Excuse me but where is Middlesbrough?
Walk from North Ormesby
Sources and Resources
Only a Short Time in History
Memories of Parliament Road
Football on the Roof
St Patrick's Church
The Tees (Newport) Bridge
Don't Mention the War?
Laws Street Block
Albert Park and 'Owld 'Enry
An Ayresome Childhood
St Paul's School
Victoria St/Greta St Now
The 'New' Newport School
Newport Bombing 15 April 1942
Closing of St Paul's School
More Memories of Parliament Rd.
Round and About King George Street
Memories of Duncombe Street
Honeymans of Cannon Street
Sun Sea & Sand
Fox Heads Page 1
Why DOGGY Town??
Fox Heads Page 2
Memories of St Paul's
A Mohawk in Middlesbrough
Remembering Craven Street
Marsh Road School
Luftwaffe Over Middlesbrough
First World War Shell Explodes in Middlesbrough
Queries:Can You Help?
St Columba's Parish in the Sixties
More Street Games
Memories Baxter Street
Judith's Middlesbrough Childhood
Links for Newport, Middlesbrough
Four generations in the Park
My daughter, My two Grandsons, My Mother,Myself
Albert Park will always have a special place in my heart as, no doubt, it has in the hearts of many other Middlesbroughians. It was a place to go. A place we never got tired of. It had a recreation ground, a roller skating rink, a boating lake. For me, a kid from the garden-less, flagstoned terraces it had , above all, ‘proper green grass’. Not the coarse stringy stuff which we knew on Cooper Common or the even courser dull coloured variety where Billingham Beck joined the river but, proper soft, green grass, the sort you could nestle your face in. Our route as Marguerite Cook reports on another page on this site, was up Parliament Rd. I still visit the Park a few times each year. It’s almost a ‘pilgrimage’. Having taken my own children. I now take my grandchildren. It has such happy childhood memories for me that, half a century on, a stroll through Albert Park on a sunny afternoon can still chase away the blues.
Mention Albert Park and, more often than not, a happy association will be recounted. This is the sort of place it was, and, hopefully still is.
was the Chief Constable of Middlesbrough from 1956 and then led the Teesside Constabulary which took over from 1968. In 1974 this force too was subsumed into the larger Cleveland Constabulary headed by Ralph Davison until his retirement in 1976. (Thus he was the last Chief Constable of Middlesbrough,the only Chief Constable of Teesside and the first Chief Constable of Cleveland.)
When he was serving with the Liverpool Police Force he regularly came home to Saltburn to visit his mother and was greatly taken by Joyce Smith.who was nursing her. A stroll through Albert Park was the ideal opportunity to proffer the engagement ring, which was accepted.
story is typical of the warm memories associated with this veritable oasis of greenery.
My grandfather, Henry Rymer, was born in the house at the front of Albert Park as his father, also Henry, was park curator.I loved as a child listening to all the stories grandad told me about how really it was his back garden. He met my grandmother there whilst she was out walking one day. He took her to the greenhouses and presented her with an orchid they were growing. She must have been impressed as she married him!
Terry Greenberg * writes:-
Albert Park was a wonderful place for us. There was the playground, with its slides and swings, plenty of grass for rounders and meeting kids from other schools. You could watch tennis, bowls and putting. Early Sunday morning, my father would call me to go for a walk with him to the Park, he swinging his fancy walking stick (which I used later, with less style, when I was wounded in the leg). On Sunday afternoons, those of the age would parade in their Sunday best to those sitting on the benches near the main entrance.
Fishing for tiddlers in the Park lake was a favourite pastime. Sometimes, we stretched too far out and fell in the water. Some were lucky enough to have good toy yachts and toy motor boats. My yacht was always flopping on its side, so I had difficulty in retrieving it.
Those who could afford it would take a ride on the rowing boats at the back of Albert Park across from Park Vale Road.. There was a huge, open area with plenty of goalposts. Every patch was free for the taking by whoever got there first. Of course, there were a few tiffs here and there. On Saturdays, we would watch the big local lads. I remember one star called Bozomato. On Sundays, a group of us, all shapes and sizes, would arrive with a full size football. The big local lads would turn up in their best Sunday suits and caps and kick a ball around, as if they weren't supposed to be doing it.
Near the main entrance was the Dorman Museum. I liked the exhibits of flies, with warnings of the sickness they could bring. The stuffed animals were awesome.
On the wall near the park entrance were the names of those who fell during World War I. We found there the name of my mother's cousin, David Smollan.
*Terry's memories of Albert Park is taken, with his permission, from his memoirs published in full on the Kehilat Middlesbrough website
|We owe this beautiful park to a remarkable man. In fact he played a major role in shaping Middlesbrough itself.
