MIDDLESBROUGH : Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.
Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) - County and Parliamentary Borough - Poor Law Union, and County Court District of Middlesbrough - Petty Sessional Division of Langbaurgh North - Rural Deanery of Middlesbrough - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
The Municipal and Parliamentary borough of Middlesbrough - termed by the Right Hon. William E. Gladstone, M.P., "the youngest child of England's greatness" - like West Hartlepool, Barrow-in-Furness, and many other places between the Humber and the Tweed - affords striking proof of the skill and enterprise of the men of the North of England, who are, in this nineteenth century, what their adventurous countrymen between the South Channel and the Severn were in the days of Shakspere. But of the earliest history of Middlesbrough, highly interesting as it undoubtedly would have been could it have been recovered, nothing has been chronicled.
Long before the well disciplined legions of imperial Rome penetrated into those parts - and we must remember that the North of England was the last portion of the land to be conquered - every part of Cleveland was well populated by the brave Brigantes, as is evidenced by the immense numbers of their tumuli, or grave-hills, as well as of those pits which yet remain to show where their warriors had formed their entrenchments, even on the hills within sight, and not many miles distant, from Middlesbrough: and though all traces of their towns in the forests, as well as of their burials on the plains, have disappeared through so many centuries of the cultivation of the soil, British remains have often been found in the vicinage; and that they navigated the river here, with such frail vessels as they possessed, is proved by the rude canoe, twenty-two feet long by some eighteen inches wide, which had been hollowed out of the solid trunk of a tree, and which, after laying buried in the earth for two or three thousand years, was found a little to the south of the present bed of the stream, only a few miles higher up the Tees. Though no Roman remains are known to have been found at Middlesbrough, several have been met with in the district, the remains of the hypocaust at Sexhow showing that there had been a hot bath there, and therefore an occupation of Cleveland; and during the 289 years (AD. 117 to 406) in which the famous Sixth Legion was stationed at York, they appear to have constructed more military roads than can be traced in the Geography of Claudius Ptolemy, the Itinera of Antonius, the Notitia, or even the Chororagraphy of Ravennas; and one of those roads run from York, by way of Stillington, Yearsley, Oldstead, Hambleton Hills, and Whorlton-in-Cleveland, either to Eston Nab or some place in this neighbourhood. The Rev. John Graves, as late as 1808, states:- " There are some faint traces here [that is at Middlesbrough] of some ancient entrenchment or fortification, which probably gave name to the place, and is conjectured to be of Roman origin; but there is no historical evidence, nor have we met with any distinguishing marks of that people to support the conjecture."
During the so-called Saxon and Danish invasions (or Danish and Saxon, for it is hard to determine which of those pirates plundered Cleveland first), and those murderous broils between the marauders which John Milton compares to "the fights between the kites and crows," the place was sure to be repeatedly peopled and devastated; and when Harold Hardrada, the pirate king of Norway, landed his plundering forces in 1066, before he got the few "feet of earth" which our English Harold had promised him at Stamford Bridge, "Cleveland," as the late genial Professor Phillips expresses it, "first felt the fury of the Norsemen, perhaps supplied them with horses; Whitby suffered by their visit; Scarborough withstood them in vain.
Middlesbrough is not mentioned by its present or any similar name in that invaluable aid to local historians, the Domesday Survey, completed A.D., 1086; but it is no unreasonable conjecture that it formed one of the two manors entered therein under the head of Acklam, which adjoins it; and of which parish both Graves and Ord, in their "Histories of Cleveland"; Langdale, in his "Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire"; and Lawton, "one of the proctors of the ecclesiastical court at York," in his "Collections relative to Churches and Chapels within the Diocese," etc. - all valuable works in many respects - have erroneously represented as forming a portion. Even Burnett and Hood's "Handbook and Directory of Middlesbrough, etc." in 1874, the "fourth year of publication," but long since defunct, speaks of "the transmutation, during the last fifty years, of the very inconsiderable township or chapelry of Middlesbrough, in the northern extremity of the parish of Acklam. . . into the 'Iron Metropolis' of the world." It appears to have been the manor where, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, A.D. 1042-1066, Edmund, the Saxon possessor, had a caracute of land to be taxed, and which Robert Mallett, a Norman, held, after the Conquest, as homager of Robert de Brus, but which had been laid waste, like many other parts of Cleveland, in the desolating wars of the period. This same Robert Mallett also held land close by in Linthorpe, then called Levingtorp, as a vassal of Roger de Mowbray.
The name of Middlesbrough was formerly written variously in old documents as Midelesburg, Middlesburc, Midlesburch, Midlesbured (probably the d having been a slip of the pen and intended for h), Midlesbure, Midelesburc, Midelsburg, Midlesburg, Midlesbur, Midelesbur, Midlesburc, Midelburgh, Midelesburc, Midelburg, Midelsburh, Mildeburg, Middelburg, Medilsburgh, Middisburgh, Middelsburgh, Middilburghe, Middilsburghe, and Midelburghe: for there was no fixed method of spelling even the names of places in those days, and antiquaries are well aware that uniformity was not adopted even in the same document. It is a name which might possibly be imported by some early Flemish immigrant, who called the place of his adoption after Middelberg in Zeeland: but much more probably like its near neighbour Airsome, then called Arusum, by the Scandinavian settlers, who named so many places for many miles around after their old homes in Jutland, Norway, and elsewhere, as a careful study of place-names will soon show. Burg signified a fortified place; and Graves, as we have just seen, informs us that, as late as 1808, there were then existing "some faint traces of an ancient entrenchment," from which he conjectured it might have derived its name. The immense quantities of human bones found on the foundation of modern Middlesbrough, seem to indicate some fearful slaughter having taken place there at a remote period of which we possess no record; and the large mound of earth which was removed many years ago from a field called the Garths, near Acklam church, may have been but a portion of the Middlesbrough entrenchments.
In the autumn of 686 - only fifty-eight years after Paulinus had introduced Christianity into Yorkshire, which had given to the poor slaves rest on one day in every seven, which, on being refused by their masters, was to entitle them to their entire freedom - the aged St. Cuthbert, as Bishop of Lindisfarne, dedicated a church, which Dr. Young conjectures to have been at Middlesbrough, for the Princess Ælfleda, "the daughter of an illustrious monarch, the granddaughter of one still more famous, the sister of three kings, and of two queens," then the pious Abbess of Streoneshalh (Whitby), where her mother, Queen Eanfleda, had resided with her since the death of King Oswy, in 670. If Young's conjecture be correct - and he was a careful and skilful antiquary - who can say that Middlesbrough has no ancient history? The church which Cuthbert consecrated, whether it had before been a pagan temple or was newly erected, would be of timber, or with wattled walls, like the wicker-work of a basket, and roofed with reeds; and the palaces of our kings were then the same; for the art of architecture, which the Romans had introduced, was lost, and our rude Anglo-Saxon ancestors were incompetent to produce permanent buildings, and even too barbarous to preserve those they found on their arrival. Not one of those noble castles and monasteries which for centuries have been in ruins, amongst whose mouldering stones generation after generation have so delighted to meditate, had then been erected. Where Westminster Abbey and Hall and the Houses of Parliament now stand, was then a miserable marsh, overgrown with thorns and briars, quite in the country. On the site of York Minster, was a plain wooden oratory; and on that of Durham Cathedral, sheep and cattle were quietly grazing; and not one of those fine cathedrals which now beautify the land - dearest of all to the true Freemason as "poems in stone" from the active brains and lissom fingers of his ancient operative brethren - had been begun. We know with certainty that, shortly after the Conquest, there was a church here, dedicated to Ælfieda's tutor from early infancy, and predecessor as abbess, the Lady Hilda, which Robert de Brus the Second, Agnes, daughter of Fulk Pagnell, his wife, and their son and heir, Adam de Brus, having founded and richly endowed a Priory of Augustine Canons at Guisborough in 1119, about the same time, presented to the Benedictine Abbey of Whitby, endowing it with evidently the same carucate of land there which we have just seen Robert Mallett holding of the Brus fee, and with two carucates and two oxgangs of land in Newham, on condition that as many monks from the abbey as the income would maintain should reside at Middlesbrough, to pray for the souls of the founders for ever, and those of their ancestors and heirs. This charter was confirmed to the abbey in 1130 - shortly before the abbeys of Rievaulx, Fountains, Byland, or Kirkstall were founded - by Archbishop Thurstan; and Middlesbrough was ordered "to be a cell for their monks, free and clear from every episcopal usuage." Other endowments followed apace, at Acklam, Airsome, Cargo Fleet (then called Caldecotes, or the cold cottages), Coleby, Linthorpe, Marton, Middlesbrough, Ormesby, Thornaby, and Tolesby, from various benefactors, besides which the monks enjoyed the tithes of many other lands in the near neighbourhood of their cell. "This cell," says Dr. Young, "where twelve or more monks probably resided, had its own prior, who is named both in the register and in the rolls; and it had also its own compotus, distinct from that of the abbey."
