#tbt: Acklam Hall Tour – Local History Month 2014

As we’re making plans for our beautiful new blog, we thought we’d throw back to some of our favourite posts from the past… ❤️

On Sunday May 4th, Acklam Hall in Middlesbrough threw open its doors to the public as part of Local History Month 2014. Modest expectations for the visitor numbers were spectacularly shattered when over 1000 people arrived to view the 17th Century building which for generations was the home of the eminent Hustler family, passing down through the generations in one of the longest periods of continuous ownership in history.

The building, which was sold to Middlesbrough Council in 1928 and has since offered its awe-inspiring surroundings for use as various schools and colleges, still retains all of its beautiful period features, including an ornately carved pine staircase. The building is Grade 1 listed – only 2.5% of all listed buildings can claim this status, and puts Acklam Hall in an enviable position alongside Westminster Abbey and York Minster.

Perhaps unusually for a tour, a large amount of time was spent looking up, rather than around, as some of the most spectacular features of the building were the beautiful ceilings.

Acklam Hall Ceiling

Another of the features which gives Acklam Hall its Grade I status (as well as the staircase), is the magnificent ceiling above the staircase.

Acklam Hall Ceiling

The ceiling bears the date 1683 and is another of the original features of the house. During the Victorian era, when another floor was added to house servants’ quarters, the entire ceiling was lifted from its original position to make way for the building work, before being installed in its new position, a floor higher, where it hangs to this day, supported by unseen hessian straps.

Acklam Hall Ceiling

At this time, the staircase was also extended to serve the new floor, and it is possible to see subtle differences between the two parts of the staircase, including that the posts (or balusters) are only a single twist in the newer part, as opposed to the higher quality double twists in the original part.

Acklam Hall Staircase (original)

With the project to restore the hall having just begun, it is reassuring to know that this jewel of Middlesbrough’s history, which bore witness not only to a family’s history, but also the growing up of Middlesbrough during the Victorian era, will be preserved for future generations to appreciate.

Acklam Hall Stairs

Top 5 books from people in the know!

‘Tell us your Top 5 books’, the Love Middlesbrough Lasses asked. How hard could it be? Very hard, as it turns out…

Ha! We do love a good challenge, so we decided to ask Middlesbrough library staff and librarians what their favourite books are as part of our brilliant #BoroReads project this summer. They’ve come back with some great titles if you’re looking for some reading inspiration. As you can imagine from people who love books, it’s a long post so grab yourself a cuppa and a sweet treat before you start … over to you, lovely library peeps! 

favourite books

Ruth
As a librarian I read an awful lot of books and choosing five favourites took me a while! Here they are in no particular order:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery
As I child I loved reading about Anne’s adventures on Prince Edward Island where she’s adopted by a brother and sister and discovers what it means to be part of a family. She gets into scrapes such as dying her hair green and selling the neighbour’s cow by mistake but charms everyone she meets with her kindness, humour and imagination. Written in 1908 it continues to enchant and I recently read it with my daughter who loved it too.

The Power by Naomi Alderman
The winner of the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. This is a book I’ve been recommending to anyone who’ll listen. Set in the near future teenage girls suddenly develop an extraordinary physical ability and the balance of power between men and women shifts with devastating effect. If you think you don’t like science fiction I’d give this a go – you might just change your mind!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Composed by Shelley when she was just nineteen as part of a challenge to write the scariest ghost story, Shelley examines what it means to be human and the monstrosity of man. Scientist Victor Frankenstein sets in motion a destructive sequence of events when he ‘plays God’ and creates a man. His creation is abandoned and subjected to the worst of mankind’s behaviour. The horror doesn’t come from the creature but from the men around him. A perfect introduction to classic fiction – it’s not too long and the plot moves quickly.

