Pint of Science

We are bang in the middle of a festival of science that links Middlesbrough with cities across the world and brings science and scientists into the more homely and comfortable setting of the pub.

“Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation that brings some of the most brilliant scientists to your local pub to discuss their latest research and findings.”  The great thing from the audience point of view is that you don’t need any prior knowledge, and it is a real opportunity to meet the people who could be the future of science (and have a pint with them).

Pint of Science runs over a few days in May in cities throughout the world from Brazil to Australia to 21 locations in Britain, including Dickens Inn, Middlesbrough. Specific topics are selected and Pint of Science, Middlesbrough has opted for Planet Earth. Programmed here by Teesside University Dr Dave Errickson, this forensic archaeologist has opted for the broadest interpretation of Planet Earth including even North Yorks folklore and the mysterious Hobs.

Tonight, (Tues 16th May) in conjunction with Middlesbrough Local History Month we have Cooking Up Local Stories and Folklore with two local favourites, Middlesbrough Museum’s Phil Philo and BBC Tees Bob Fischer. Phil will be bringing Captain Cook’s natural scientists and their incredible finds under the 21st century microscope in Gotta Catch ‘Em All. Bob will be delving into the shadowy half world of the hobs and other mythical creatures that were a very real part of rural life for the people in North Yorks Moors as he goes Hobnobbing with the Hobs.

Tomorrow night (Wed 17th May) in the same Dickens Inn venue we fly off in two very different directions again.

Spacecraft: Writing in Another Dimension – poet Harry Man has collaborated with astrophysicists, neuroscientists and ecologists, creating new interdisciplinary work which is poetry Jim, but just not as we know it.

Explore how one poem began its journey here on Earth only to be blasted into space and placed in orbit around the planet Mars, and new frontiers in adventures in the English language that evolved into poems specifically designed for those with dyslexia, poetry without words, and poetry made to be read as it slowly dissolves into the ocean or melts in the open air.

Amy Carrick River Tees Officer with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust asks: How Many Bats Can You Fit in a Pint Glass? Answer, “At least 30 (but make sure you drink the beer first!)”

Amy will tell us about all the small mammals of the Tees Valley and what the Trust is doing to monitor them. Some questions she may or may not answer are: How do we know what bat is where and what they are jibbering on about? How do we know where otters like to chill out on their couches? How do we know what water voles have for their tea?

Expect plenty of visuals with all these talks and the chance to get up close and personal with ideas, myths, facts, science and the our planet earth.

Both fun and fact packed evenings are just £4 and can be booked ahead online to ensure you have a comfortable seat to listen and a space to park your pint. Doors 6:30pm. Event 7:00-9:00pm Pint of Science




Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience – Teesside University Boost Placement Blog

pn41XX Transporter volunteer Pic 2 (4)

During Summer 2015, Laura Forbes worked alongside Middlesbrough Council staff in the day-to-day running of Teesside’s iconic Tees Transporter Bridge as part of the Teesside University Summer BOOST Programme.  Here Laura recalls her time on the HLF-supported Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project…

Throughout my time at the Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with local schools in promoting the Bridge’s heritage. This has included assisting with tours, creating presentations and worksheets. Having never worked specifically with schools before, I didn’t realise the importance of promoting heritage from a young age. I was surprised to find how in awe of the Bridge, and how eager visiting school groups were to learn more about it. Their enthusiasm was contagious and really brought home to me the importance of children in the role of heritage. I also found they had the most profound perceptions of the Bridge, particularly those who live in Port Clarence – they described the Bridge as something that made them feel ‘safe’ and like they could ‘never get lost’. It was very touching to see how important this landmark was in their day-to-day lives.


Inspired by the project, I also developed a link-up with local writing company, Ek Zuban, in creating a wider heritage creative writing session.  This would come to fruition in the form of not only a performance of creative writing inspired by and in the shadow of the famous landmark, but also a musical performance too.

I realise the legacy of the Bridge’s heritage lies with these children and the importance of creating an unforgettable first experience of the Bridge, so as they grow older, they too can pass on these fond memories to others and keep the vision of the Transporter Bridge as an iconic landmark alive.