In May 2005, taking photos in the park I was somewhat disconcerted to hear a youngish man say to his child,”Eeh, looka that fella’s ‘ead in a cage.” I was a bit more gratified to hear a later passerby comment affectionately,”Ah..There’s owld ‘Enry”.
Indeed it is ‘owld ‘Enry or, to be more exact, a bust of Henry William Ferdinand Bolckow placed now behind a protective wire grid. It is close to the main entrance of the Park because it was Bolckow who gave the Park to Middlesbrough.
This is not,of course, his sole achievement. It was thanks also to Bolckow that Middlesbrough got its first major hospital , the North Riding Infirmary on Newport Rd,( a building whose fate lies in the balance as I write. ) However the major part he played in the history of Middlesbrough and, indeed, Teesside as a whole, was in bringing the iron industry here.
Bolckow and Vaughan
|Henry Bolckow was a born on December 6th, 1806 in Sulten a small town in North Germany. not far from Rostock, a port on the Baltic coast. At the age of fifteen he went to work in a shipping office in Rostock where he made friends with a colleague,Christian Allhusen. Christian had a brother in the corn business in Newcastle-U-Tyne and he left Rostock to work there. He sent a letter back to Henry Bolckow along the lines of ‘this is the place to be if you want to earn a bob or two.’
So Henry went off to Newcastle where he did indeed make a bob or two having risen to the position of junior partner in the Allhusen Company. The firm had an office on the Quayside and a granary in Pandon St.
Did a Dual Courtship Decide Teesside's Future?
When Henry Bolckow was working on the Quayside, John Vaughan was the manager of the nearby Walker Iron Works so they may have met through local business connections.
However Henry met and courted Miriam Hay a widow who owned a tobacco shop on the Quayside. Miriam had a sister who was courted by John Vaughan,so they may have met this way. In any event Bolckow and Vaughan became close friends. They married their respective fiancees in 1840
Bolckow had the capital and Vaughan had the expertise and together the two decided to venture into the iron trade. The place they chose for their new business was Middlesbrough which was ideally placed on a river with a railway connection close to the Durham coalfield and limestone deposits in Cleveland. So in 1840 a small iron works was built in Vulcan Street. Although they would not have realised it at the time, Bolckow and Vaughan were probably the saviours of the new town of Middlesbrough which was a mere decade old.
Cleveland Buildings. This building was originally two houses, one occupied by Bolckow from 1841 to 1854 and the other by Vaughan from 1841 to 1858. It was only about 400 yards from their iron-works in Vulcan Street.
The Birth of Industrial Teesside
. If Teesside were to celebrate a collective ‘birthday’ then it would have to be September 27th because it was on this date in 1825 that the Stockton and Darlington Railway opened. This was the beginning of industrial Teesside. Originally the railway had been built to transport coal from the mines of South West Durham to sell in Darlington, Stockton and North Yorkshire.( In fact the railway started at Witton Park in South west Durham not Darlington.) The export potential of the Tees was soon exploited and coal was shipped out to further destinations.
The Vision of Joseph Pease
A Darlington Quaker, Joseph Pease, realised that extending the railway further down-river, where the water was deeper, would enable bigger ships to be used. The place selected was Middlesbrough probably the least significant hamlet on the River Tees. Pease formed a company with five Quaker associates, the Middlesbrough Owners, and a coal export town was built. The first house was built in April 1830 There seems to be some disagreement as to whether the Stockton-Darlington was the world’s first railway. It all seems to depend on the wording used...first railway or first public railway. However it is indisputable that Middlesbrough was the world’s first ever ‘railway town’ i.e. a town built specifically because of a new railway. The extension of the line to Middlesbrough was completed on 27th December 1830 and the first coals were loaded at the staithes on the 31st January 1831 The site of the actual coal staithes was named Port Darlington
A Threatened Future
At first the new town of Middlesbrough prospered. However its economic success was short lived. Middlesbrough had captured the coal trade from Stockton because of better port facilities but, within a decade, was now losing it by the same logic as a rival company had constructed a railway to Hartlepool on the coast. Coal was shipped from there from 1835. In 1841 the Stockton & Darlington carried 460,000 tons of coal but the Hartlepool Dock and Railway Company carried 615,000 tons. The construction of a bigger port facility at what was to become West Hartlepool, to be completed in 1842, threatened an even greater impact on Middlesbrough’s trade. Joseph Pease could foresee the town he had founded had a bleak future unless it diversified into new industries.He played an influential role in bringing Bolckow and Vaughan to the town.It is believed he heard that Bolckow & Vaughan were looking for a suitable site for an iron works and he visited them in Newcastle to persude them of the merits of Middlesbrough. He certainly ensured the Middlesbrough Owners sold them the necessary land very cheaply and also, as a director of the Stockton & Darlington , ensured orders for rails were placed with the new iron company.
|I took this photo (May 2005) looking south from the centre of what was the original town of Middlesbrough built in the 1830s. As you can see, sadly, nothing of it is left. (The ‘town centre’ of Middlesbrough shifted about mile south more than a century ago.)
