The town hall surrounded by buildings
Location within North Yorkshire
Council area140,980 (mid-2019 est.)
Town built-up area174,700 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceNZ495204
• London217 mi (349 km) S
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTS1 – TS9
Dialling code01642
AmbulanceNorth East
UK Parliament
List of places
54°34′36″N 1°14′08″W / 54.5767°N 1.2355°W / 54.5767; -1.2355Coordinates: 54°34′36″N 1°14′08″W / 54.5767°N 1.2355°W / 54.5767; -1.2355

Middlesbrough (/ˈmɪdəlzbrə/ (About this soundlisten) MID-əlz-brə) is a large town in North Yorkshire, England. It is on the River Tees's southern bank, west of Redcar and east of Stockton-on-Tees. The Borough of Middlesbrough is governed from the town.

Until the early 1800s, the area was rural farming land. By 1830, a new town and port had begun to be developed, driven by the coal industry and later ironworks. Steel production and ship building began in the late 1800s, and remained associated with the town until post-industrial decline occurred in the late twentieth century. Trade, notably through ports, and digital enterprise sectors contemporarily contribute to the local economy. Teesside University is also based in the town.

Erimus ("We shall be" in Latin), the town's motto, reflects Fuimus ("We have been") of the Norman/Scottish Bruce clan, the mediaeval lords of Cleveland. The town's coat of arms is an azure (blue) lion, from the Bruce family arms, a star (from Captain James Cook's arms) and two ships representing shipbuilding and maritime trade.[2]

In 1853, the town received its Royal Charter of Incorporation. In 1889, the North Riding of Yorkshire became an administrative county, the town's municipal borough also became a county borough. From 1968 until 1974, boroughs and parishes from County Durham and the North Riding of Yorkshire formed the County Borough of Teesside. Cleveland non-metropolitan county was created in 1974, this was until 1996 when the Middlesbrough Borough Council (now known as Middlesbrough Council) became a unitary authority in North Yorkshire. The authority forms part of the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

The borough had an estimated population of 140,980 in 2019, the 155th most populous district of England. At the 2011 census, the Middlesbrough subdivision of the Teesside built-up area had a population of 174,700,[1] the population is larger due to an area outside the council area known as Greater Eston. The built-up area, of which Middlesbrough forms the largest part, had a population of 376,633.[3]


Early history

Middlesbrough started as a Benedictine priory on the south bank of the River Tees, its name possibly derived from it being midway between the holy sites of Durham and Whitby. The earliest recorded form of Middlesbrough's name is "Mydilsburgh".

In 686, a monastic cell was consecrated by St. Cuthbert at the request of St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby. The manor of Middlesburgh belonged to Whitby Abbey and Guisborough Priory.[4] Robert Bruce, Lord of Cleveland and Annandale, granted and confirmed, in 1119, the church of St. Hilda of Middleburg to Whitby.[5] Up until its closure on the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1537, the church was maintained by 12 Benedictine monks, many of whom became vicars, or rectors, of various places in Cleveland.[6]

After the Angles, the area became home to Viking settlers. Names of Viking origin (with the suffix by meaning village[7]) are abundant in the area; for example, Ormesby, Stainsby and Tollesby were once separate villages that belonged to Vikings called Orm, Steinn and Toll, but now form suburbs of Middlesbrough are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Other names around Middlesbrough include the village of Maltby (of Malti) along with the towns of Ingleby Barwick (Anglo-place and barley-wick) and Thornaby (of Thormod).

Links persist in the area, often through school or road names, to now-outgrown or abandoned local settlements, such as the medieval settlement of Stainsby, deserted by 1757, which amounts to little more today than a series of grassy mounds near the A19 road.[8]


Old Town Hall
Old Town Hall

In 1801, Middlesbrough was a small farm with a population of just 25; however, during the latter half of the 19th century, it experienced rapid growth. In 1828 the influential Quaker banker, coal mine owner and Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) shareholder Joseph Pease sailed up the River Tees to find a suitable new site downriver of Stockton on which to place new coal staithes. As a result, in 1829 he and a group of Quaker businessmen bought the Middlesbrough farmstead and associated estate, some 527 acres (213 ha) of land, and established the Middlesbrough Estate Company.

Through the company, the investors set about the development of a new coal port on the banks of the Tees (designed by John Harris), and a suitable town on the site of the farm (the new town of Middlesbrough) to supply the port with labour. The small farmstead became the site of such streets as North Street, South Street, West Street, East Street, Commercial Street, Stockton Street and Cleveland Street, laid out in a grid-iron pattern around a market square, with the first house being built on West Street in April 1830.[9] The town of Middlesbrough was born.[10] New businesses bought premises and plots of land in the new town including: shippers, merchants, butchers, innkeepers, joiners, blacksmiths, tailors, builders and painters in the area that became known as St.Hilda's.

