Behind the scenes of the Town Hall renovation

If you didn’t already know, the Love Middlesbrough Lasses are suckers for history; so when we were asked to tour Middlesbrough Town Hall whilst it’s under renovation, we donned our hard hats and high vis jackets and turned up with our cameras and smiles on our faces.

With the Health and Safety briefing over we went in – Friday afternoon wasn’t too busy luckily – and climbed right to the top of the building. This meant we were in the roof of the old courtroom.

The builders had discovered some amazing windows and have had them cleaned up and reinstalled – we’re slightly in love.

Just below this they were testing out new paint for the ceiling and walls to better match the original colour scheme, but also to look good in the modern world of colour matching. They had all the colours sat next to each other to compare. Does anyone remember the red from before the renovation?

The main hall turns out to be stunning from a height and there’s so much in the ceilings you’ve probably never looked at – the band is what you paid for though, right? We happened to find some dragon style gargoyles whilst a little higher than normal – they also happen to be holding the Middlesbrough Crest.

The cells must have been creepy back in the day with no modern lightbulbs, they’re a little creepy even with the modern strip lights installed down below. Could you imagine spending the night behind this door?

You might be impressed by the windows in the courtroom’s ceiling, but the windows in the main hall are also pretty beautiful. They must have taken ages to make and have a lot of skill behind them. We are stunned.

It’s not just the history we were interested in, the new boiler room looks like something off a Steampunk set and LM Lass Emma is super impressed. Also, would love to know how that works! Could anyone explain?

That’s all from our tour so far. Be sure to follow Middlesbrough Town Hall on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with what’s going on. We really enjoyed ourselves and would like to thank the Town Hall staff and Kier for letting us have a nosy into what’s going on in the Grade II listed building. And of course, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the funding support they’ve given to the project.

We can’t wait to get back in again and see how the work is coming along!

Goodbye summer, hello autumn!

As we look out of the window at the leaves beginning to turn, we felt like now would be a great time to think about all the fab things we got up to over the glorious summer months! ☀️🍦🍹

Food…
We ate heaps of food – but when do we not? We devoured everything in sight at the Orange Pip Market summer special 🍊, and ate our weight in incredible desserts at Creams! 🍨

 

Since you can’t keep us from food, we also checked out Stewart Park farmers market, Mannequin Cafe, Fork in the Road, and the Green Room – all very highly recommended!

And we went back to some old faithfuls like Baker Street Kitchen, Bedford Street Coffee, Songbird Bakery and the Southfield too!

…culture…
As if anyone could forget, we finally got to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar 🐛 at Middlesbrough Theatre! If you’ve forgotten the amazing video we made, it just so happens that you can watch it here…

Sticking with Middlesbrough Theatre, Claire, our non-theatre-going Lass really enjoyed seeing Hopeless Romantics and self-confessed ‘massive theatre nerd’ Emma loved A Note to Myself. (I was a bad Love Middlesbrough Lass and went to Leeds instead to see Jane Eyre at the Grand Theatre, which was amazing!)

We ventured out to our wonderful museums to see the result of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum’s refurbishment, and the gorgeous Tokyo to the Tees exhibition at the Dorman Museum. Plus we were lucky enough to see some amazing dancers at the Cook museum, courtesy of Billingham International Folklore Festival, and have a wander around Stewart Park in the blazing sunshine. (It included ice creams, obvs. 😌)

We also went on a little road trip to Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar, to see their fantastically geeky Robots exhibition, and eat legitimately the most amazing cheesecake ever created at Sophellies!

 

Speaking of Redcar, we also went on a cheeky day out for chips, lemon tops, a climb up the Redcar Beacon, and a visit to the Lifeboat Museum.

 

…and more!
Among the other things we got up to were bouncing around in the sunshine at the ever-fabulous Mela, a visit to William Lane, Middlesbrough’s only remaining foundry, and a tour of the Town Hall renovations (more on that coming soon!)

You can’t have failed to notice that we’ve been a little obsessed with reading this summer, and as usual I’ve been posting photos at every opportunity I get. (If you love photos as much as I do, you can check out my thoughts on the top 5 most Instagrammable places in Middlesbrough, and my #worldphotographyday post.)

Phew, that’s one busy summer! We’ve already told you what’s coming soon to our blog in the next few months, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! In the meantime, this is Love Middlesbrough Lasses over and out!

#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

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! 😊

A fabulous visit to William Lane Foundry!

Last week, the Love Middlesbrough Lasses were super excited to be invited on a tour of William Lane Foundry.

It’s safe to say that we totally fangirled about it (I feel like not a post goes by without me saying I/we fangirled about something but we literally do, over just about everything), and there may have been a lot of squealing and giggling going on. 

William Lane Foundry was founded in 1862 by the three Lanes: William, a brass finisher, John, a brass moulder, and James, a blacksmith. There was once more foundries in Middlesbrough than you could shake a stick at, but William Lane is the only one left today.

The business has diversified in recent times, and alongside producing industrial parts and ongoing commissions for local authorities, they also work on heritage projects for historic venues like Beamish, and make bespoke plaques and signs like the Harry Potter ‘Platform 9 ¾’ one in our gallery below (this caused a previously-unheard of level of fangirling! 😳).

We absolutely loved our trip, and we’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in anything Victorian, industrial, or just likes seeing really cool things being done in Middlesbrough. You can get in touch with them by phone (01642 242871) or email (info@williamlanefoundry.uk) to ask about visiting.

It’s amazing and fascinating to see that such a Victorian industry is alive and kicking in the town today, in an area which is now much more known for advanced manufacturing and engineering (Riverside Park) and digital business (Boho Zone) than it is for industry.

Thank you so much to the lovely people at William Lane Foundry for having us – we’re counting down the days til we can go back! ☺️☺️