In the year 1133 - when Henry the First was visiting that Normandy, from whose Dukes he derived his paternal blood, though a Yorkshireman by birth, and his elder brother, Robert, was gradually sinking under his long and cruel captivity in Cardiff Castle; when Athelwulph was founding the See of Carlisle, of which he was the first bishop; and the cell of Middlesbrough had only existed some thirteen years - a dispute took place between the prior and canons of Guisborough and the abbot and monks of Whitby, regarding certain temporalities, tithes, mortuaries, and such like, which the Benedictine monks at Whitby claimed because Robert de Brus had given them the church at Middlesbrough to form a cell to their abbey, as we have just seen, and which the Augustine canons at Guisborough also claimed, because their founder, the same Robert de Brus, had given them the church at Stainton, to which Middlesbrough appears previously to have been a dependent chapelry, and not to Acklam. The matter was settled by arbitration, by Robert de Brus, the founder of both cell and priory; and by his two sons, Adam de Brus, afterwards lord of Skelton, and Robert de Brus, afterwards lord of Annandale, and ancestor of the royal Bruces of Scotland; and by Hugh, Archdeacon of Cleveland; Arnold de Percy and his two sons; and others; in the presence of William de Brus, first prior of Guisborough, and brother of the founder; and of Nicholas, the second abbot of Whitby, who both agreed to the same. Since the formation of their cell at Middlesbrough, the monks of Whitby had received all the tithes and all the parish dues, except for burials, of twelve carucates of land, particularised hereafter; and the canons of Guisborough had only received the fees for the burials of the dead belonging to those twelve carucates of land, but now sought to dispossess the monks of all the tithes and parish dues as well. Whereupon it was decided, that henceforth the monks should enjoy their chapel at Middlesbrough as a mother church, without any claim from Stainton whatever. That to prevent all future squabbles between the Benedictine monks and the Augustine canons, the former should have allotted all the tithes, parish dues, and burial fees, belonging to their own carucate at Middlesbrough, the four carucates which were then the freehold of John Ingleram, at Airsome, and the carucate at Linthorpe, then the freehold of Mallet, for which he was the homager of Roger de Mowbray. And to the canons of Guisborough were allotted the three carucates which were the freehold of Alfred, the homager of Robert de Brus; that carucate which was then the freehold of Robert Esturmith; that carucate which was then the freehold of Mallet, and for which he was the homager of Robert de Brus; and also that carucate which was their own property in Airsome. So that seven hundred and fifty-six years ago - a hundred and ninety-five years before the birth of Chaucer, four hundred and thirty-one years before the birth of Shakspere, and seven hundred and thirty odd years before the establishment of courts of arbitration in the iron trade - ancient Middlesbrough set an admirable example to the world by settling her disputes by arbitration.
It is possible that what we now call Middlesbrough may have been one of the twelve manors purchased by Ælflelda's father, King Oswy, in fulfilment of his vow for the victory over Penda, wherewith to erect monasteries, when he devoted her, an infant in arms, to the care of St. Hilda, to be reared as a nun. The monastery of Streoneshalh was destroyed by the Danes under Ivar, during their conquest of the kingdom of Northumbria in 867 - the year after that in which St. Cuthbert dedicated the church for Ælfleda - and lay desolate for 207 years, during which time its possessions would be alienated from the church. But during the two centuries which had elapsed before Reinfrid, the monk of Evesham - who, probably, had himself helped to desolate the district with fire and sword in 1069, as a soldier of the Norman Conqueror, when that monarch ordered all to be laid waste from York to Durham - began, in 1074, to restore the abbey in much greater splendour than before, great changes had taken place: the good King Alfred, unable too often to cope with the successive hordes of Norsemen who lived by plunder, with far-seeing wisdom gave to them this part of England, on condition that they should settle on the land, and lead industrious and Christian lives; and a town, bearing the Danish name of Whitby, had grown up beneath the cliff on which the ruined monastery stood. The Normans themselves were but Northmen who had been settled for a few generations in "the garden of France"; to which having penetrated up the Seine, under the command of a banished semi-barbarous Norwegian pirate, called Rolla, in the days of our King Alfred, and the French being unable to expel them, they were allowed, on certain conditions, to peacefully remain there, like their relatives in the North of England; and it is astonishing how soon a love of architecture developed itself among the descendants of those Vikings, who had no homes but the vessels which conveyed them on those plundering excursions, by which alone they lived. The Normans had embraced the profession of Christianity, but little of its practice; and the building of churches and founding of monasteries were accounted by them more Christian actions than following the example and precepts of Christ. Thus, William de Percy - who, at the time, held Whitby under the Conqueror's nephew, Hugh Lupus, the first Earl of Chester (to whom had been granted the forfeited lands of Gospatric, who had fled into Scotland after the Saxon defeat at the battle of Hastings) - received his former fellow-soldier with open arms, and at once persuaded Earl Hugh to give up to Reinfrid, and the Benedictine monks who had joined him, the ruined abbey there, and set about restoring it in greater beauty than before. It is even possible that the church of Fleinesburg, mentioned in the transcript of Earl Hugh's charter, may have been meant for Middlesburg, and not for Flambrough, there being no proof whatever that the latter church ever belonged to Whitby Abbey; and we find it afterwards given by William Fitz-Nigel to Bridlington Priory, which could not have been done had it already belonged to the monks of Whitby. Be this as it may, under the potent patronage of the Percys, one of whom early became abbot, searching inquiries were sure to be made regarding the lost possessions of the former abbey; and, probably, Robert de Brus's gift of the church at Middlesbrough to Whitby Abbey, at the very time when he was founding and endowing the priory of a rival order at Guisborough, was but a restitution prompted as much by policy as by piety. The only monk of Middlesbrough of which we know much more than the name, was Roger, a native of Scarborough, who had spent his early years here, and in 1221 witnessed an agreement between Matilda, the daughter of Henry de Percy, of Battersby, and Whitby Abbey, as "Roger of Midilsburgh," and the following year was elected as the eighth Abbot of Whitby, which dignity he held till his death in 1244. Lionel Charlton, a member of the Society of Friends, bestows upon him the following eloquent eulogium:-
"This Roger was born at Scarbrough, but resided many years in the cell at Middleburgh church, whence arose the universal veneration everybody in that part of the County had for him, and the many donations made from thence to the monastery of Whitby during the time of his reign. He was undoubtedly a man of great abilities, and no abbot of Whitby ever equalled him, or so much advanced the interest of the monastery there. Richard, indeed, was much respected, and acquired a great character among the monks, but was neither so popular nor so active as Roger. Richard was a still, quiet, devout man, who seldom talked much on any topic but religion: Roger spoke more, but was an upright, honest man, without dissimulation, who regularly performed all the duties of religion; free, open, and devoid of pride, his behaviour engaged and endeared him to all with whom he had any dealings; and the charities he bestowed were always so well chosen and timed, that they added to his reputation, and gained him fresh supplies of money, and continual liberalities from the whole country for many miles round; and though it does not appear that he ever was called up to Parliament as a Lord, no nobleman in England was more revered and respected. During the twenty-two years of his reign, he raised the monastery of Whitby to the full zenith of its glory; for never did it make so illustrious a figure as when governed by Roger, nor ever after his death did it gain any considerable additions either of riches or power. Finally, he was an ornament to his profession, and perhaps merits an eulogy or encomium more than any other ecclesiastic who ever resided at Whitby."