The first coal shipping staithes at the port (known as "Port Darlington") were constructed just to the west of the site earmarked for the location of Middlesbrough.[11][12] The port was linked to the S&DR on 27 December 1830 via a branch that extended to an area just north of the current Middlesbrough railway station, helping secure the town's future.[13]

The success of the port meant it soon became overwhelmed by the volume of imports and exports, and in 1839 work started on Middlesbrough Dock. Laid out by Sir William Cubitt, the whole infrastructure was built by resident civil engineer George Turnbull.[11] After three years and an expenditure of £122,000 (equivalent to £9.65 million at 2011 prices),[11] first water was let in on 19 March 1842, and the formal opening took place on 12 May 1842. On completion, the docks were bought by the S&DR.[11]

By 1851, Middlesbrough's population had grown to 7,600 from just 40 people in 1829.[14]


Further information: Bolckow Vaughan, Dorman Long, and Teesside Steelworks

Henry Bolckow statue in exchange square
Henry Bolckow statue in exchange square

Iron and steel have dominated the Tees area since 1841 when Henry Bolckow in partnership with John Vaughan, founded the Vulcan iron foundry and rolling mill. Vaughan, who had worked his way up through the Iron industry in South Wales, used his technical expertise to find a more abundant supply of Ironstone in the Eston Hills in 1850, and introduced the new "Bell Hopper" system of closed blast furnaces developed at the Ebbw Vale works. These factors made the works an unprecedented success with Teesside becoming known as the "Iron-smelting centre of the world" and Bolckow, Vaughan & Co., Ltd became the largest company in existence.[15]

A wall celebrating the name Ironopolis
A wall celebrating the name Ironopolis

By 1851 Middlesbrough's population had grown from 40 people in 1829 to 7,600.[14] Pig iron production rose tenfold between 1851 and 1856 and by the mid 1870s Middlesbrough was producing one third of the entire nations Pig Iron output. It was during this time Middlesbrough earned the nickname "Ironopolis".[16][17]

On 21 January 1853, Middlesbrough received its Royal Charter of Incorporation,[18] giving the town the right to have a mayor, aldermen and councillors. Henry Bolckow became mayor, in 1853.[4]

Late 1850–Second World War: Old Middlesbrough

closest building is the CIAC Building
closest building is the CIAC Building

In the latter half of the 19th century, Old Middlesbrough was starting to decline and was overshadowed by developments built around the new town hall, south of the original town hall.

Boho Four (Gibson House)
Boho Four (Gibson House)
Former North Riding Infirmary in 2005, knocked down in 2006
Former North Riding Infirmary in 2005, knocked down in 2006

In 1864 the North Riding Infirmary (an ear, nose and mouth hospital) opened in Newport Road. Henry Bolckow died in 1878 and left an endowment of £5,000 for the infirmary.[4]

On 15 August 1867, a Reform Bill was passed, making Middlesbrough a new parliamentary borough, Bolckow was elected member for Middlesbrough the following year.

In 1875, Bolckow, Vaughan & Co opened the Cleveland Steelworks in Middlesbrough beginning the transition from Iron production to Steel and by the turn of the century, the area had become one of the major steel centres in the country and possibly the world. In 1900, Bolckow, Vaughan & Co had become the largest producer of steel in Great Britain. In 1914, Dorman Long, another major steel producer from Middlesbrough, became the largest company in Britain, employing a workforce of over 20,000, and by 1929 it was the dominant steel producer on Teesside after taking over Bolckow, Vaughan & Co and acquiring its assets. It was possibly the largest Steel producer in Britain at the time. The steel components of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932) were engineered and fabricated by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough. The company was also responsible for the New Tyne Bridge in Newcastle.[19]

Several large shipyards also lined the Tees, including the Sir Raylton Dixon & Company, which produced hundreds of steam freighters including the infamous SS Mont-Blanc, the steamship which caused the 1917 Halifax Explosion in Canada.

Middlesbrough's rapid expansion continued throughout the second half of the 19th century (fuelled by the iron and steel industry), the population reaching 90,000 by the dawn of the 20th century.[14]

Welsh migration

The monument to John Vaughan. The inscription names him as 'founder of the iron trade in Middlesbrough'.
The monument to John Vaughan. The inscription names him as 'founder of the iron trade in Middlesbrough'.

A Welsh community was established in Middlesbrough sometime before the 1840s, with mining being the main form of employment.[20] This Welsh population grew rapidly after 1841 when John Vaughan established the first ironworks on Teesside (The Vulcan Works) at Middlesbrough.[15] Vaughan had worked his way up through the industry at the Dowlais Ironworks in south Wales and encouraged hundreds of the skilled Welsh workers to follow him to Teesside.[21] These migrants included three figures who would become important leaders in the commercial, political and cultural life of the town:

Much like the contemporary Welsh migration to America, the Welsh of Middlesbrough came almost exclusively from the iron-smelting and coal districts of South Wales.[25] By 1861 42% of the town's ironworkers identified as Welsh and one in twenty of the total population.[26] Place names such as "Welch Cottages" and "Welch Place" appeared around the Vulcan works, and Middlesbrough became a centre for more Welsh communities at Witton Park, Spennymoor, Consett and Stockton on Tees (especially Portrack). David Williams also recorded that a number of the Welsh workers at the Hughesovka Ironworks in 1869 had migrated from Middlesbrough.[27]

Cultural impact

A Welsh Baptist chapel was active in the town as early as 1858, and St Hilda's Anglican church began providing services in the Welsh language. Churches and chapels were also centres for Welsh culture, supporting choirs, Sunday Schools, social societies, adult education, lectures and literary meetings. Many more chapels were built (one reputed to seat 500 people) across the town, and the first Eisteddfodau were held by the 1870s.[28]

"It was delightful to him, to come again to that portion of Wales, called North East England, and meet once again so many of his old friends."