With the support of Teesside University, I have also utilised the camera loan system and captured unique parts of the project – there have been countless opportunities where having a camera has made a real difference. Many of the images I’ve taken onsite have been used for press releases, publications and social media – I’ve felt proud to be able to contribute towards the promotion of the Bridge in a visual way. I’m now even saving for a D-SLR camera of my own. I’ve always had an interest in photography, but have never gone as far as to purchase a camera. This placement has inspired me to pursue this hobby, and to be able to develop new skills in this has considerably increased my employability.c/o Teesside Archives

As I am a student studying English at Teesside University, I was given the opportunity to create blog posts and contribute to press releases. I felt I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the conventions of these formats of writing. Furthermore, simple daily writing tasks, such as emailing, have helped me develop a mature and formal tone when communicating with colleagues, whilst this better understanding of what is expected in press releases – invaluable should I wish to enter a role in PR.

During the course of the placement I particularly enjoyed working at the newly renovated Transporter Bride Visitor Centre, from greeting visitors to the Bridge to setting up the venue for special events.  This also provided a fantastic opportunity to share what I’ve learnt about the heritage of the Transporter Bridge with visitors. I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with people who visit the site, and I have surprised myself with the amount of knowledge I’ve picked up just being around the Bridge and the people that are passionate about it. I did my best to make sure people’s experience at the Bridge was a positive one.

I feel very proud to say I have been involved in the Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience, so much so that I have joined the Friends of the Tees Transporter Bridge and volunteered beyond my placement.  My time at the Transporter has increased my confidence in dealing with the public and helped create a sense of pride that I have added positively to their experience at the Bridge.  I would encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Bridge or participating in a placement there to pursue this truly unique experience.

Are you interested in volunteering at the Tees Transporter Bridge? Visit for more information. 


Richard Milward – A is for Apples and B is for Baker Street

Ever since his debut 2007 novel Apples, Richard Milward has stormed to the top of the Teesside literary charts. His acne, warts, white lightning an all depictions of disaffected Teesside youth have earned him lavish praise from readers and critics alike and placed him firmly on a national platform.

Keen Boro fan, Richard, has returned to his local roots and is plotting future publications that will no doubt cause just as much of a stir. On the verge of a public reading in the area I decided to tackle the author and ask him a few questions about Teesside and the Boro.

Q: You have been a big chronicler of Teesside life and nightlife. Do you see changes, maybe welcome ones, micro pubs, music venues etc? Maybe. 

Yeah, definitely. Especially since the university’s expanded, there seems to be new places appearing all the time. It’s good to see Baker Street thriving: we’ve been sinking a few in the Twisted Lip recently. When you compare Boro to other similar-sized towns in the UK, the town centre especially has managed to reinvent itself, and save itself from stagnating. While certain pubs and clubs have come and gone, and the town never seems quite as busy on a night as it used to be a decade ago, there’s still plenty of variety.

Q: Richard tell us a little about what you are working on presently, if there is anything you would like to reveal. And how different the experience is for you to your previous books?

I’m writing a couple of novels at the moment. One’s nearly finished: it features a lot of interwoven stories, one of which follows a twelve year-old deaf boxer in South Wales with intense tinnitus, obsessively pushed by his dad to earn some silverware. This book’s a bit different to the previous ones in that it’s involved a lot more research, rather than just dipping into my own past, present and imagination. I’ve been overdosing on boxing research the last few years: interviewing lads in the amateur clubs, talking to our Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell, and struggling to hold a conversation with the young pugilists in a club in Havana. I’m hoping it’ll be out next year but still applying the finishing touches at the minute.

Q: How much do you enjoy reading in public? Do you enjoy the interaction? 

Yeah, I enjoy it a lot. Usually the readings a bit tongue-in-cheek – they tend to involve some sort of daft headgear at least: a wig, or a cardboard tower block.

Q: You are very much a proud Teessider. So, was it a big moment for you and your family to get an honorary doctorate at Tees Uni a couple of years ago?

