Smoggie is a colloquial term used to refer to people from the Teesside area of North East England. The term is also used to describe the local accent and dialect spoken in the area. The term relates to the area's notoriety for its high levels of pollution from local industry, which resulted in a thick smog that often blanketed the region. Despite popular belief that the term originates from the 1960s, its earliest recorded use is in the 1990s, as visiting football supporters from other areas of the country began to refer to the locals as "smog monsters", which was later shortened to "smoggies".[1] Despite its origins as a term of derision, "Smoggie" has since been adopted as a term of pride by many residents of Teesside.[1]


Originally, this was a term of abuse for supporters of Middlesbrough F.C. coined by their Sunderland A.F.C. counterparts. The name was meant to refer to the heavy air pollution once produced by the local petrochemical industry,[1][2] and from Dorman Long.[3] Though, at first, Smoggie was used as a pejorative term, it has become an example of reappropriation with many people now proudly calling themselves 'Smoggies'.[1]

Current usage

Primarily directed at people from Teesside, 'Smoggies' is often used to describe the areas of Teesside with a noticeable amount of industry.[4] The term was referred to by Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Tom Blenkinsop, in the House of Commons, and was recorded in Hansard, in July 2011.[5][1] Smoggies has occasional use as a nickname for Middlesbrough F.C.[6][5][7] In 2013 the Cleveland Art Society organised a major exhibition of the works of local artists entitled Smoggies Allowed in an Art Gallery.[8]


Due to the rapid growth of Teesside in the 19th century, Smoggie represents an example of new dialect formation and was influenced by Northumbrian, Yorkshire and Hiberno-English.[9] Despite its mixed origins, it is considered part of the urban North East dialect area, forming the 'Southern Urban North-Eastern English' dialect region including Hartlepool and Darlington.[10]



See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Pearce, Michael (2014). "'Not quite a Geordie': the folk-ethnonyms of north-east England" (PDF). Nomina. 37: 22–24.
  2. ^ Harley, Shaun (16 October 2007). "'I was made in Middlesbrough'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Middlesbrough and Teesside Accent Dialect and Slang". Love Middlesbrough - Middlesbrough Borough Council. 2012–2014. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Geordie: A regional dialect of English". British Library. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Teesside MP uses the word "smoggie" in Parliament speech". Evening Gazette (Teesside). 11 July 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  6. ^ Hancox, Dan (10 September 2009). "How is Britain coping with the recession? - Middlesbrough - Smoggies steel themselves". New Statesman. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Maximo Park fear for footy teams". BBC News. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Exhibition showcases work of Teesside artists". Middlesbrough Borough Council. 1 June 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b Kerswill, Paul (23 July 2018). "Dialect formation and dialect change in the Industrial Revolution: British vernacular English in the nineteenth century". In Wright, Laura (ed.). Southern English Varieties Then and Now. De Gruyter. pp. 8–38. ISBN 9783110577549.
  10. ^ a b c Beal, Joan C. (2012). Urban North-eastern English: Tyneside to Teesside (Dialects of English). Edinburgh University Press.
  11. ^ Williams & Kerswill (1999), pp. 143, 146.
  12. ^ Handbook of Varieties of English, p. 125, Walter de Gruyter, 2004
  13. ^ Williams & Kerswill (1999), pp. 146, 156–159.
  14. ^ "TeesSpeak: Dialect of the Lower Tees Valley". Lower Tees Dialect Group. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2021.