What substantial facts good old Charlton may have had for a portion of the foregoing panegyric, or how far his somewhat lively imagination may have borne him away from that stern truth which should distinguish the historian from the romancer, it is hard to say; but after Roger of Middlesbrough left the cell there to preside in the abbot's chair, he seems to have led an active life, and to have kept a watchful eye over the pecuniary interests of his monastery. In 1225, within three years of his election to the abbatcy, he compelled the Prœmonstratensian canons of Shap Abbey, then called Hepp, in Westmoreland, which Thomas, the son of Cospatric, or Gospatric, had founded about seventy-five years before, to pay tithes for some land which they were cultivating on the Crosby-Ravensworth side of the brook Lyvennate, the church of which parish had been presented to Whitby Abbey, in 1140, by Thorsine de Alvertain, son of Uctred, and grandson of Gospatric, the nobleman who bought the Earldom of Northumberland from the Conqueror, when Copsi, the five weeks' Earl, was slain by that Osulph whom he had supplanted; and the canons of Shap were bound for the future to pay "six skepfuls of merchantable oatmeal" every year. Two years later, in 1227, we find him entering an action against his namesake, Roger, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Rievaulx, and the monks there, restraining them from enclosing any more waste land at Cayton, near Scarborough, without the permission of Whitby Abbey. About 1231, we find him at law with Susannah, the prioress of Baysdale, and the Cistercian nuns there, regarding the tithes of Nunthorpe, six miles from the cell at Middlesbrough, from which "thorp" the nunnery first founded at Hutton Lowcross by Ralph de Neville had recently removed, but where they still held lands, from the tithes of which he won a portion as belonging to the parish church of Great Ayton, which had been given, with its dependent chapel at Nunthorpe, to Whitby Abbey, by Robert and Stephen de Meinill: and it also appears to have been in his time, that a moiety of the tithes of lambs, wool, milk, and pigs, from the house of William, son of Walter de Mowbray, at Tanton, then called Tameton, were won in like manner from Laurence of Wilton, the rector of Stokesley; the house being declared in Stokesley parish, and a pasture (probably at Tunstall adjoining) where the cattle of the lord of Tanton grazed, in that of Great Ayton.
Of the other Middlesbrough monks but little can now be ascertained. One, named William, seems to have been chaplain here during Roger's abbacy. In 1267, Ralph of Middlesbrough was senesehall of Whitby Abbey, whose duty it would be to hold courts for the abbot, pay money into the exchequer, look after the guests, and who would have a servant to wait upon him. About 1315, we find that a William of Middlesbrough had doffed off the black tunic of the Benedictine monks, and donned the white one of the Augustine canons, and was presiding over the priory at Guisborough. And in 1393, Thomas of Hawkesgarth, then prior of Middlesbrough, attended at Whitby to give his vote in the election of an abbot, on the death of John of Richmond, when Peter of Hartlepool, the bursar or treasurer of the monastery, was elected to the vacant chair.
Though various avocations, besides saying masses and prayers eight times a day, were generally pursued by the monks - who, as a body, were our best farmers and gardeners, and sometimes manufacturers as well, in the middle ages, literally making, to use the language of Isaiah, many a wilderness and solitary place to be glad for them, and the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose - they evidently were not always the cultivators of their own glebe, as we find the abbot and convent of Whitby, in 1260, letting to Ralph of Middlesbrough, son of William of Foxton, a toft and a croft (in other words, a house and a field behind it), for a yearly rent of two shillings, one shilling to be paid every Whitsuntide, and one shilling more every Martinmas; and that they were not opposed to tenant-rights is proved by the conclusion of their charter, - " that it might remain stable and firm for ever, they set their chapter seal to this record." This toft and croft, with their appurtenances, are described as being in the town of Middlesbrough, "being that which Robert, son of Benedict, formerly held of them in that town."
This is all that we can now see, when we look through the half-opaque glass of history, of the long-departed monks of Middlesbrough. For seven centuries after the foundation of their cell, and for nearly three hundred years after it had been ruthlessly seized upon by the English Bluebeard, the Tees, when the tide was in, flowed twice a day to the very foot of the elevated ground on which the church and priory stood, its waters less contaminated, and consequently much more transparent, than now; and often might the monks angle, or set their lines with baited hooks, to catch the fish which formed so important a portion of their food; and they would watch the numbers of small ships sailing past between the German Ocean and Yarm, then the great emporium of the commerce of the district, with its hospital and house of Black Friars, and even sending two members to Parliament in 1295. And if the great ship which Bishop Pudsey caused to be made in 1189, seventy years after the formation of their cell, was built at Portrack, a little higher up the river, when the proud prelate purposed accompanying Richard Coeur de Lion to the Crusades, we may be sure that the monks of Middlesbrough were gazing with eager eyes to see Robert of Stockton steering it past, with full sails set to the breeze, on its way to London. Great portions of the grand old forest from which Acklam - the hamlet among the oaks - derives its name, gigantic remains of which have often been found, both buried in the Tees and beneath the soil on land, would then be showing their green leaves abundantly all summer long, whilst birds built and sang, and squirrels disported among the branches; and the large marshes all round the monastery, which never were drained until modern Middlesbrough was built, though giving forth miasma abundantly from their stagnant waters, would be covered with aquatic plants, amongst which the booming bittern and numerous waterfowl would breed; and wildflowers would lavishly adorn all within sight of the cell, even up to its very doors. And yet all the beauty in the skies above them and on the earth all round, seems to have inspired no Cedmon among them with the sacred gift of song! Nevertheless, as it is a much higher thing to live poetry than merely to write it, one charitably hopes that many of them did so, and thus dismisses. them to that oblivion which some day must shroud us all.
In the taxation of Pope Nicholas the Fourth, made about 1292, which was a grant, from that Pope to King Edward the First, of one-tenth of the possessions of the church, to bear the expense of an expedition to the Holy Land, the priory of Middlesbrough was valued at £5; and in the "Valor Ecclesiasticus" of Henry the Eighth, in 1535, Middlesbrough Priory is valued at £21 3s. 8d. a year; the site of the cell and lands in the prior's own hand being put down at the yearly value of thirty shillings; the lands and buildings let out to tenants at Middlesbrough are valued at a hundred shillings; those at Linthorpe, at eighteen shillings and sixpence; at Coleby, five shillings; at Marton, eighteen shillings; and the tithes of corn, hay, lambs, small tithes, and offerings at the chapel belonging to the cell, are said to average forty-eight shillings and twopence a year. Out of this income, the monks of Middlesbrough had to pay seven shillings and sixpence yearly to the Archdeacon of Cleveland, "for sinodals and procurations ;" twenty shillings a year as the fee of Robert Hansell, the bailiff of Middlesbrough; and fifty-two shillings a year "in alms of old distributed to the poor at Midleburgh, for the soul of Robert Bruse, founder of that cell, and those of his heirs, every week, in money, twelve pence, to which they are bound for ever by the foundation of the same cell," though we find no mention of that benefaction in the foundation charter. In 1535, there were only two or three monks resident at Middlesbrough.
But the day was now come when all the monasteries in England were to be dissolved, and masses and doles were no longer to be offered for the repose of the souls of those who had left such liberal endowments for the purpose; the monks and nuns who consented to give up all the worldly wealth of their respective houses to the king being pensioned for life by him, and those who refused being executed as traitors. Much of the early piety of the monastics had undoubtedly departed with their poverty; worldly riches had corrupted them, as in all ages and climes they have ever done every church which has been tried by them; visitors were sent to every abbey and priory to strictly inquire into the reports of gross immorality practised by their inmates, who no doubt made the most of them; but as the power of the church was rather a dangerous thing to play with, they reported all the weakest monasteries, having incomes below two hundred pounds a year, so awfully corrupt that it was absolutely necessary to suppress them, as true piety only abounded among the larger and more powerful bodies.*
* It must be admitted that all these charges of gross immorality, &c., were based on the ex parte evidence of paid emissaries, who were deputed for the purpose of discovering or inventing pretexts for plundering the Church. This was a proceeding so manifestly unjust, that no future sovereign can dare to imitate it with impunity. - Editor.