'Address to The Cleveland and Durham Eisteddfod', North Eastern Daily Gazette. 2nd January, 1900.

By the 1880s, a "Welsh cultural revival" was underway with Eisteddfodau becoming open events, attracting competitors and crowds from the Non-Welsh communities. In 1890 the Middlesbrough Town Hall hosted the first Cleveland and Durham Eisteddfod, an event notable for its non-denominational inclusivity, with Irish Catholic choirs and the bishop of the newly created Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough as honoured guests.[28]

In the early twentieth century this Eisteddfod had become the biggest annual event in the town and the largest annual Eisteddfod outside Wales. The Eisteddfod had a clear impact on the culture of the town, especially through its literary and music events, by 1911 the Eisteddfod had twenty-two classes of musical competition with only two for Welsh language content. By 1914, thirty choirs from across the area were competing in 284 entries.[29] A choral tradition remained part of the town's culture long after the eisteddfod and chapels had gone. In 2012 an exhibition at the Dorman Museum marked the Apollo Male Voice Choir's 125 years as an active choir in the town.[30]

Political impact

Wales was noted for its "radical Liberal-Labour" politics, and the rhetoric of these politicians clearly won favour with the urban population of the North East. Penry Williams and Jonathan Samuel won the seats of Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees for the Liberal Party and Penry's brother, Aneurin would also win the newly created Consett seat in 1918.[28]

Sir Horace Davey stressed his Welsh lineage and stated that "it was scarcely an exaggeration to say that Welshmen had founded Middlesbrough", courting the Welsh vote that saw him elected MP for Stockton. However, others complained that local Conservative candidates were losing to "Fenians and Welshers" (Irish and Welsh people).[31][28]

These sentiments had grown by 1900 when Samuel lost his seat after a Unionist complained publicly that the town had been "forced to submit to the indignity of being trailed ignominiously through the mire by Welsh constituents". Samuel lost the seat but regained it in 1910 with a campaign that made few, if any, references to his Welsh background.[28]

Irish migration

Main article: Irish migration to Great Britain

From 1861 to 1871, the census of England & Wales showed that Middlesbrough consistently had the second highest percentage of Irish born people in England after Liverpool.[32][33] The Irish population in 1861 accounted for 15.6% of the total population of Middlesbrough. In 1871 the amount had dropped to 9.2% yet this still placed Middlesbrough's Irish population second in England behind Liverpool.[34] Due to the rapid development of the town and its industrialisation there was much need for people to work in the many blast furnaces and steel works along the banks of the Tees. This attracted many people from Ireland, who were in much need of work. As well as people from Ireland, the Scottish, Welsh and overseas inhabitants made up 16% of Middlesbrough's population in 1871.[33] A second influx of Irish migration was observed in the early 1900s as Middlesbrough's steel industry boomed producing 1/3 of Britain's total steel output. This second influx lasted through to the 1950s after which Irish migration to Middlesbrough saw a drastic decline. Middlesbrough no longer has a strong Irish presence, with Irish born residents making up around 2% of the current population, however there is still a strong cultural and historical connection with Ireland mainly through the heritage and ancestry of many families within Middlesbrough.

Second World War

Main article: Middlesbrough during World War II

Middlesbrough was the first major British town and industrial target to be bombed during the Second World War. The steel making capacity and railways for carrying steel products were obvious targets. The Luftwaffe first bombed the town on 25 May 1940, when a lone bomber dropped 13 bombs between South Bank Road and the South Steel plant.[35] More bombing occurred throughout the course of the war, with the railway station put out of action for two weeks in 1942.[36]

A66 from a multi-storey car park in 2006 (the road is raised with Wilson Street running adjacent)
A66 from a multi-storey car park in 2006 (the road is raised with Wilson Street running adjacent)

By the end of the war over 200 buildings had been destroyed within the Middlesbrough area. Areas of early and mid-Victorian housing were demolished and much of central Middlesbrough was redeveloped. Heavy industry was relocated to areas of land better suited to the needs of modern technology. Middlesbrough itself began to take on a completely different look.[37]

Green Howards

Main article: The Green Howards

The Green Howards was a British Army infantry regiment very strongly associated with Middlesbrough and the area south of the River Tees. Originally formed at Dunster Castle, Somerset in 1688 to serve King William of Orange, later King William III, this regiment became affiliated to the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1782. As Middlesbrough grew, its population of men came to be a group most targeted by the recruiters. The Green Howards were part of the King's Division. On 6 June 2006, this famous regiment was merged into the new Yorkshire Regiment and are now known as 2 Yorks, The 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards). There is also a Territorial Army (TA) company at Stockton Road in Middlesbrough, part of 4 Yorks which is wholly reserve.

