue that people relate to on a daily basis and feel a sense of ownership and place.

Q: As you say daily. It will have been far more a night time venue.

T: We do open for education sessions already and we have been doing this for years daytime as we have things like Classical Cafe, we have tea dances and all kinds of events but perhaps not as high profile as what we are doing now. We are going to make it an education destination for example. We will have provision where the kids can learn about and read about and engage with digital and interactive interpretation about the story of the town and the Town Hall.

There will be similarities with what we did at the Transporter Bridge even dating back to 2000 and the more recent works. Rather than being just a functional venue or crossing in the case of the Transporter we have made it a Visitor Centre, a Visitor Experience. We are making it a place where you can actually do something and it can serve multiple functions and that will be across generations and not just for people from Middlesbrough but anyone. Which is great. END

town-hall-trail-whats-nextThe Middlesbrough Town Hall Refurbishment and Restoration Project is supported by a £3.7m Heritage Lottery Fund award, a further £3.6m from Middlesbrough Council and £500,000 awarded by Arts Council England (ACE).

Once complete it will result in the Town Hall being restore the iconic Grade II* listed building back to its full 19th Century glory.

It will see parts of the building, currently inaccessible to the public, being opened up, including the Victorian courtroom, cells and fire station which would be made into heritage attractions in their own right.

The plans also include the restoration of the carriage driveway with original glass roof which will become the main box office and circulation area, an external lighting scheme, the development of new café and bar facilities, and a new community space.

town-hall-trail-lewisFurther information on Middlesbrough Town Hall, including details on ways to get involved in the project, can be found at www.mytownhall.co.uk, on the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/MiddlesbroughTownHall, Twitter @mbro_townhall and Instagram at www.instagram.com/middlesbrough_townhall/

Middlesbrough Launches Alcohol Free Bar Zero

Teesside’s only dry bar was launched last week with a feast of entertainment, and food, all washed down with refreshments in the bar that were completely alcohol free. Thornaby’s own Cattle and Cane, TV magician Pete Firman and comedian Fran Garrity put on entertainment fit for the launch of a truly landmark building.

bar-zeroBar Zero is the upstairs of what was once Romer Parrish toy store, at one time the second biggest toy shop in the whole country. Now people gather for refreshments, food and entertainment in comfortable, attractive and modern surroundings. On the walls there is artwork depicting movie and music legends, with the dates they turned their back on the booze and the achievements that have followed what was to them a major, positive life changing step.

This is all about helping and encouraging those taking the brave step away from alcohol and providing an environment that is vibrant, stimulating and not shut away in a dusty church hall but right bang in the middle of town. Looking out of the picture windows and we are above Linthorpe Road and bang opposite buzz street of the moment, Baker Street. Bar Zero could not be in a more happening position in Teesside.

bar-zero-windowsBar Zero is part of a charity-run, not-for-profit social enterprise that has already seen the successful launch of The Fork in the Road restaurant, downstairs. The bar serves food, soft drinks, tea and coffee but no alcohol.

It is part of a wider programme to help people in the town with drink problems by giving them a place to meet and support each other, as well as welcoming anyone who just fancies a night away from the booze.

Bar Zero will also create volunteering, training and job opportunities for those in recovery who want to get into the catering industry.

Band Cattle and Cane readily agreed to perform at Bar Zero’s opening night, for which tickets are free, with singer Helen Hammill saying: “We feel privileged to be part of this initiative. There’s nothing like it in the area.

“Teesside is full of places selling alcohol so it’s amazing that there’ll now be a place people can go without that temptation.”

bar-zero-cn-cCattle and Cane played a short acoustic set featuring songs from the eagerly awaited second album that will be released this year. Songs included the bouncy pop single 7 Hours.

Great to see Pete Firman in action, lots of clever card tricks, sleight of hand and witty ripostes from the comedian/magician who starred on Saturday night prime time tv The Magicians.

Local comic Fran Garrity was appearing in a show at Westgarth Social Club the very next night. So, he like Pete Firman and Cattle and Cane could well be hot property this year and in the future.

The great thing about being above Fork in the Road is the bar can share the restaurant kitchen. And the food winging its way up the dumb waiter was gorgeous. The restaurant is designed to help fund Bar Zero, which will be open at weekends initially.

Bar Zero is being funded by Middlesbrough-based national charity CEO Sleepout, working in partnership with local charity Recovery Connections and Public Health England.

The three organisations also joined forces to launch The Fork in the Road, which is providing restaurant jobs to ex-offenders, recovering addicts and the long-term unemployed.

bar-zero-launch-1Businessman and charity leader Andy Preston, who chairs CEO Sleepout, is confident Bar Zero will play an important role in Teesside’s recovery scene.

He said: “Bar Zero will offer those who do not want to drink alcohol a safe and welcoming environment to meet people and mix with friends.

“We led the Public Health England capital bid and CEO Sleepout has heavily invested in The Fork in the Road, with a view to the profits from the restaurant supporting the ongoing future of Bar Zero.