An Act of Parliament was accordingly passed, in 1536, to dissolve them, and give their possessions to the king. Had the Priory of Middlesbrough been an independent monastery, it would have fallen then, like its neighbours at Baysdale, Easby, near Richmond, Eggleston, Grosmont, Handale, Rosedale, and others. As it was, the days of the wealthier monasteries were also numbered, and a careful observer could easily perceive that Harry's grasping hand would soon seize upon all the remainder, for whose possessions his avarice now longed. The Austin canons of Kirkham, with an income of some £300 a year, had surrendered in 1535, and the prior had been pensioned with £50 a year for life; whilst his brother Austin prior of Bridlington, like the abbots of Fountains, Jervaulx, Rievaulx, and Sawley, for rebellion against this wholesale robbery of the church and the poor, were hung in 1537, and their monastic possessions at once seized upon. Seeing no help for it, most of the monastics were anxious to save themselves from the awful tortures then, and for long after, inflicted in the execution of traitors, and to be kept from starvation by such pensions as they could obtain by compliance. Lionel Charlton says of the surrender of Whitby Abbey to the King (which really took place December 14th, 1539, not 1540, only eight days before that of Guisborough Priory):-
"At Whitby, finding the abbot, John Hexham, little disposed to humour his inclinations, or make a surrender, he alleged the monks there had been concerned in the many treasonable practices and rebellions, which, of late, were carried on against his person and government in Yorkshire and the North of England; for which reason he ordered all the revenues of their monastery to be sequestered, and seized into his hands. The abbot endeavoured, but all in vain, to vindicate his own behaviour, and that of his convent, from those aspersions which were thrown upon them; the king continued inexorable, and lent a deaf ear to all their remonstrances; on which Hexham, in the year 1538, resigned his power into the hands of the chapter, from whom he had received it, and once more became a private monk in Whitby Abbey. This was the very thing that Henry and his agents wished for; and, in a few days after his resignation, Henry de Vall, the prior of Whitby, who was entirely disposed to humour the court in every thing they could desire, was elected abbot in his stead: on which, application being made to the king, by the prior of Gysborowe, in behalf of this late elected abbot, he was pleased to order the restitution of the revenues and temporalities belonging to Whitby Abbey; but this was only to pave the way for a dissolution of the monastery; for Lord Thomas Cromwell, Dr. Lee, and others, did so practise with the abbot, that, on the 14th day of December, 1540 [should be 1539] he, and the convent over which he did preside, by a written deed, to which they severally subscribed their names, and affixed their chapter seal, resigned their monastery into the king's hands; only covenanting for the having some small pensions settled on them for life, or till they were otherwise provided for in the church."
Speed states the yearly revenues of Whitby Abbey at £505 9s. 1d., and Dugdale at £437 2s., the difference of £68 7s. 1d. no doubt being between the gross and net income. In this, Middlesbrough would be included. Dr. Young remarks:-
"The pensions paid out of the monastic estates were not inconsiderable, so that the full amount of the proceeds did not fall to the crown till after a lapse of several years. What the pensions were immediately after the dissolution is not known; but the pension list for 1553 (1st of May) is still extant. Even then, about fourteen years after the surrender, the sum payable by the augmentation office, on the account of Whitby only, was no less than £188 5s. 4d. per annum: viz., £26 to John Hexham, late abbot; £8 to Robert Woods; £6 to Peter Thompson: £5 6s. 8d. each to William Nicholson, Thomas Thorpe, Thomas Hewit, and Henry Barker; £5 each to John Watson, William Newton, William Froste, and Robert Ledley; £6 13s. 4d. paid for fees; and £100 5e. 4d. for pensions granted by the abbey before the dissolution. As Henry de Vall, the last abbot, is not in the list, he must either have died before that year, or have obtained some lucrative office."
Whether any of the Middlesbrough monks figure in the foregoing list, we cannot now determine. Their dependent priory remained in the hands of the Crown for some twenty-four years, when, about the birth of Shakspere, Queen Elizabeth granted it, with the lands at Middlesbrough and Newham, given to it nearly four centuries and a half before, by its founder, to Thomas Reeve, Esq. How it became a possession of the ancient and illustrious family of Strangwayes, a branch of which is said at one time to have resided there; how, by one of the inter-marriages of the Strangwayes with the Boyntons, it came to those ancient lords of Acklam and Rousby; and how Sir Matthew Boynton (who had been knighted by King James the First, on the ninth of May, 1618, and created a baronet only nineteen days afterwards, and served in parliament for Heydon under the first Charles), despairing of the liberties of his country, sold Middlesbrough, along with Acklam, to William, the grandfather of Sir William Hustler, in 1637, intending to follow the Pilgrim Fathers, for liberty of conscience, to the wilds of America, but was stopped by the king from sailing from the Thames even after he was on board of the vessel; and so, being forced to stay at home, became a trusted and trusty commissioner for raising troops for the parliament, defeating, along with Sir Hugh Cholmley, 700 royalist horse and foot at Guisborough, January 16th, 1643, and taking their commander, Col. Slingsby, a prisoner; on June 29th of the same year arresting his own brother-in-law, Sir John Hotham, at Beverley, as a traitor to the parliament, and sending him off to them to lose his head; and July 22nd, 1645, after an arduous struggle for several weeks, in which shot and shell were not spared, defeating his former associate, Sir Hugh Cholmley, who had left the parliament for the king, and capturing his seemingly impregnable fortress of the castle of Scarborough; all are matters on which we must not here fully dilate, but suggestive of much for those to muse upon who imagine that Middlesbrough had no history before she became the Ironopolis of the world.
The site of the cell at Middlesbrough remained in the possession of the Hustlers for four generations, when the male line became extinct by the death of James Hustler, Esq., who died in his house in Golden Square, London, and was buried in the family vault at Acklam, December 18th, 1768, his being the first corpse that came over the bridge at Stockton, then in course of erection. On the death of James, just named, his sister, Anne, wife of Thomas Pierce, of Thimbleby and Hutton Bonville, Esq., became one of his co-heiresses, and a portion of her family assumed the name of Hustler; and, in 1790, their younger grandson, Richard William Pierce, received, as his portion, the lands at Middlesbrough, with "the perquisites and profits from the mooring of vessels in the river Tees," - the elder branch, who inherited Acklam, reserving for themselves the right of fishing in the river, the presentation to the perpetual curacy, or vicarage, of Middlesbrough, and the privilege "to get gravel and sand in Middleburgh quarry, or gravel-pit, paying the said Richard William Peirse, and all future owners, the sum of one penny for each cart load"; and this award was confirmed by a private Act of Parliament. Graves, in 1808, informs us that the land at Middlesbrough had "since been sold to different purchasers," but that Thomas Hustler, of Acklam Hall, Esq., was the principal proprietor. But what concerns us most to know is, that the site and adjoining land of the old cell, or priory, in 1808, passed into the hands of a Mr. William Chilton, who, after twenty years of desecration, sold it to "the Middlesbrough Owners" named anon.
After the suppression of the monasteries, the church authorities basely neglected their sacred duty to see that all churches and churchyards were kept in decent order; so that, within 120 years after that event, the church of Middlesbrough, to use Procter Lawton's expression, "was demolished"; and a pious churchman might almost have exclaimed with the Psalmist: "Why hast thou broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it." "It has long been in ruins, and nothing of the sacred edifice now remains; the site of which, together with the chapel-yard, which is still used occasionally as a burying-place by the inhabitants, lies open, and uninclosed from the adjoining grounds," says Graves, in 1808; but the foundations of the church were then visible.