Post Second World War to contemporary era

The North Riding Infirmary during demolition in 2006
The North Riding Infirmary during demolition in 2006

Post war industrial to contemporary un-industrial Middlesbrough has changed the town, multiple buildings replaced and roads built. Middlesbrough's 1903 Gaumont cinema, originally an opera house until the 1930s, was demolished in 1971.[38] The Cleveland Centre opened in the same year. In 1974, Middlesbrough and other areas around the Tees, became part of the county of Cleveland. This was to create a county within a single NUTS region of England, with the UK joining the European Union predecessor (European Communities) a year earlier.

The A66 was built through the town in the 1980s, Middlesbrough's Royal Exchange building was demolished, to make way for the road. A multi-storey the Star and Garter Hotel built in the 1890s near to the exchange on the site of a former Welsh Congregational Church, was also demolished.[39] The Victorian era North Riding Infirmary was demolished in 2006 and replaced by a hotel and supermarket.[40]

The Cleveland Centre opened in 1971, Hill Street shopping centre opened in 1981 and Captain Cook Square opened in 1999.[41]

Middlesbrough F.C.'s modern Riverside Stadium opened on 26 August 1995 next to Middlesbrough Dock. The club moved from Ayresome Park their previous home in the town for 92 years.

With the abolition of Cleveland County in 1996, Middlesbrough again became part of North Yorkshire.

The original St.Hilda's area of Middlesbrough, after decades of decline and clearance, was given a new name of Middlehaven in 1986 on investment proposals to build on the land.[42] Middlehaven has since had new buildings built there including Middlesbrough College and Middlesbrough FC's Riverside Stadium amongst others. Also situated at Middlehaven is the "Boho" zone, offering office space to the area's business and to attract new companies, and also "Bohouse", housing.[43][44] Some of the street names from the original grid-iron street plan of the town still exist in the area today.

The expansion of Middlesbrough southwards, eastwards and westwards continued throughout the 20th century absorbing villages such as Linthorpe, Acklam, Ormesby, Marton and Nunthorpe[45] and continues to the present day.



The main economy was once dominated by steelmaking, shipbuilding and chemical industries, has changed during the last fifty years.[46][47] Since the demise of much of the heavy industry in the area, newer technologies have since begun to emerge e.g. in the digital sector.[48] The area is still home to the nearby large Wilton International industrial site which until 1995 was largely owned by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). The fragmentation of that company led to smaller manufacturing units being owned by multinational organisations. The last part of ICI itself completely left the area in 2006 and the remaining companies are now members of the Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).

Middlesbrough also remains a stronghold for engineering based manufacturing and engineering contract service businesses. To help support this, the new TeesAMP advanced manufacturing park is designed to accommodate businesses associated with advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies.[49] Announced in September 2020, TeesAMP will be the location of the UK's first hydrogen transport centre.[50]


Container terminal TCT2, August 2009
Container terminal TCT2, August 2009

Teesport, owned by PD Ports, is a major contributor to the economy of Middlesbrough and the port owners have their offices in the town. The port is 1 mile (2 km) from the North Sea and 4 miles (6 km) east of Middlesbrough, on the River Tees. It currently handles over 4,350 vessels each year and around 27 million tonnes of cargo with the estate covering approximately 779 acres.[51] Steel, petrochemical, agribulks, manufacturing, engineering and high street commerce operations are all supported through Teesport, in addition to the renewable energy sector – in both production and assembly facilities.


Teesside University Library
Teesside University Library

Teesside University is a major presence in the town.[52] The university has a growing reputation for developing digital businesses particularly in the field of digital animation and for hosting the Animex festival.[53] The Boho zone in the town now houses a large number of these start-up digital businesses.[54] The university has 18,000 students, 2,400 staff and operates a £250,000,000 campus in Middlesbrough town-centre. The university campus has benefited from approx £250 million of investment in recent years, including the £30 million Campus Heart scheme.

Teesside University supports a total of 2,570 full-time jobs across the Tees Valley, North East and UK economies per annum. The university contributes additional wealth to the local, regional and national economies as measured by Gross Value Added (GVA). It is estimated this contributes a total of £124 million GVA per annum. The total direct, indirect and induced spending impacts associated with full-time international students and UK students from outside of the North East is approximately £18.9 million per annum. It is estimated this spending supports 158 full-time jobs per annum in Tees Valley and contributes additional wealth of £9.3 million per annum to the local economy.[55]



James Cook University Hospital
James Cook University Hospital

The South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has the James Cook University Hospital in the town. It adds to the economy through innovative projects; such as South Tees bio-incubator which acts as a launch-pad for research, innovation and collaboration between health, technology and science. It is a facility used by GlycoSeLect (UK) Ltd. as a client of the trust in strategic partnership with The Northern Health Science Alliance which has contributed £10.8 billion to the UK economy.[56]


Roseberry Park Hospital, operated by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation NHS Trust (TWEV), is north of James Cook Hospital. The hospital is psychiatric orientated and replaced St Luke's Hospital.[57] Acklam Road Hospital is operated by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust which took over from TWEV. During the transition it was renamed from West Lane to its current name.[58]


There is also the Middlesbrough One Life Medical Centre and North Ormesby Health Village in town. Ramsey Health operate the private Tees Valley Hospital in Acklam.[59]

Hospitality and shopping

Captain Cook Square
Captain Cook Square

Middlesbrough has four shopping centres accessible from Linthorpe road: Cleveland Centre, Hill Street, Captain Cook Square and Dundas. Middlesbrough Leisure park and Gateway Retail Park[60] are on the east side of the centre. Cleveland retail park (South Bank), Parkway Centre (Coulby Newham) and Teesside Park (between Thornaby and Middlesbrough) are on the Town's outskirts.