Yeah, it was a massive surprise, and meant so much to me. I never imagined I’d be offered one, let alone before I turned 30, so it was dead humbling. Teesside has and always will be a huge inspiration to me, so it’s incredible being recognised by the university here. And great to see the campus ballooning every time I wander into town.

Q: What are your favourite things about living here? 

The people, definitely. There’s a real mix of wit, bluntness and self-deprecation that makes for some cracking storytelling on every corner. Hot-shot parmos are a marvel as well.

Q: Are you enjoying this season or is it getting far too nervy?

I’ve been enjoying it a lot. It’s great to see us thriving, having Aitor at the helm for his first full season, and it’s nice hearing all sorts of accolades and respect from the national press too, which makes a change. But aye, I’m sure the hypertension won’t let up until May.

Q: Are you managing to get to many games? Do you think it is looking set to go down to the wire?

I haven’t been to anywhere near as many games as I’d like this season, solely down to tightened purse-strings, but been keeping a sturdy eye on our lads throughout. I’m certain it’ll go down to the wire – it’s such an unpredictable league but I expect the teams around us to continue to linger right up to the bitter end.

Q: If you had to choose between a Wembley play off final win or an automatic 2nd place finish which would you take?

For the sake of my ticker, I’d take the 2nd place finish.

Q: How much of a boost for everyone do you think the Premier League would be?

I’ve enjoyed the Championship a lot, but it definitely feels like high time we were back in the Premier. I reckon it’ll be a great boost – more and more folk seem game for snapping up season tickets. It’d be incredible to see the Riverside full again.

Richard Milward will be appearing with Harry Pearson in a double header at the Waiting Room restaurant next Sunday 22nd March. 

Sunday 22nd March
Harry Pearson + Richard Milward
£6 – 8pm – All Ages
The Waiting Room, 9 Station Road, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees, TS16 0BU
01642 780465


Rede House student accommodation a boost for the town

Image © Fortis

Looking out of the window across Middlesbrough, lounging in the cinema room or hitting the free gym, it’s hard to believe that this is student accommodation. Rede House, which had previously been unoccupied, has been transformed by Fortis Student Living into high quality, self-contained studio flats. With the contemporary furnishings and colour schemes, it is unrecognisable from its former incarnation as a dowdy office block.

Providing accommodation for 240 students from Teesside University and students from Durham University’s Stockton campus, there are options to suit every budget, from economy-sized studios to one bedroom apartments. Included in the weekly rental prices are water, electricity, gas and heating, and the building also benefits from free broadband and wifi, and a twenty four hour laundry facilities.

But it’s the additional features offered to residents which make this development truly special – students and their guests can enjoy the cinema room, the communal flat screen Sky TVs and a pool table, or the free onsite gym for something a little more energetic. Some rooms benefit from views over Centre Square, mima and the Bottle of Notes, while others look out over the Transporter Bridge and the dockside developments at Middlehaven.

Image © Fortis

Image © Fortis Image © Fortis

The modern interior complements the world-class teaching facilities already available at Teesside University, and the location is ideal for access to the shops, restaurants and entertainment venues of the town centre. Plus the independent retail district Baker Street is just a five minute walk away.

In a year which has seen several of the town’s large long term vacant units occupied, including those on Linthorpe Road taken over by The Purple Pig and Sticky Fingers/Steven James Guitars, it’s great news for the town that such a large building has not stood empty for long.

For those keen to invest in this up and coming student hotspot, there are two vacant retail units on the ground floor of Rede House which are available to rent. The first unit, closest to Gurney Street, is 266.4 sqm, and the second, closest to Rede House reception, is 165.2 sqm. Contact Barry Greenbank, Commercial & Utilities Manager at Fortis Developments Ltd., for more information, either by email to or by phone at 0161 8385670 / 07805 041869.

Image © Fortis


Chris Tomlinson is Moving Forward For Middlesbrough

I met up with Olympic Long jumper Chris Tomlinson at Teesside University where he was helping to launch the Extra Life.