But though the Church was so very heedless of the grossly indecent state even of her "God's acres" here, so that horses, cows, pigs, and poultry, could make it their pleasure ground whenever they list, she was not equally indifferent to the miserable pittance of the clergyman. The Notitia Parochialis, six volumes of valuable information collected on the state of our parish churches, in 1705, in answer to some sensible questions sent out by no one knows who, informs us that Sir William Hustler had all the tithe, "paying £6 a year for the cure," to which he also paid on some account £4 more, "which makes, in the whole, £10 " - for the patronage, or gift of the benefice, was in the Hustler family, and that of Acklam in the gift of the Archbishops of York, until exchanged in recent years. The same authority tells us, that "the joint value of Acklam and Middlesbrough" was then "about £22 per annum, there being "only calf and other inferior tithes " due to the parson of the former parish. What wonder, then, that for a couple of centuries, the same clergymen should hold the two poor benefices, doing duty in some fashion for both, though all the pecuniary profit which they brought them could not fairly be called a living! But we find Middlesbrough augmented, from Queen Anne's Bounty, with £200, in 1744; with £200 more in 1766; and with a third £200 in 1786 ; - yet left without a shelter for divine service, so that Middlesbrough marriages had to take place at Acklam, and the graves of "the rude forefathers of the hamlet" were trodden down and rooted up by the animals from the farm, there being no fence of any sort to protect them from intrusion! And this state of things was allowed to remain until modern Middlesbrough arose, scores of years after the grants alluded to.
As the ancient church of Middlesbrough had been "demolished above seventy years preceding," a faculty was granted, May 26th, 1730, by Archbishop Blackburne, "to build a chapel at Newport out of the ruins of Middlesbrough church," the town of Middlesbrough then only containing three houses, whilst Newport, a little higher up the river, was at that time a very busy place, from which large quantities of agricultural produce was shipped, not only from Cleveland, but from Ryedale and other districts. Lawton says:- " It does not appear that this faculty was ever acted upon," and Ord merely repeats the error. But the church was erected, but never opened. It stood at Airsome, a hamlet close to the township of Newport; and nothing can give a more vivid picture of the sleepy state of the ecclesiastical establishment, before Wesley and Whitfield wakened up our bishops and clergy, than its brief history. An intelligent woman, named Elizabeth Bulmer, who died at Acklam, in 1834, at a hundred years of age, distinctly remembered seeing the new church at Airsome when she was a little girl, but not seeing it built. There were then lime-heaps about it, showing it to be but newly erected. The late Rev. Isaac Benson, vicar of Acklam, informed the writer, that he had gleaned from old residents the following curious facts: that the lead was stolen off the new church and borne away in boats on the Tees; that the pulpit and seats then in his church were brought from the newly-erected, but never used, church at Airsome, about 1776 or 1777, with whatever other material could be turned to account, to save the parishioners expense in repairing their church; a portion of the stones were taken and used for farm buildings of all sorts; others to wall ponds round, for cattle to drink at, for repairing privies, and whatever use or abuse they could be put to; and the chancel, which had not been pulled down, was made into a cowhouse, and used as such until Maurice Dale took it down, and dug up the foundations.
The foundations of the old parish church of Middlesbrough, being level with the ground, were quite visible when Mr. Chilton purchased the land adjoining in 1808, but the remains of the priory having been converted into a farmhouse, that gentleman took the liberty of tearing up the stones, and appropriating them to the repairing of his house, some of the floors of which had been partly made of polished oak from the priory. "The old farm-house in the town," says W. H. D. Longstaffe, "lasted long after its solitude had departed. When it was pulled down, the walls of the desecrated chapel of the ancient vill were discovered. It was in the perpendicular style," - and he gives a wood-cut of one of those windows at page 364 of his "History of Darlington", adding - " earlier mouldings were, however, tossing about, one or two zigzagged ones carrying us to the Norman period, when Robert de Brus gave the edifice to Whitby Abbey as a cell." The ancient font, after being used for filthy purposes, was exalted into a flower-vase, and for threescore years it figured in the pleasure-grounds of the Peases at Darlington, and has at last been presented to that church in which it would have found an appropriate place on its erection fifty years before. The civic chair, in which the mayors of Middlesbrough now seat themselves at municipal meetings, was appropriately carved out of a sound oaken beam, which had once formed part of an arch in the priory; thus linking, as it were, the solitude of the monastery in the past with the busy life in the world-known borough of the present.
But the day was at last about to dawn when the conies and foxes, which were the principal inhabitants of Middlesbrough at the commencement of this century, were to give place to a more numerous population of industrious human beings, and, on what were then rabbit-warrens and fox-covers and gravel-pits, long lines of streets were to be built, and manufactures and commerce connect its denizens with all the world. The first passenger railway had been opened from Darlington to Stockton, September 27th, 1825; but, though coals had been brought down from the pits to the Tees by steam power, Stockton showed no signs of ever becoming a port for their exportation, and the far-sighted Peases soon perceived that it could be much better done six miles nearer to the sea where the river was deeper, and there was more elbow-room. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of the principal inhabitants of Stockton, the Act for a branch railway to Middlesbrough received the royal assent May 23rd, 1828; the Act for another railway, from Haverton Hill, on the opposite side of the Tees, to Sim Pasture, in the parish of Heighington, being passed at the same time; the latter being known as the Clarence Railway. This was only a day short of a year before the Act was passed for a railway from Newcastle-on-Tyne to Carlisle; at that time railways being far from common.
In 1829, Henry Birbeck, Francis Gibson, Simon Martin, Edward Pease, Joseph Pease, and Thomas Richardson, united under the name of "The Middlesbrough Company," afterwards widely known as "The Middlesbrough Owners," and purchased from Mr. William Chilton one of the four farms in the township of Middlesbrough, close to the Tees, containing about 500 acres, for the railway terminus, the erection of staiths, warehouses, and dwellings. A neat chain bridge, 274 feet long, 25 feet broad, and 60 feet high, was erected across the Tees, a little above Stockton, calculated to bear a weight of 150 tons, which for some time served for the passage of the Middlesbrough trains over the river, but was replaced by a more substantial structure in 1844.
The railway to Middlesbrough was opened December 20th, 1830, with a train of passengers and coal, one immense block of "black diamonds" from the Old Boy Colliery figuring conspicuously, which, when broken, was calculated to make two London chaldrons. Staiths had already been erected to load six ships at one time, and the visitors witnessed the loading of the Sunnyside, under the management of Mr. William Fallows, then in his thirty-third year, who the year previous had been appointed agent to the Stockton and Darlington Railway at Stockton, and who, in 1831, became a permanent resident of Middlesbrough, where for fifty-eight years he was a main mover in every movement for the material, mental, and moral progress of the place of his adoption. The mode of loading the vessels laying along the low-banked river was very ingenious. Each waggon of coal was run on to a cradle, then raised by steam power to the staiths, and lowered by "drops" to the decks, a labourer descending with each waggon, undoing the fastening of the bottom, and thus allowing the coals to fall at once into the ship's hold, when he ascended with the empty waggon, which was returned to the railway with the same machinery, In the principal gallery of the staiths, covered in and adorned for the festive occasion, and lighted by portable gas - the first ever burnt in Middleshrough - a table, 134 yards long, loaded with provisions, supplied the needed bodily refreshment to nearly six hundred hungry spectators, all of whom entertained glowing hopes of the prosperity of the new venture. But none then were so very sanguine as to imagine, for one moment, that its miles of streets would ever extend far beyond the proposed new town; that it would soon become a municipal borough, with Mr. Fallows for one of its mayors and justices of the peace; that in thirty-seven years' time it would have its own special representative in the House of Commons; and that, in the lifetime of some then present, its manufactures, both useful and artistic (its Linthorpe pottery among the latter), would become famous throughout the world.