In the distance are the Eston Hills. It was here June 8th, 1850 that iron ore was discovered. It had been long known that there was iron ore in North Yorkshire. Several Tyneside firms were using ore from the area around Whitby. Initially Bolckow & Vaughan did not produce iron . They imported pig iron from Scotland and, when they did decide to build their own blast furnace, it was at Witton Park in Durham not at Middlesbrough. The intention was to use the iron deposits found in the coal seams of the local mines. When these proved inadequate ore from Grosmont near Whitby was used. Transporting this ore via Whitby up the coast and the Tees to Middlesbrough, then by railway to Witton Park and then back to Middlesbrough as pig iron. proved costly. So Bolckow and Vaughan commissioned geologist John Marley to look for ore in the hills nearer Middlesbrough. John Marley and John Vaughan discovered a solid rock of bare ironstone 16 feet thick in the Eston Hills. Thereafter the growth of Middlesbrough and indeed Teesside was phenomenal.
Philanthropist or Ruthless Capitalist?
Possibly the answer to this question is "both". Initially Bolckow made his money in Newcastle by speculating in the corn trade. What this meant was buying up corn and keeping it off the market by storing it away. When the price rose it was then sold at an inflated profit. Given that many working people of the time were struggling to afford a simple loaf, it seems to be ruthless capitalism at its worst. As employers Bolckow and Vaughan were just as ready as any others to pay off or reduce wages when their profits were threatened.
On the other hand he did spend money on and devote time to the development of Middlesbrough. Albert Park was bought by him for the people of Middlesbrough. Legal considerations required it to be purchased in the name of Middlesbrough Corporation in its capacity as the Board of Health for the town but it was Bolckow who paid for the land and the cost of the construction and landscaping. The Park was officially opened on August 11th, 1869 by H.R.H. Prince Arthur, the youngest son of Queen Victoria. It had been suggested that the Park be named ‘Bolckow Park’ but he declined the honour and, instead,it was decided to name it for Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. (It was noted that Albert was a ‘fellow Prussian’ )
One of Bolckow’s other noteworthy gifts to the town was the North Riding Infirmary on Newport Road. Bolckow put up £5000 of the £7,875 it cost to build this hospital.
Thereafter the hospital costs were met by workers subscriptions and monies raised at charity events. However the firm of Bolckow and Vaughan paid the deficit in 1873 and when Bolckow died in 1878 he left a £ 5000 bequest from his estate.
I suppose it could be argued that Bolckow could easily afford to spend such sums from the wealth he had made but, of course, he did not need to.
When Middlesbrough became a municipality in 1853 it needed a council and the council needed to select a mayor. That mayor was Henry Bolckow. In 1868 Bolckow also became Middlesbrough's first Member of Parliament Although he had become a naturalized British subject in 1841 which made him eligible for most public offices, his foreign birth still made him ineligible to serve as an M.P. A Bill was put through Parliament to remove this obstacle. Although Bolckow stood as a Liberal he was elected unopposed. He was a strong supporter of Gladstone. He was opposed in 1876 by both a Conservative and Labour Representation candidate. Local brewing interests backed the Conservative candidate because of Bolckow's temperance views. He won convincingly.
Bolckow also served as a magistrate in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He became Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding He also served as a member of the River Tees Conservancy Commission, a body formed to improve navigation in Tees by dredging removing obstacles and digging channels.
Henry Bolckow and Stewart Park
|Henry Bolckow is also intimately connected with one of Middlesbrough’s other parks, namely Stewart Park in the south of the modern town. Originally it was Marton Estate owned by the Rudd family. However by the middle of the 19c it had fallen into disrepair. The Lodge built by Bartholomew Rudd had burnt down. Bolckow bought the estate in 1853 and had Marton Hall built as his family home in 1858. The Park we see today is still largely as landscaped by Bolckow.
Stewart Park:- named for Councillor Stewart who bought the estate in 1928 and presented it as a Park to the people of Middlesbrough.
James Cook's Birthplace Cottage
|James Cook, the explorer, was born in the vicinity of what is now Stewart Park on the 27th October 1728. In 1786 Bartholomew Rudd had dismantled this cottage when he had the Marton Lodge built but had marked out its site with flint stones. James Cook was the son of a lowly farm labourer. This is an artist's impression of the cottage|
|When Henry Bolckow had Marton Hall built he had a commemorative vase placed on the site of the cottage.|
|There is little left of Marton Hall, the Bolckow residence just some outer colonades and steps.|
Searching for Cook's Cottage
In May 2005 Teesside Archaeology conduct a dig to locate the cottage in which James Cook was born and the remains of East Marton Village of which it was a part.