Extra Life is a new preventative approach which will see four of Teesside’s largest employers working in collaboration for the first time to improve work environments and boost the health and wellbeing of staff, students and the local community.

Chris took the stage to speak out passionately for his hometown and how Extra Life could make such a big difference to the town and people he clearly loves so dearly.

Afterwards Chris continued to speak out from the heart appealing for people to give Middlesbrough centre a chance and like himself really back the town.

Q: You seem to be very passionate about Middlesbrough.

Chris Tomlinson: Yes, it is as simple as that really. I did move away. I moved to London, I moved up to Newcastle originally and then I lived in a nice part of London, to say the least and now I have moved back to Linthorpe and a few people have asked me the question, why have you come back there? But it is nice. Everyone is friendly. I have great family living round the corner. The house itself is very nice, it is a hundred year old with period features.

The town is on the up. I get fed up with it always having a bad reputation. Why is it, if we do come back to Teesside why does everyone have to live in Yarm, Eaglescliffe or Hutton Rudby etc. I’ve chosen to come back and live in Linthorpe. I still have my place in London, fortunately but I do live my life in Middlesbrough.

Q: The event we have come along to today, Extra Life must be not just for your generation but for the next generation too.

CT: Yes. My kids go to a local nursery and they will hopefully be going to St Edward’s School for a few years. I have had this conversation a number of times, why do people feel that they have to move away. We have great primary schools in the town and also better primary than senior schools and we need to try and improve that. Why is it that when my kids get to 9 and 10 do I have to feel that I am going to move out to Yarm or Eaglescliffe? We have got to improve the senior schools. We have to come together as a town because we have got some great stuff, we have got a great University, we have got a great NHS, James Cook Hospital and we have got a great (Middlesbrough) College. There are a lot of opportunities here. And I am passionate about the town, the people are hard working and they’re friendly and everyone has support for one another and let’s move forwards. Let’s not be where everyone that does something leaves the town and says I’m not coming back or if they do come back move further out. Let’s try to come together and move the town forwards.

Q: I have met you before at other initiatives for the town. I remember you launching the Golden Mile for kids.

CT: Yes that was about a year and half ago wasn’t it? It was a great idea. That was another initiative trying to support the town. It was basically encouraging all children to run, swim, cycle, walk a mile whatever. It was about getting children out being healthy. People sometimes say it is all right for him he is an international long jumper, an Olympic athlete but there is much more to it than that. It is about living a healthy lifestyle. At Clairville there were hundreds and hundreds of kids there on a weekly basis. Not everybody is necessarily going to be the next Usain Bolt but what they can do is that they can learn some good key life skills there. You can learn about nutrition, you can learn about friendship, you can learn about being hard working. Those life skills at a young age are very important. It is not all winning. It is about what you gain from it.

Q: And you come together as a community and look out for each other.

CT: Yes exactly. I think it is important that we do that in this town and we do come together as a community and we do look out for one another because sometimes you Again I am fortunate enough to go away and travel the world and I have lived in some nice places and why is it you gets some stick about it and why do you have to say oh the outskirts are nice? Or you want to go to the hills. Why can’t we see we have got some gorgeous houses in Linthorpe. There’s a great community, there’s a lot of diversity there. Get yourself down Linthorpe Road and you will get one of the best curries in the country. Why don’t we start to publicise it a bit more.

Q: Absolutely. And Extra Life today the four big employers coming together to help make a real difference to peoples lives. These are agents in the sectors that touch nearly everyone’s lives. They can make a difference surely?

CT: Yes, exactly, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that these are the big four employers in the town. And to repeat myself we have got a great university and college and we’ve got a great hospital. It is a unique opportunity where the employers have come together and they are trying to work together to move forward. It has got to be a positive thing for the town and now it is up to the people of the town to come together and move forwards as well.

Let’s be proud of where we are. The town is up and coming now. I walked down Baker Street and it is nice there. I went for a nice meal in central Middlesbrough, it is coming on. Let’s make this the start of something.