It is greatly to be regretted that Mr. Fallows, instead of publishing his little pamphlet on Ancient Middlesbrough, which is chiefly a reprint of Lionel Charlton's translation of some of the charters of Whitby Abbey, and adding nothing new to local history, did not favour us with a full and graphic account of the rise and progress of the infant colony, from the opening of the railway to its being placed under local self-government in 1841 - a period in which its chronicles, if fully told, would be as amusing as those of New Amsterdam told by Washington Irving. He might have shown us vividly how at first it was scarcely more attractive than the trans-Atlantic City of Eden, as delineated by Charles Dickens, in his "Martin Chuzzlewit," save in the important matter of bread-winning; how the ancient forest had entirely disappeared, and of the deer which once browsed there no relic remained but the stag's horn and hunter's scabbard found at Linthorpe, a township of the Middlesbrough parish; how the pond, where the farmers' cattle were wont to drink, was filled up, and the land about it reserved for a market-place; how the embryo town was laid out in streets at right angles, North Street running right over the ancient, but never totally disused, churchyard, in which the bodies of many parishioners reposed, until their bones were carried away plentifully in hundreds of cart-loads of the consecrated soil, to fill up large holes and level wherever it was required; how every stranger who went to look at the place was eagerly interviewed, to ascertain whether or not he was likely to fling in his lot among them; how every petty tradesman who began business in the infant colony made a greater sensation among its inhabitants then, than the opening of public works, likely to give employment to thousands, have done since; how a publican drove a roaring trade with no other seats for the accommodation of his customers than a few planks supported on beer barrels; how seafaring men - living next door to each other in what was soon to form a street, but separated by a few unoccupied building sites - used to talk to one another from their own doors, when at home, through their speaking-trumpets, same as they did at sea, because they could not travel between the two houses without sinking up to the calves of their legs in the mire; how it soon became a tidy and prosperous town, where tradesmen of every sort set up their shops, and manufactures sprung up: so that in the great storm of February 17th, 1836 - when a Sunderland brig was driven from near Hartlepool, and stranded in a field at Middlesbrough, a new public house across the water entirely destroyed, and part of the railway between Middlesbrough and Stockton washed away - the damage done to the Middlesbrough Pottery alone was estimated at about a thousand pounds. For when he first took up his abode there, the population of Middlesbrough consisted only of one hundred and twenty-five men, women, and children; and when he caused the first school to be opened there for the education of the rising generation, he could only get ten scholars: whereas, at the Middlesbrough Jubilee, June 21st, 1881, he had the pleasure of addressing some fourteen thousand Sunday scholars, and the population had grown to fifty thousand.
In March, 1833, as the population of Middlesbrough was increasing at a rapid rate, and they were entirely without any place of worship, the committee of the Unitarian congregation at Stockton-on-Tees met to consider a proposition from their late townsman, Mr. Fallows, "That the Stockton congregation, with his assistance, should make an effort to establish a Unitarian Church in Middlesbrough," the result of which was the erection of three cottages near the lower end, and on the north side, of West Street, over which, entered by a broad staircase from the street, was a well-lit meeting-house, capable of seating a hundred and fifty people, which was opened for divine service on June 30th of that year, by the Rev. William Turner, of Newcastle-on-Tyne. This was kept open under many difficulties for seven years, but it was closed in 1840, and afterwards let to the Baptists. After a lapse of twenty years, it was re-opened by the Unitarians in 1863, and again used for public worship by that body, until the opening of their fine Church of the Divine Unity, in Corporation Road, June 30th, 1873.
The second place of worship opened in modern Middlesbrough was the Wesleyan Chapel, in the north-west corner of the Market Place, at the latter end of 1833, capable of seating two hundred persons, which was improved and galleries added thereto in 1848. And the various other dissenting bodies rapidly provided themselves with chapels, that of the Primitive Methodists' being opened in 1841; and it will be seen, by the list given in the carefully-compiled Directory which follows this chapter, that every sect is provided with the means of public worship according to the dictates of their own consciences.
The parishioners of Middlesbrough had been, for upwards of a hundred and eighty years, without a church to worship in, though, as we have seen, three grants of £200 each had been made from the Queen Anne's Bounty, during the eighteenth century, towards the maintenance of the minister, and it was not until the population had grown to upwards of 5,000 souls that they could listen to the public reading of the Liturgy without wandering into an adjacent parish. On September 25th, 1840, the new Church of St. Hilda, erected near the site of the old one, was consecrated by the Bishop of Durham, acting for the Archbishop of York; and it is no improbable conjecture that the full service of the National Church was then first performed in the parish since the Reformation. Children were privately baptised there as elsewhere, and the burial service was regularly read at the few funerals in the unfenced parish churchyard; but the Middlesbrough weddings all took place in Acklam Church; and, as the same minister was the perpetual curate of both parishes, in this there was no robbery of surplice fees. The foundation stone of this new parish church was laid by Mrs. Hustler, of Acklam Hall, July 24th, 1838; the Middlesbrough owners presented land for the church and churchyard, and the cost of the building was £2,500, of which £1,200 had been raised by a grand bazaar and lottery, and £500 granted by the Church Building Society, and £800 were public subscriptions, the greater portion from persons having no special pecuniary interest in the place, but who regarded it in the light of a home missionary movement. The Exchange Hotel, a substantial edifice in the Grecian style, had already been built, at a cost of £4,500, afterwards used as the Police Court, etc., at the corner of North Street and Commercial Street, where a splendid cold collation was provided, in partaking of which, after the consecration, the bishop felt it his duty to publicly thank Mr. Fallows for his efforts, though a dissenter, in promoting the erection of the new church, which would then accommodate 600 people; but galleries were added in 1861 to seat 300 more. Until 1864 there was only one bell, but in April of that year a peal of eight was hung, at a cost of £500, by a subscription of the inhabitants. At the present time, Middleshrough has five churches, and a school-room at Linthorpe used temporarily until the proposed church of St. Bartholomew is built.
During the few years of its existence, modern Middlesbrough had been rapidly becoming a town of note. The new cut in the Tees, from near Blue House Point to near Newport, in the parish, 1,100 yards long, 250 yards wide, and 16 feet deep, to improve the navigation between Middlesbrough and Stockton, had been opened February 10th, 1831, the cost of the undertaking being £25,995, of which £2,826 was for parliamentary expenses; and in digging this new channel a whole forest of oaks and other trees was found buried, with their roots deeper than the bed of the river, and acorns and nuts in great abundance, and the horns of deer and the skull of a bullock which had long ago fed beneath their branches; and on the 9th of March of the same year, the Majestic steamer commenced weekly voyages between Middlesbrough and London. On the formation of the Stockton Poor Law Union, December 4th, 1836, Middlesbrough was included therein, as one of the parishes of the Yarm sub-district, and remained as such until it became an independent union. In 1837, British Schools were built for 120 boys and 100 girls, towards the cost of which the Society granted £150. On the 27th of August, 1838, the Stockton and Port Clarence Steam Packet Co. commenced running a packet daily between the two places, calling at Middlesbrough for passengers and goods, but being before the time it was unsuccessful. In September of that year, the neighbouring new town of South Stockton was planned; and on the 29th of October, the Middlesbrough people entertained the Duke of Sussex, the Earl of Zetland, the Bishop of Durham, the Mayors of Stockton and Richmond, and several members of parliament and magistrates, to a public breakfast, all of whom expressed themselves surprised by the rapid rise of the new town. In 1839, the river Tees was lighted up from the sea to Middlesbrough, with floating and other lights, lit for the first time on the 2nd of May. But the arrival of two strangers, in the year 1840, was destined to prove of more importance than either themselves or others anticipated.
The elder, John Vaughan, though born at Worcester, December 21st, 1799, was of Welsh parentage, and his father was one of the ironworkers at Sir John Guest's "cinder hole," as some of the butterflies of fashion loved to call it, at the Dowlais works, Merthyr Tydvil, in South Wales. In early boyhood, Mr. Vaughan had been set to work in a scrap mill, and in time became a mill-furnaceman and roller of railway plates, in which arduous capacity he told the writer of this article he had worked for many years, both at Dowlais and in Staffordshire. At Carlisle he became manager of some small ironworks, there he was married, and there his son was born. From Carlisle he had removed to Walker, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, as manager of the ironworks of Losh, Wilson, and Bell. And now, in his forty-first year, having found a capitalist of commercial experience, with £40,000 or £50,000, to join him as partner in the speculation, who had left the choice of place to his matured judgment, John Vaughan, after visiting both Stockton and Middlesbrough, and it is said being disappointed of a site at South Stockton, fixed on a piece of waste land at the rising place which was nearer to the sea, with a much greater depth of water, and where docks were already in the course of construction. The site of the afterwards famous ironworks was by the river side, and at high tide was covered by the waters of the Tees, but at low tide was a mass of mud, on which sailors for ages past had discharged their ballast; all which, after numerous piles had been driven in, helped to form a foundation for the future ironworks.