Former metalworks

In 1875, Bolckow, Vaughan & Co opened the Cleveland Steelworks in Middlesbrough beginning the transition from Iron production to Steel and by the turn of the century, the area had become one of the major steel centres in the country and possibly the world. In 1900, Bolckow, Vaughan & Co had become the largest producer of steel in Great Britain. In 1914, Dorman Long, another major steel producer from Middlesbrough, became the largest company in Britain, employing a workforce of over 20,000, and by 1929 it was the dominant steel producer on Teesside after taking over Bolckow, Vaughan & Co and acquiring its assets. It was possibly the largest Steel producer in Britain at the time.[61]

The steel components of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932) were engineered and fabricated by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough. The company was also responsible for the New Tyne Bridge in Newcastle.[19]

Several large shipyards also lined the Tees, including the Sir Raylton Dixon & Company, which produced hundreds of steam freighters including the infamous SS Mont-Blanc, the steamship which caused the 1917 Halifax Explosion in Canada.


See also: Middlesbrough Council, Borough of Middlesbrough, and History of local government in Yorkshire

The area of Yorkshire, where the town is now, was once part of the North Riding and the Langbaurgh Wapentake, the latter also known as Cleveland.[62]

Middlesbrough was incorporated as a town and municipal borough in 1853. It extended its boundaries in 1866 and 1887, becoming a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. A Middlesbrough Rural District was formed in 1894, covering a rural area to the south of the town. It was abolished in 1932, partly going to the county borough and mostly going to the Stokesley Rural District.[63]

In the latter half of the 20th century Middlesbrough was affected by three reforms: in 1968, Middlesbrough became part of the Teesside County Borough; in 1974, it became the county town of the Cleveland non-metropolitan county until its abolition and in 1996, the Borough of Middlesbrough became a unitary authority of North Yorkshire.



The area, where the town is now, was formerly represented by multiple different constituencies:


The Middlesbrough constituency is represented by Andy McDonald for Labour in the House of Commons. He was elected in a by-election held on 29 November 2012 following the death of previous Member of Parliament Sir Stuart Bell, who was the MP since 1983. Middlesbrough has been a traditionally safe Labour seat. The first Conservative MP for Middlesbrough was Sir Samuel Alexander Sadler, elected in 1900.

The Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency is represented by Simon Clarke of the Conservative Party, who won the seat off Labour in the 2017 general election. Prior to Clarke's election, the seat had always been Labour since it was created in 1997.


Further information: List of electoral wards in North Yorkshire

The following list are the different wards that correspond to the Middlesbrough built-up area subdivision: bold have correspondingly-named parishes.

The 2011 Teesside Built-up Area with subdivisions and local authority boundaries, Middlesbrough is light red.
The 2011 Teesside Built-up Area with subdivisions and local authority boundaries, Middlesbrough is light red.
Borough of Middlesbrough
Acklam Ayresome (includes Whinney Banks) Berwick Hills and Pallister
Brambles and Thorntree Central Coulby Newham
Easterside Hemlington Kader
Ladgate (includes Tollesby) Linthorpe Longlands and Beechwood (includes Clairville, Grove Hill, Marton Grove and Saltersgill)
Marton (east ward and west ward) Newport North Ormesby
Nunthorpe Park (includes Albert Park) Park End and Beckfield (includes Netherfields)
Stainton and Thornton Trimdon
Redcar and Cleveland
Eston Normanby Ormesby
South Bank Teesville



Buildings of Middlesbrough
Landmarks from top left to bottom right:
Acklam Hall, The MIMA, Webb House/ The Dorman Long Office and The Middlesbrough Empire

The terraced Victorian streets surrounding the town centre are elements of Middlesbrough's social and historical identity, and the vast streets surrounding Parliament Road and Abingdon Road a reminder of the area's wealth and rapid growth during industrialisation.

In the suburb and former village of Acklam, Middlesbrough's oldest domestic building is Acklam Hall of 1678. Built by Sir William Hustler, it is also Middlesbrough's sole Grade I listed building.[64][65]

Middlesbrough Town Hall, designed by George Gordon Hoskins and built between 1883 and 1889 is a Grade II listed building used for municipal purposes and as an entertainment venue. The Middlesbrough Empire, built in 1897 as a theatre, is a nightclub (since 1993) designed by Ernest Runtz. The first artist to perform in building as a Music Hall was Lillie Langtry.[66] It became an early nightclub (1950s), then a bingo hall and is now once again a nightclub. In Linthorpe, is the Middlesbrough Theatre opened by Sir John Gielgud in 1957; it was one of the first new theatres built in England after the Second World War.

The Dorman Long office on Zetland Road, constructed between 1881 and 1891, is the only commercial building ever designed by Philip Webb, the architect who worked for Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell.