“What we hope is that this can help change lives by bringing people together, which can be motivational, inspirational and develop a sense of identity.”

The bar can also be hired for private functions and community events, while Andy plans to launch cinema nights where guests can enjoy blockbuster classics on a 15 foot screen from the comfort of a reclining armchair.

The final part of the project will be the launch in the near future of a community café to provide a stepping stone for workers in recovery from alcohol and other addictions but who are not ready to work in an environment where alcohol is served.

CEO Sleepout inspires business leaders to raise funds by being sponsored to sleep in the open for a night, with at least 15% of all funds returning to fund projects such as The Fork in the Road on Teesside.

bar-zero-cnc1Under Andy’s guidance as its founder-chairman, CEO Sleepout has now raised more than £1 million for funds supporting those affected by homelessness and addiction.

More than 1,000 businesspeople, politicians and clergy have given up their beds to sleep out in landmark locations such as Wembley, Lord’s and The Oval in London, Newcastle’s St James’ Park, Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground and both the Riverside Stadium and Preston Park Museum here on Teesside.

There were plenty of TV cameras circling the launch. I believe the back of my head made it onto Look North. So fame at last. But hopefully Bar Zero will be a famous success in helping change lives and lifetstyles in Middlesbrough and Teesside.

with thanks to Dave Allan

Memories of Middlesbrough Exhibition at The Python Gallery

The Python Gallery in Middlehaven hosted the launch of the new ‘Memories of Middlesbrough’ Exhibition on Saturday 21st January, showcasing photographs of the town from bygone days and bringing memories flooding back for dozens of visitors. Founded in 2012, the popular Facebook group has tens of thousands of members, has already exhibited at the Dorman Museum and even produced its own calendars. Dr Tosh Warwick, Middlesbrough Council’s Heritage Development Officer attended the event to encourage visitors to share memories of Middlesbrough Town Hall as part of the #MyTownHall HLF project and also caught up with Memories of Middlesbrough founder Sue Martin to find out more about the group and exhibition.

My Town Hall memory packs at Memories of Middlesbrough exhibition at the Python Gallery

Approaching The Python Gallery, visitors are met with a combination of Middlesbrough past, present and future. The venue is surrounded by iconic buildings dating back to the days of the ‘ Ironopolis’ . A stone’ s throw away from the Gallery, housed in Royal Middlehaven House, is Middlesbrough’ s first (Old) Town Hall, dating back to 1846. Other illustrious neighbours include the former offices of the town’ s early founders at Queen’ s Terrace, Henry Bolckow and John Vaughan’ s former Cleveland Buildings residence (Plenary), and the adjacent Cleveland Club (Gibson House, Boho Four), all recently refurbished and adorned with newly-installed blue heritage plaques produced as part of the HLF-supported Tees Transporter Bridge Trail. Looking to the north east towards the recently renovated Tees Transporter Bridge, there are further signs of regeneration in the form of the new Transporter Park opened in 2016.Inside the venue, the TP Coffee House and Café caters for the local businesses, tourists and visitors to the various exhibitions held in the gallery.

The ‘ Memories of Middlesbrough’ Exhibition brings together work showcasing some of the stand out images which have featured on the popular Facebook group. The growth of the Memories of Middlesbrough’ s page and group, founded in 2012, has been phenomenal.In less than five years the group boasts some 30,000 ‘ likes’ and members, an expansion outpacing even the famously rapid growth of the Victorian‘ boom town’ on which its content is focused. Members includes thousands still living in and around the town, but also those no longer based in Middlesbrough scattered across the globe as far afield as Australia, South Africa and U.S.A.

It is clear the exhibition and group is about more than just old photos of the town, with Sue explaining her inspiration for Memories of Middlesbrough was her own love of the old buildings, her own photos of the buildings that were still in the town, and a realisation of some of those that no longer exist. There is a sense of a community coming together to reminisce, share and showcase their memories of the town in bygone years, with the founder eager to point out that the Exhibition is the result of contributions from members of the Facebook group.

Transporter Bridge

The ‘ Memories of Middlesbrough’ Exhibition reflects the wide-ranging interests of the group, spanning instantly recognisable landmarks including the Transporter Bridge, the Old Town Hall (featured in Sue’ s favourite image in the Gallery) and Middlesbrough Town Hall, to those lesser known parts of Middlesbrough’ s past. Middlesbrough Library, Lowcocks lemonade, the Dolls Hospital, Dorman Museum, children playing on an abandoned car in Cannon Street and the cannon in Albert Park all sit alongside each other to provide fascinating snapshots of Middlesbrough’ s heritage. The images prompt memories and exchanges amongst those in the gallery, just as the online platform has done so successfully.Visitors share coffee with new acquaintances and friends made as a result of membership of the group.

There are hopes for further Memories of Middlesbrough developments to “keep people enjoying it” and following on from the their stint at The Python Gallery (21st to 28th January), the photos will be added to an existing display at the Dorman Museum which will continue up to Easter.