Henry William Ferdinand Bolckow, his partner, was some seven years younger, and an educated German, who had been thirteen years resident in England. Born at Sulten, in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenberg-Schwerin, in 1806, he had at fifteen years of age been placed in a merchant's office at Rostock, a picturesque seaport near the Baltic, where he not only learnt commerce, but cultivated his love for the fine arts, eventually culminating in the possession of two such collections of paintings as any prince might be proud of. His friend and fellow-clerk, Christian Allhusen, having a brother in business at Newcastle, came to England to join him, and then induced Mr. Bolckow, in 1827, to leave Rostock also, and to accept a situation under them at Newcastle, as accountant and foreign correspondent; and soon afterwards the two friends commenced business on their own account, as general commission agents, under the title of C. Allhusen and Co., and some fortunate speculations on their own account in the corn trade so enriched them, that on the dissolution of partnership, Mr. Bolckow was prepared to join Mr. Vaughan in a new venture, they having first become acquainted through their wooing and winning two sisters.
But in choosing Middlesbrough as the place for their venture, they were both as entirely ignorant of the immense mass of ironstone laying embedded close at hand, like an enchanted lady only waiting some bold knight of chivalry to sound his horn and draw his battle-blade, to waken her from her long repose, as they were of the mass of rock-salt beneath their works: iron-ore, certainly not to be so easily discovered as by a sportsman stumbling over something when out shooting on the hills, carelessly stooping to see what had nearly upset him, then raising it up and exclaiming, "This is Ironstone! " - a fiction which has been circulated around the globe.
The ironworks of Bolckow and Vaughan, which were opened on the 1st of May, 1841, were at first of very modest dimensions, consisting of a foundry, two rolling mills, and of facilities for doing a little engineering work. When, on the 18th of February, 1843, the English Rose, the first steamboat built on the Tees, was launched from the yard of T. Lane and Co., at South Stockton, her engines were made by Bolckow and Vaughan, who, though in a position to construct engines cheaper than others, soon found it to their interests to relinquish that branch of business, in order to secure large orders from other manufacturers in that line; but they ever after constructed, at their own works, whatever engines they required for their own use.
But the iron trade, which, when Bolckow and Vaughan commenced their works at Middlesbrough was in a flourishing state, towards the end of the following year partook of the general commercial depression, and many were ruined. The Scotch had just discovered that their famous Black Band of ironstone was not confined to the neighbourhood of Glasgow, but abounded also in the County of Fife, not far from the Forth, where it could easily be procured and shipped to any port; and Neilson had patented his Hot Blast, by the application of which, the consumption of coal was so greatly reduced, that pig-iron could be made at one-third of its former cost of production, and Scotland seemed in a fair way for monopolising the entire iron-trade of the country; and what comparatively little quantity of Cleveland ironstone was then used was likely to be refused at all blast-furnaces, as it had been at some of them before.
It was not until Saturday, December 12th, 1840, that the first regular market was held at Middlesbrough, nor until six months afterwards that it became a legal one. The census, taken June 7th, 1841, showed the population to be 5,709. On the 21st of June in that year, the inhabitants were favoured with local self-government, an Act being passed for paving, lighting, watching, cleansing, and otherwise improving the town and neighbourhood, and for establishing a market therein; by which twelve of the principal inhabitants were named to act as the first commissioners, until their successors could he appointed by election on the second Friday in July following; after which one-third were to retire annually, and either be re-elected or others elected in their stead. The whole of the ratepayers in the townships of Middlesbrough and Linthorpe - in other words, of the parish - were entitled to vote in the elections; but the commissioners were required to be residents rated to the relief of the poor at twenty-five pounds or upwards, or possessed of property bringing them in not less than twenty pounds a year, clear of all deductions. They were empowered to make bye-laws, and to enforce them, and full authority was given them by the Act (4 and 5 Vic., c. lxviii.) for all needful purposes of local government. The railway from Stockton to Hartlepool was opened in November of the same year; the Great North of England Railway, by means of which letters arrived some hours sooner in Middlesbrough, having only been completed between London and Newcastle in spring.
The undoubtedly clever old plan of loading ships with coal at Middlesbrough by means of the staiths and drops already described, after doing wonderful service for a dozen years, was doomed to give way to a more improved method, principally through the indomitable exertions of the late Joseph Pease, the father of Middlesbrough; a commodious dock of nine acres having been constructed eastward of the town, entered from the Tees by a channel rather over a quarter of a mile in length, where 150 sail of large vessels could lay securely in all weathers. The water was admitted into the dock, for the first time, March 19th, 1842, and on the 12th of May following it was opened for the transaction of business; in moderate spring tides there being a depth of 25 feet of water in the dock, and of 19 feet in the channel. In 1852 it was taken over by the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company, and on the amalgamation of that first of all passenger lines and its various branches with the North-Eastern Railway Company, it became the property of that body, by both of whom we shall see it has been greatly enlarged and improved. In 1844, when the shipping trade of Middlesbrough, for which the town had been so recently begun and risen so rapidly, seemed doomed to destruction by the passing of an Act for the formation of a harbour and inner docks at West Hartlepool, the iron trade revived; pig-iron, which had sunk so low as 35s. a ton, rose to £6; and, in the following year, Bolckow & Vaughan erected four blast furnaces at Witton Park, in the County of Durham, calculating on that neighbourhood for furnishing them with a plentiful supply of ore, needing only a little of that from Grosmont for mixing with it; quite ignorant, as yet, of the abundant stores so near to their rolling mills at Middlesbrough. In 1845, they contracted for 30,000 tons of the Cleveland ironstone, to be delivered in three years, from Mrs. Clark's mines at Grosmont, which rose that lady's vend up to 30,000 tons a year; and her manager, the late Joseph Bewick the younger, tells us that was the largest quantity that they could possibly ship, owing to the then silted state of Whitby Harbour.
But the way was gradually being prepared for making the use of the hitherto rejected ironstone of Eston. and its vicinage a commercial success. In 1846, the railway was extended from Middlesbrough to Redcar, a distance of 7½ miles, and was opened on the 4th of June, when George Stephenson's primitive old steam locomotive, "No. 1," used at the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway twenty years before, but then laid aside, was once more brought out, and used for the occasion, performing the distance in 25 minutes; so that railway communication and the main bed of the Cleveland ironstone were, without any calculation of benefit from the latter source on the part of the promoters of the line, brought into proximity to each other, In the same year, the once-solitary "one farm house," of which we have heard so much - just as though there were no others in the township ! - was pulled down, and, like a detected thief, gave up a portion of its plunder; zigzag mouldings of old Norman architecture, with a debased perpendicular window of a much later date, with other materials stolen from the priory or cell, and built in to save the plunderers a trifle in the cost of stone, and plastered over so as to escape detection.
In 1848, a Roman Catholic Chapel was opened in Sussex Street, the most ardent in the faith not anticipating that it would, in a few years, give place to a cathedral, and that the Pope would make Middlesbrough the see of a bishop.
On the 1st of August, 1849, an act was passed to enable the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company to lease the Middlesbrough Dock; and that year we find Consett ironworks supplied with ore from Grosmont, and afterwards from Upleatham; and Skinningrove mines worked by Bolckow and Vaughan, whatever they had hitherto collected on the coast being carried in barges to Middlesbrough, and sent from there by rail to Witton Park.