Sculptures: 40,000 Years of Modern Art, Bottle O' Notes and Temenos

Further information: Tees Valley Giants

The Temenos sculpture, designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor and designer Cecil Balmond, is a steel structure near to the north west side of the Riverside Stadium. The sculpture stands approximately 110 m long and 50 m high and is held together by steel wire. It was unveiled in 2010 at a cost of £2.7 million.

The town includes the UK's only public sculpture by Claes Oldenburg,[67] the "Bottle O' Notes" of 1993, which relates to Captain James Cook. Based alongside it today in the town's Central Gardens is the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima). Away from the town centre, at Middlehaven stands the Temenos sculpture, designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor and designer Cecil Balmond. The steel structure, consisting of a pole, a circular ring and an oval ring, stands approximately 110 m long and 50 m high and is held together by steel wire. It was unveiled in 2010 at a cost of £2.7 million.


Bridges of Middlesbrough
Left: Tees Transporter Bridge, built in 1911
Right: Tees Newport Bridge

Via a 1907 Act of Parliament, Sir William Arrol & Co. of Glasgow built the Transporter Bridge (1911) which spans the River Tees between Middlesbrough and Port Clarence. Some of the film Billy Elliot was filmed on the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.[68] At 850 feet (260 m) long and 225 feet (69 m) high, is one of the largest of its type in the world and one of only two left in working order in Britain, the other being in Newport, Wales. The bridge remains in daily use. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Another landmark, the Tees Newport Bridge, a vertical lift bridge, opened further along the river in 1934. Newport bridge still stands and is passable by traffic, but it can no longer lift the centre section.

Culture and community

Middlesbrough Leisure Park is located at the eastern edge of the town centre. The leisure park hosts restaurants, a Cineworld multiplex cinema, fast food outlets, an American Golf outlet and a gym.[69]

Middlesbrough also has a healthy musical heritage. A number of bands and musicians hail from the area, including Paul Rodgers, Chris Rea, and Micky Moody.

Festivals and fairs

The central square pond
The central square pond

The Middlesbrough Mela is an annual, multi-cultural festival attracting an audience of up to 40,000 to enjoy a mix of live music, food, craft and fashion stalls. It began in Middlesbrough's Central Gardens, now Centre Square, and is either held there or in Albert Park.[70]

The Middlesbrough Art Weekender is a contemporary art festival organised by the Auxiliary that has been held in central Middlesbrough since 2017.[71] In 2019, it was held over the weekend of 26–29 September and included the works of artists such as Emily Hesse and Karina Smigla-Bobinski.[72]

Museums and galleries

There are several museums and galleries in Middlesbrough, including the Auxiliary Warehouse space, which opened as part of the 2019 Middlesbrough Art Weekender and is the most recent addition to the contemporary art community;[73] the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, which was opened on 28 October 1978 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook's birth in nearby Marton; the Dorman Memorial Museum, which was founded by Sir Arthur Dorman and specialises in social and local history.

Dorman Museum, MIMA and Ormesby Hall

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, known locally as mima, is a purpose built contemporary art gallery which opened in January 2007. It replaced the Cleveland Gallery (closed 1999), and Cleveland Crafts Centre (closed 2003).

Though just outside the boundary of Middlesbrough, within a joint preservation area with Redcar and Cleveland, Ormesby Hall is an 18th-century palladian mansion, once owned by the Pennyman family; it is now a National Trust property; Platform A Gallery is a contemporary art space at the end of platform 1 of Middlesbrough Station;[74] in July 2000 the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre was opened to commemorate the building of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.[75]


Albert Park
Albert Park

Albert Park was donated to the town by Henry Bolckow in 1866. It was formally opened by Prince Arthur on 11 August 1868, and comprises a 30 hectares (74 acres) site. The park underwent a considerable period of restoration from 2001 to 2004, during which a number of the park's landmarks, saw either restoration or revival.

Stewart Park was donated to the people of Middlesbrough in 1928 by Councillor Thomas Dormand Stewart and encompasses Victorian stable buildings, lakes and animal pens. It is also home to the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. During 2011 and 2012, the park underwent major refurbishment. It hosted the BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend in the summer of 2019.[76]

Newham Grange Leisure farm in the suburb of Coulby Newham, has operated continuously in this spot since the 17th century, becoming a farm park and conservation centre farm with the first residential development of the suburb in the 1970s.

Theatres and music venues

Middlesbrough Town Hall is the pre-eminent theatre venue in Middlesbrough. It has two concert halls: the first is a classic Victorian concert hall with a proscenium stage and seating 1,190; the second, under the main hall, is called the Middlesbrough Crypt and has a capacity of up to 600. The venue is run by Middlesbrough Council and is funded, in part, by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation specialising in music.[77] It was refurbished with the assistance of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and reopened in 2018.[78]

The Middlesbrough Theatre (formerly the Little Theatre) is in the suburb of Linthorpe. It was designed by architects Elder & De Pierro[79] and was the first purpose designed theatre to be erected in post-war England when it was opened on 22 October 1957 by Sir John Gielgud.[80][81]



A66 from a multi-storey car park in 2006 (the road is raised with Wilson Street running adjacent)
A66 from a multi-storey car park in 2006 (the road is raised with Wilson Street running adjacent)

Middlesbrough is served by public transport. Locally, Arriva North East and Stagecoach provide the majority of bus services, with National Express and Megabus operating long-distance coach travel from Middlesbrough bus station.