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Stephen King is one of my favourite authors but this time travel story broke away from his usual horror novels. High-school teacher Jake Epping travels back to 1958 and becomes embroiled in a thrilling race to prevent the assassination of John F Kennedy on 1963. King’s writing always creates empathy with the characters and this is no exception. From the first page I was hooked.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This is a murder mystery novel like no other. Christopher Boone is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome. The reader is drawn into Christopher’s world in this deeply moving but also very funny story. Christopher ‘s life is turned upside down as he searches for the truth about a dead dog and discovers truths about his own family. A great read for teens and adults alike.

library book shelf

Jenny
I work at Central Library and am so privileged to have access to a wide variety of books every day – it means I often have a pile to get through when I take too many home!

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
This novel is extraordinary, it centres on four characters whose lives all intersect during World War II. Moving backwards through the war, we are introduced to the complex lives of glamour girl Viv, big hearted and caught in an impossible situation; Duncan, who has a mysterious past that he is coming to terms with; Helen, always searching for true love despite a jealous nature, and Kay, who has never left the war behind and misses the comradery of the Blitz spirit. The level of historical detail and rich character portrayals make you feel as though you are living it with them and leaves you wondering what is coming next.

This must be the place by Maggie O’Farrell
This book is very funny, and O’Farrell captures perfectly and succinctly just how chaotic and weird families can be. In a criss-crossing story stretching across Ireland, L.A., and New York, to name a few, we are introduced to Claudette, an ex-film star who is prone to shooting anyone who ventures near her secluded property, and Daniel, whose love for another woman 20 years ago throws their lives into disarray. Can their unique family unit be saved? Full of warm humour and moving insight into the reality of relationships – this is a love story unlike any other.

Horrible Histories (the series) by Terry Deary
This series of books opened up a subject I had previously little interest in as a child. From the ‘Vile Victorians’ to the ‘Measly Middles Ages’, I couldn’t put them down. They are so funny and full of amusing facts, especially the cartoons that help to keep your attention and break up the text. I still love them, and recommend them to junior borrowers now, who have very often seen the TV show on CBBC.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I recently read this book out of curiosity, having spotted it on our Reading Group shelves. This tale of double standards, rich and poor, longing and love, all set in the Dorset countryside, reminds you that though time and practices change, people and relationships never do. Naïve and poverty stricken Tess is put under the spell of wicked Alec D’Urberville, leading to events that will test her ideas of morality, and possibly the love of her beloved Angel Clare. This book has stayed with me, and I was rooting for Tess throughout. Classical literature can be a daunting prospect, but once you dive into such a book, you are completely absorbed in it and eager to see how it develops.

The Power by Naomi Alderman
The central question of this novel asks what would the world be like if women had more power? What would happen if women ruled absolute, and could use electrical charges from their palms to physically shock and kill their enemies? Governments fall, rebel groups form, and women take their revenge on patriarchal society. There is Tunde, a young Nigerian journalist risking his life to understand the phenomenon; Allie who finds meaning despite her troubled childhood; Roxy, London tough girl who does what she has to in order to survive; and Margot, who is trying to make her way in the male dominated political world. This book is unique, and not always comfortable to read due to there being some graphic elements in the book, but it is a real eye opener. Fans of Margaret Atwood would love this, as she acted as a mentor to Alderman during the project. It also won the 2017 Bailey’s women’s prize for fiction. [LML Claire note: this was already on my list but with two library recommendations – I’m deffo adding this to my pile!]

favourite books

David
My top 5 books? Here goes…

Fair Stood the Wind For France by H E Bates
Contact by Carl Sagan
The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C Clarke
Danny The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
The Whales’ Song by Dianne Sheldon, illustrated by Gary Blythe

[LML Claire: ooh there’s some authors there I’ve never heard of *hurries to library catalogue to investigate further*]

book shelves

More books related content? 

Find out what the Love Middlesbrough Lasses love to read. 

Love libraries? Love Middlesbrough Lass Claire does too! 

Vote for your favourite books with #BoroReads

#comingsoon to the Love Middlesbrough blog…

We’re so excited – we’ve got loads of fab things coming soon to the blog and we want to make sure that you don’t miss a single post! So the good news is you can now follow us on Bloglovin which means every post we write will come straight into your feed – yay! 

We don’t want to give too much away…but here’s some sneaky peeks of what we have planned.