The Death of Henry Bolckow
Henry Bolckow began to suffer from kidney disease in 1877. He had been in London attending Parliament but was unable to fulfil his duties as an M.P. as he was confined to his London home. In May 1878 he was taken to Ramsgate as it was believed the sea air would be good for him. He did seem to make a temporary recovery but had a relapse and died on June 18th at the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate. He was 70 years old. His dying wish was to be buried in Marton Cemetery where he was intered on June 22nd. 1878. This was a fitting place. Ten years earlier his friend and partner ,John Vaughan had been buried there. (September 9th 1868). The inscription on Bolckow’s grave reads
Blessed are the Peace Makers for they shall be called the Children of God
When I first constructed this page the graves of both Henry Bolckow and John Vaughan were somewhat neglected. This was St Cuthbert's Church in Marton in 2005 (The fallen columns,bottom left, were from the Vaughan Family Plot.) However as I explain in the updated footnotes this has been remedied.
|Perhaps it would have been better if Albert Park it had been named Bolckow Park because then ,at least,the name would have had some familiarity for the people of Middlesbrough. As it is,there is precious little commemoration to bring him to the modern citizen’s attention. A statue was commissioned . This was erected by the Royal Exchange where, at that time Marton Road met Wilson Street creating a triangular area.
In 1925 this triangular area became the station for Middlesbrough Corporation buses and the statue was removed to Albert Park. In 1985 the bus station was closed and the Royal Exchange building demolished. The A66 required part of the area.Exchange Square was constructed out of what had been left. The Council decided to move the statue to Exchange Square diagonally opposite the railway station.
I think, in retrospect, this was a mistake.. Exchange Square is an impressive location and the statue does look imposing there. However Exchange Square is no longer the important junction that it was. Indeed it is a rather out of the way place on the opposite side of the A66 from the main part of the town. I remember the statue from when it was in Albert Park. In truth I did not know exactly what Henry Bolckow was to Middlesbrough but , at least, I knew the name and knew he was someone important to the town. Now his statue will only be seen, for the most part, by people who go specifically to see it. It needs to be in a busier part of the town not hidden away from the main thoroughfares by the support arches of the A66.
Not even a Street Name!!!
|There was once a long street stretching from Boundary Rd to Linthorpe Rd named Bolckow Street Next but one, and parallel, to it was Vaughan Street. Both these streets were demolished to make way for the Hill Street Centre, a shopping mall. True enough Hill Street was replaced as well. I intend no disrespect to the momory of Richard Hill who established the Marsh Road Wire works if, indeed, Hill Street was named for him ,(or was it John Hill of John Hill & Co Ironworks?) but couldn't it have been better named the Bolckow and Vaughan Centre?
There is a short length of Vaughan Street remaining. In fact it leads to the east entrance to the mall and its name plate is still there.
|Bolckow Street is now a truncated section of the original and is mainly an access road to the rear of the shopping mall. It isn't even graced with a name plate. |
Missing Statues (temporarily and permanently)
|Still there is a fine statue of Henry Bolckow and another of John Vaughan. John Vaughan's statue is usually in Victoria Square next to the Town Hall.
Another Victoria Square statue is that of Samuel Sadler pioneer of Teesside's Chemical Industry. Both these statues at present (summer 2005) are safely in store whilst Victoria Square is redeveloped.
But, unbelieveably, if you want to see a statue of Joseph Pease, the man who founded Middlesbrough, you'll have to go to Darlington. There isn't one in Middlesbrough!!
This is a replica bust of Henry Bolckow in the foyer of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. (Special thanks to Senior Curator Phil Philo for enabling this)
Henry Bolckow:Founder of Teesside: Ronn Gott 1968
Middlesbrough's Albert Park: History, Heritage & Restoration.
Norman Moorsom:Wharncliffe Books 2002 isbn 1-903425-22-0
Teesside's Economic Heritage
G.A.North published in 1975 by the then Cleveland County Council.
Central Middlesbrough: Paul Stephenson:Middlesbrough Libraries 2003
St Cuthbert's Church Yard Restoration
| I am now delighted to see that considerable work has been put in to the restoration of the whole of the church yard of St Cuthberts including the graves of both Bolckow and Vaughan and must congratulate all whose efforts have achieved this. (I would also thank Pauline W for bringing this to my notice).
Bolckow Family Plot
The Vaughan Family Plot
St Cuthberts ,Marton
|Of course, the other important association with the local history is the baptism of James Cook, son of a farm labourer in St Cuthberts on 3rd November 1728|
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