Middlesbrough is served by a number of major roads. The A19 (north–south) lies to the west of the town, the A66 (east–west) runs through the northern part of the town centre and the A171, A172 and A174 are other main routes linking the town. The A19 / A66 major interchange lies just to the west of the town.


Middlesbrough station at night from Albert Road
Middlesbrough station at night from Albert Road

Middlesbrough railway station is the fourth busiest in the North East England region, according to an Office of Rail and Road statistics during the 2019–20 period.[82] It opened in 1877, at its current site, and is in the gothic architectural style.[83] Train services for the station are operated by Northern and TransPennine Express. Northern operates rail services to Newcastle, Sunderland, Darlington, Redcar Central and Whitby. TransPennine Express provides direct rail services to Leeds, York, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester. It is the southern terminus for the Durham Coast line, it is on the Tees Valley line and is the northern terminus for the Esk Valley line.

There are also Nunthorpe, Gypsy Lane, Marton and James Cook (the latter operates near James Cook University Hospital) stations in Middlesbrough on the Esk Valley line. South Bank station is in the Middlesbrough subdivision on the Tees Valley Line.

The town formerly had electric tramway services, the Middlesbrough Corporation Tramways operated the tramways between 1921 and 1934.[84]


A trial e-scooter hire system is operating in Middlesbrough during 2020.[85]



Middlesbrough Central (Public) Library
Middlesbrough Central (Public) Library
Inside the public Library reference room
Inside the public Library reference room

There are multiple libraries serving Middlesbrough. A notable library is the Middlesbrough Central Carnegie library which dates from 1912.[86]


See also: List of schools in Middlesbrough


Teesside University traces back to 1930 at the opening of Constantine Technical College, located on Borough Road, in the town centre. The then college expanded through acquiring adjacent buildings, such as Middlesbrough High School, and by building Middlesbrough Tower. It became Teesside Polytechnic in 1969.[87]

In 1992, the polytechnic gained university status, becoming the University of Teesside. Extramural classes had previously been provided by the University of Leeds Adult Education Centre on Harrow Road, from 1958 to 2001.[88] It was rebranded, in 2009, to Teesside University. It further expanded in size and courses available, until, student numbers increased to approximately 20,000 studying at the university.[89]

Current university departments include: business, arts-and-media, computing, health-and-life-sciences, Science-and-Engineering and Social-Sciences-and-Law. In addition to teaching computer animation and games design, it co-hosts the annual Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games. The university has links with James Cook University Hospital in the town.


Middlesbrough College
Middlesbrough College

The town's largest college is Middlesbrough College, with 16,000 students. Others include Trinity Catholic College in Saltersgill,[90] Macmillan Academy on Stockton Road and Askham Bryan College which has a site in Stewart Park.

The Northern School of Art (established in 1870) is also based in Middlesbrough, it has another site in Hartlepool. It is one of only four specialist art and design further education colleges in the United Kingdom.



St Columba's Church CoE
St John's Church CoE
St Mary's Cathedral RC

Middlesbrough is a deanery of the Archdeaconry of Cleveland, a subdivision of the Church of England Diocese of York in the Province of York. It stretches west from Thirsk, north to Middlesbrough, east to Whitby and south to Pickering.

Middlesbrough is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough, which was created on 20 December 1878 from the Diocese of Beverley. St. Mary's Cathedral is diocese's mother-church, it is in Coulby Newham as opposed to the centre. The present bishop is the Right Reverend Terence Patrick Drainey, 7th Bishop of Middlesbrough, who was ordained on Friday 25 January 2008. Churches of the Sacred Heart and St Clare of Assisi are also in the town.


The synagogue in Park Road South, which opened in 1938 and closed in 1998
The synagogue in Park Road South, which opened in 1938 and closed in 1998

Ashkenazi Jews started to settle in Middlesbrough from 1862 and formed Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation in 1870 with a synagogue in Hill Street. The synagogue moved to Brentnall Street in 1874 and then to a new building in Park Road South in 1938.[91]

Editions of the Jewish Year Book record the growth and decline of Middlesbrough's Jewish population. It was about 100 in 1896–97 and peaked at 750 in 1935. It then declined to 30 in 1998, in which year the synagogue in Park Road South was ceremonially closed.[91]


Jamia Mosque, Waterloo Road
Jamia Mosque, Waterloo Road

The Islamic community is represented in several mosques in Middlesbrough. Muslim sailors visited Middlesbrough from about 1890.[92] and, in 1961, Azzam and Younis Din opened the first Halal butcher shop.[92] The first mosque was a house in Grange Road in 1962.[92] The Al-Madina Jamia Mosque, on Waterloo Road, the Dar ul Islam Central Mosque, on Southfield Road, and the Abu Bakr Mosque & Community Centre,[93] which is on Park Road North.