In October we’re celebrating 60 years of Middlesbrough Theatre with a theatre takeover… 🎭

We’ve got a new design planned which we cannot wait for…! 😍

Sneak peeks behind the scenes of Magical Middlesbrough Christmas… 🎅🏻

More from #BoroReads… 

More food…obviously 😋

And something top secret that we’ve only just heard about but are already completely fan-girling all over … ooooh, what can it be?! 

You know what to do – Follow my blog with Bloglovin 

See you soon! 

Your Love Middlesbrough Lasses

Curing House food

Happy #worldphotographyday from Middlesbrough!

Happy #worldphotographyday from the Love Middlesbrough Lasses!  💕

I had so much fun putting together my top 5 most instagrammable places in Middlesbrough list that I thought I’d do another photography post for #worldphotographyday! I’ve even raided my archives for some older pics which have never been seen on Love Middlesbrough before!

Centre Square


Probably the best sunrise I’ve ever seen in Boro!


But really any sunrise makes it worth being up so early…


And the fountains!


But mainly I’m all about the sunrises (and sunsets)!

Parks


Stewart Park


Albert Park


Teessaurus Park


Albert Park


Albert Park

Transporter Bridge


The astute among you might remember this photo from a Discover Middlesbrough brochure a few years ago!


All about the flowers at Transporter Park in the summer!


I could happily spend all day at the side of the Tees photographing reflections and clouds…


One of my favourite places anywhere in Middlesbrough!

Everywhere else!


Zetland Road (opposite the train station)


Acklam Hall (about five and a half years ago!)


View from the top of the Transporter Bridge at night


CSM Stan Hollis VC statue, outside the Dorman Museum


Temenos


Book bench outside mima


House of Fraser at Christmas

So there you have it, just some of my favourite views in Middlesbrough – but there’s heaps I haven’t included, like the Dorman Museum, Fairy Dell, the Avenue of Trees in Acklam, so stay tuned for the next instalment! 😊

Boro Superheroes!

This week we asked our young bloggers to create their very own Boro Reads Superheroes! We absolutely love the characters they’ve created and we just can’t even deal with the pictures they have drawn. So. Much. Cute. 😍 See for yourself…

Katie
If I could be a superhero I would be called Supertastic Girl! Her super powers would be flying powers,  read people’s mind,  be super stretchy and reading powers. My super hero costume would be pink and blue with lots of stars 🌟💫✨

Isobel
My superhero would be Captain Bookworm! His superhero power would be to have a super memory and telekinesis. He goes around saving the world and getting people interested in reading! 

Captain Bookworm

Julia
My superhero is a robot who does all the washing up, the ironing and loads of other household jobs. My superhero is called The SuperBot! because it helps around the house and looks after people too. [Claire asks if The SuperBot can come and help with all her housework please…?] Here is a picture of The SuperBot.

The Superbot

My superhero is helpful and kind and can answer any question you give it. He solves difficult problems and cures people in hospitals who have been told that there is no cure for them. SuperBot is designed to save and help anyone in need and do the best it can for mankind. SuperBot is a secret and is worth a lot of money. Hopefully, in the future, there will be robots like SuperBot working in hospitals all around the world and helping millions of people and animals.

Holly
Invisible Hulk! Incredible (ahem), I mean Invisible Hulk blows your mind with her reading skills. She can read up to a 368 page book in 3 minutes! Invisible Hulk can read this fast because of a special setting on her head (marked on the picture with a red arrow). Don’t worry she NEVER STOPS reading, because if someone shouts, “stop what you’re doing it’s time for lunch” she’ll turn on her invisible power so no one can find her and whatever she touches becomes invisible too!

Invisible Hulk

Jack
My Super hero is called Captain BORO! His superpower is x-ray vision and he can read books without even opening or turning pages! #UTB 

Captain Boro

Big shout out to Jack’s sister Katherine who helped to create Captain BORO and drew this fabulous picture! Jack reckons she will be an artist one day and we think so too! Thanks for joining in this week Katherine ❤️

Remember to vote for Boro Reads – the top 10 most popular books will be designed into book benches and we can’t wait to see them! 

See you next week with more adventures from our young bloggers!