Sue Martin can be heard in discussion with Tosh Warwick at the launch of the ‘ Memories of Middlesbrough’ Exhibition.

Listen as Sue Martin introduces herself and explains what Memories of Middlesbrough is all about:

 

Listen as Sue Martin discusses the exhibition and the motivation behind Memories of Middlesbrough:

 

More information on the Middlesbrough Town Hall ‘ My Town Hall’ project can be found at www.mytownhall.co.uk or by contacting townhallvolunteers@middlesbrough.gov.uk

By Tosh Warwick

Community Clean Ups

One Planet Pioneers are launching ‘Community Action Days’ this month. One Planet Pioneers are looking to work with communities across Middlesbrough to help them improve their neighbourhood. Whether it’s a simple litter pick or a community garden make over, no task will be too small.

New for 2017 Community Action Days are to be held on the last Friday of each month between 10am -3pm. The first ‘Community Action Day’ will take place on Friday 27th January 2017, working in partnership with River Tees Rediscovered they are looking for young people along with their friends and family to come along and help improve a section of Ormesby Beck along Teesdale Way.

Anyone that is interested is asked to meet at the Navigation Inn car park, Marsh Road at 10am. That is a location that will be familiar to many Boro fans as the pub is quite close to the Riverside Stadium. During the day volunteers will be clearing litter and vegetation, improving the beck to ensure clear water movement.

Nicky Morgan, One Planet Pioneers Officer contacted us about the action days and we thought we would like to know a little bit more about both the Community Action Days and One Planet Pioneers. So we fired off a few questions in Nicky’s direction. You can read the short Q and A below.

Q: Could you give me just a few words about who One Planet Pioneers are-

Nicky: ‘One Planet Pioneers is a 5 yr project aimed at 14-21 year olds who live in Middlesbrough; locally we are working in partnership with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and Actes. Nationally we are one of 31 other Our Bright Future Programs coordinated by Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and Funded via Big Lottery

One Planet Pioneers are a combination of volunteers and apprentices who are developing and broadening their skills and gain occupational knowledge while carrying out conservation, sustainability, environmental and horticultural activities.

Along with the occupational skill our young people are engaging with other members of the wider community and developing many soft skills including communication skill, teamwork and discovering their place in the world.

 Q: What is your role in Middlesbrough?

Nicky: ‘OPP is all about improving the life chances of all young people who live in Middlesbrough, we want to work with young people from across the whole community from TS1 to TS8. We are here to help young people gain the skills and build confidence needed to move in to education or employment’

Q: The action day will improve the look of the environment visually but will it also help the Beck flow better as well as improving the wildlife habitat?

Nicky:  ‘Yes, we will be litter picking, removing any obstructions to water flow as long as safe to do so, along with cutting back/managing any overgrown vegetation’

Q: So would you say that you are providing tools, expertise and organisation to allow communities to maintain and improve their own neighborhood? 

Nicky: I and Casper Scallen from Middlesbrough Environment City will be on hand to provide Environmental, Horticultural and cleansing guidance, Christine Corbett (River Tees Rediscovered) will be on hand to offer guidance and information on Middlesbrough Becks and the importance of Ormesby Beck to Our great River Tees

All tools and gloves will be provided by OPP, Middlesbrough Council are supplying litter picker and rubbish bags, along with collecting all spoil/debris at the end of the day.

Anyone that wants to come along and help is advised to wear warm outdoor clothing and sturdy waterproof boots/shoe.

Q: How should community groups make contact to inquire about Action Days?

Nicky: Nicky Morgan or Casper Scallen – Telephone 01642 579839/579832  Mobile 07722746489

Email    nicky.morgan@menvcity.org.uk

Casper.scallen@menvcity.org.uk

There has been a great deal of adverse publicity recently about fly-tipping, especially a horrific episode along the Middlesbrough bank of the Tees. These thoughtless actions can ruin the environment for everyone. It is great to know that there is a positive force for change out there giving communities the tools to clean up their own back yards.

one-planet

374 years ago today….(16 January 1643)

…at the Battle of Guisborough a small force of Parliamentarians under Sir Hugh Cholmley of Scarborough and Whitby, following a march over the North York Moors from Malton, defeated the Royalist forces of Hemlington-based Guilford Slingsby.

Nearly 1000 men slogged it out in the fields, hedgerows and ditches to the south of the town with the Royalists eventually being overcome and losing a potential escort force for their arms convoys from Newcastle to York.

In the battle Slingsby was mortally wounded, having to have both his legs amputated and he died in Guisborough three days later.  His body was removed by his mother to York and he was buried in York Minster.

Following their success Cholmley sent a small force which would have taken the main route from Guisborough via Marton to Yarm, where, on 1 February they were defeated trying to hold the bridge against a much larger force escorting arms to York.

 See: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4794567

Author: Phil Philo, Senior Curator Middlesbrough Museums