The Sikh community established its first gurdwara (temple) in Milton Street in 1967.[92] After a time in Southfield Road, the centre is now in Lorne Street and was opened in 1990.[92]


There is a Hindu Cultural Centre in Westbourne Grove, North Ormesby, which was opened in 1990.[92]

Television and filmography

Middlesbrough has featured in many television programmes, including The Fast Show, Inspector George Gently, Steel River Blues, Spender, Play for Today (The Black Stuff; latterly the drama Boys from the Blackstuff) and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.[68]

Film director Ridley Scott is from the North East and based the opening shot of Blade Runner on the view of the old ICI plant at Wilton. He said: “There's a walk from Redcar … I'd cross a bridge at night, and walk above the steel works. So that's probably where the opening of Blade Runner comes from. It always seemed to be rather gloomy and raining, and I'd just think “God, this is beautiful.” You can find beauty in everything, and so I think I found the beauty in that darkness.” It has been claimed that the site was also considered as a shooting location for one of the films in Scott's Alien franchise.[94]

In the 2009 action thriller The Tournament Middlesbrough is that year's location where the assassins' competition is being held. In November 2009, the mima art gallery was used by the presenters of Top Gear as part of a challenge. The challenge was to see if car exhibits would be more popular than normal art.[95]

In 2010, filmmaker John Walsh made the satirical documentary ToryBoy The Movie about the 2010 general election in the Middlesbrough constituency and sitting MP Stuart Bell's alleged laziness as an MP.[96][97][98]

In March 2013, Middlesbrough was used as a stand in for Newcastle 1969 in BBC's Inspector George Gently starring Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby; the footage appeared in the episode "Gently Between The Lines" (episode 1 of series 6).



Riverside Stadium
Riverside Stadium

Middlesbrough FC is a Championship football team, owned by local haulage entrepreneur Steve Gibson and managed by Neil Warnock. The 34,000 capacity[99][100] Riverside Stadium is owned and host to home games by the club since 1995, when they left Ayresome Park. Founder members of the Premier League in 1992, Middlesbrough won the Football League Cup in 2004,[101] and were beaten finalists in the 2005-06 UEFA Cup.[102] In 1905, they made Britain's first £1,000 transfer when they signed Alf Common from local rivals Sunderland.[103] Middlesbrough Ironopolis FC was briefly based in the town during the late 19th century, it later dissolved.

Middlesbrough RUFC, founded in 1872 having have played their home games at Acklam Park since 1929, and Acklam RUFC are in Durham/ Northumberland Division One. Both are members of Yorkshire Rugby Football Union.


Middlesbrough hosts multiple road races through the year, including the annual Middlesbrough 10k (formerly Tees Pride 10k) road race. First held in 2005, the one-lap circuit event and associated fun runs were held in the Acklam area of the town before being moved to the town centre in 2021.[104][105]

Speedway racing was staged at Cleveland Park Stadium from 1928 until the 1990s, with the Middlesbrough Bears.

On 1 May 2016, Middlesbrough hosted the start of Stage 3 to the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire. The stage and race ended in Scarborough.[106]


Middlesbrough Golf Club
Middlesbrough Golf Club

Middlesbrough Cricket Club have played at Acklam Park since 1930 and play in North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League.

Tees Valley Mohawks and Teesside Lions basketball teams play in the NBL Division 3. Athletics has two local clubs serving Middlesbrough and the surrounding area, Middlesbrough-and-Cleveland Harriers and Middlesbrough AC (Mandale). Training facilities at the Middlesbrough Sports Village opened in 2015, replacing Clairville Stadium.[107] Notable athletes to train at both facilities are World and European Indoor Sprint Champion Richard Kilty, British Indoor Long Jump record holder Chris Tomlinson and several British Internationals.[citation needed] The sports village includes a running track with grandstand, an indoor gym and café, football pitches, as well as a cycle circuit and velodrome. Next to the sports village is a skateboard park and Middlesbrough Tennis World.

Notable people

See also: List of people from Middlesbrough

Twinned towns

Middlesbrough is twinned with:


Middlesbrough has an oceanic climate typical for the United Kingdom. Being sheltered from prevailing south-westerly winds by both the Lake District and Pennines to the west and the Cleveland Hills to the south, Middlesbrough is in one of the relatively drier parts of the country, receiving on average 574 millimetres (22.6 inches) of rain a year. Temperatures range from mild summer highs in July and August typically around 21 °C (70 °F) to winter lows in December and January falling to around 0 °C (32 °F).

Seasonal variations are small and both the mild summers and cool winters are far removed from the average climates of the latitude (54.5°N). This is mainly due to the British Isles being a relatively small land mass surrounded by water, the mild south-westerly Gulf Stream air that dominates the British Isles, and also the propensity for cloud cover limiting temperature extremes. In nearby Scandinavia there are coastal Bothnian climates more than ten latitudes farther north with warmer summers than Middlesbrough, whereas winters in Middlesbrough can be less cold than that being found at similar latitudes in mainland Europe.

Climate data for Middlesbrough, England (1981–2010, Stockton-on-Tees Climate Station)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
Average low °C (°F) 0.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 41.1
Average precipitation days 9.9 8.1 8.4 8.2 9.0 8.7 9.1 9.8 8.0 9.8 11.8 10.6 111.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.8 71.3 102.7 132.4 174.6 168.3 170.6 160.7 125.9 93.3 59.8 45.5 1,360
Source: UK Met Office[111]

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Further reading