When the ironstone of Cleveland, and the district south of its famous hills, was first turned to good account with the poor appliances, but abundant supply of wood for fuel, which the early ironworkers possessed, will most likely never be clearly ascertained. It is not impossible that the ancient Brigantes, during the long ages in which they peopled this part of the country, may have derived their supply of iron, after the stone period, from the upper bed; and it is more than probable that the Romans, who were colonisers as well as conquerors, during their centuries of occupation, would work the mineral; for their method of obtaining pure iron, alike for warlike and peaceful purposes, was the very simple but patient one of collecting on a large open hearth a mixture of broken ironstone, charcoal, and lime, blowing the fire with bellows, like the blacksmiths of the present day, adding fresh fuel and running off the slag, until the iron was rendered malleable and free from carbon, and could be hammered into whatever implements they required. There is documentary evidence to prove that ironstone was worked in the district, both by the barons and the monks, hundreds of years before the birth of Bolckow or of Vaughan; and the immense quntities of slag which lay so long exposed in various parts of Cleveland, and in Bilsdale, Bransdale, Rosedale, and close to Rievaulx Abbey, proved beyond doubt that iron, at some remote period, had been manufactured there in no inconsiderable quantities, considering the then small demand for it, but would necessarily cease when the timber in the neighbourhood had most of it been consumed for charcoal, and what remained was needed for other purposes. Thus we find Parliament, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, passing four different acts to restrict the consumption of wood, especially for ironworks; and in 1740, the manufacture of pig iron in England had fallen from 180,000 to 17,850 tons; the quantity made in the Middlesbrough district alone at eighteen ironworks in 1888, being rather over sixty-two times as much, for the old process was not potent enough for coke or coal, and we had to be dependent upon Sweden and Russia for our principle supply. In 1606, John Speed, whom Fulk Greville had liberated from the tailors' trade, to enable him to follow, like his able contemporary, John Stow (who also had risen from the shopboard), the pursuit of antiquities and topography, in his first folio, "The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain," particularly noticed our "veins of metal and iron ;" and the passage was appropriately quoted by Graves, in his "History of Cleveland," in 1808, and yet unknown to Mr. Vaughan till his attention was directed to it in the winter of 1849. We learn from Mr. Marley, that a Whitby gentleman, whose name is, unfortunately, not handed down to us, discovered the ironstone at Skelton in 1790, and in that year, and again in 1798, and also in 1800, endeavoured to arrange for its working with John Hall Wharton, M.P. for Beverley, then owner of the estate, who, though hopelessly in debt, would not entertain the application. In 1801, according to Joseph Bewick the younger, the Tyneside Iron Company commenced using nodules of the Cleveland ironstone, collected on the beach between Saltburn and Scarborough, and continued to do so occasionally up to the publication of his volume in 1861. In 1811, William Ward Jackson, of Normanby Hall, Esq., sent six or eight cart loads of his ironstone from near Upsal to Lemington ironworks; but the men who drove the carts received the message on their arrival, to tell their master not to send any more of his rubbish there, as there was no iron in it! About the same time, Mr. Thomas Jackson, of Lackenby - he who built the well-known stone war-beacon on the summit of Eston Nab - bared the ironstone in Lackenby Banks, but no one would look at it, until, like that of his Normanby neighbour, half a century afterwards, it became a portion of the working of Bolckow and Vaughan. From 1815 to 1820, the Tyneside Iron Company essayed to work the ironstone on different parts of the coast between Saltburn and the Peak, shipping it off as best they could when the weather permitted; but as those in charge of the workings, in their ignorance of mineralogy, sent off, not iron ore alone, but dogger and cement-stone alike, it is small marvel that the Cleveland ironstone was not properly appreciated by the company from the samples which their own workmen had sent them. It was about the latter year, according to his son's account, that Joseph Bewick the elder began to turn his attention to the Cleveland ironstone; but as he appears to have been engaged in 1824, along with his brother, John Charlton Bewick, in boring for coal, on the estate of George Fletcher, Esq., at Owton or Oughton, two miles west of Seaton Carew, it is evident that he was not then trying to develope the Cleveland ironstone. In 1822, those two zealous antiquaries and mineralogists, the Rev. George Young and John Bird, of Whitby, published their excellent quarto volume, "A Geological Survey of the Yorkshire Coast," in which they correctly mapped out the top seam of the Cleveland ironstone, but mistook the main seam for limestone; a mistake which is not very much to be wondered at, when it is remembered that practical ironworkers, only eleven years before, had pronounced it to be rubbish, and, at least a dozen years after their valuable volume was in the hands of the public, Lord Ward's agent at Dudley, having been sent purposely to examine the Rosedale ironstone, declared it to be nothing but limestone, without a particle of iron in it! In 1827 or 1828, Joseph Bewick the elder, was sent by B. Thompson, Esq., the managing partner of the Birtley Ironworks, to examine the Yorkshire coast for a supply of ore, and he commenced his survey at the mouth of the Tees, terminating it at Flambrough; and he recommended the royalty of the Marquis of Normanby at Kettleness, where several acres of the pecten or main seam had been washed bare by the sea (before that, having been mistaken for limestone), and only needed to be broken up and shipped; but the company had not confidence to act on his earnest recommendation. In 1829, Professor Phillips pointed out the main bed, but after the unfavourable opinions of ironworkers, and the then great difficulty in getting it into the market, it was not to be expected that at that time he could correctly estimate its commercial value; though in after years no one was a greater authority on its extent and importance. In 1830, it appears that Charles Attwood, Esq., was well aware of the immense quantities of ironstone laying unheeded between the Hambleton Hills and Eston, but neglected to turn his knowledge to profitable account, hoping to find all he required easier of transport in Weardale; yet, when Mr. Vaughan, twenty years afterwards, waited upon him to offer for sale a portion of the Eston ore, he was at once enabled to point out to him from whence it had been obtained. In 1832, Mr. W. A. Brooks, C.E., in his able report on the formation of a harbour of refuge, for which Nature has laid the foundation at Redcar, so as to save a million of money in the construction, by rocks on which many a goodly vessel has perished, stated that "the adjacent rocks contain large quantities of ironstone," and that a "cannon and anchor foundry" erected there would be enabled to supply both articles thirty per cent. cheaper than others. In May of 1833, an Act was obtained for making a railway, which George Stephenson had planned, from Whitby to Pickering, which not only struck, but cut through, the main bed of the Cleveland ironstone at Grosmont, and led to the first practical results. Mr. Henry Belcher, of Whitby, one of the principal promoters of the line, in an interesting volume which he published in 1836, descriptive of the scenery, printed to be ready for the opening, which took place on the 26th of May that year, stated that "the rich and extensive beds of iron ore that are to be found in the vale of Goathland, promise much advantage to the railway, whether from the mere transit and exportation of the ore itself, or from the probable establishment of blast-furnaces in a district which possesses so many natural advantages for the purpose." On the 18th of May - eight days before the public opening of the railway - a trial cargo of 55 tons of ironstone, 22½ cwt. to the ton, was sent along the line to Whitby, and from thence shipped to the Birtley Ironworks; and the same year one was sent to the Tyne Iron Company, at Lemington; but they both rejected it. On the opening of the railway, it is worthy of notice that, on their arrival from Whitby, the first passengers got out at Grosmont, to see, as the report of the proceedings published by the company informs us, "the ironstone collected by the Stone Company, and which is likely to be another very profitable source of traffic." On the 25th of May, 1836 - the day before the through opening of the Whitby and Pickering Railway, the six miles of it between Whitby and Grosmont having been opened June 8th, 1835 - we find Louis Hunton reading a paper before the Geological Society in London, in which he showed the exact position of the Cleveland ironstone at Rockcliff, or Easington Heights. On the 30th of May, 1837, the Birtley Iron Company got a second cargo of ironstone from Grosmont, of 128 tons, 22½ cwt. to the ton. In 1838, the Wylam Iron Company employed Joseph Bewick the elder to superintend their workings of the ironstone at Kettleness and Staithes; and the Birtley Ironworks contracted with the Whitby Stone Company for 30,000 tons of the Grosmont ore. In 1839, Henry Vansittart, of Kirkleatham Hall, Esq., directed the attention of Mr. D. Nesham, of Portrack Ironworks, to the ironstone on his estate near Coatham, who, after examining it, shipped a cargo to the Devon Ironworks, at Alloa, near Stirling, to be tested, and received in reply, that it was not worth trying, as there was no iron in it. Eleven years afterwards, Mr. Nesham saw the valuable ore which he had sent, deposited on a ballast-heap as so much rubbish! In 1840, several explorers seem to have found ironstone in various parts of Cleveland - notably at Coatham, Eston Nab, Guisborough, Huntcliff Nab, Lazenby, Rosebury Topping, and Skinningrove - but they greatly underrated its value, and the want of railway communication left the matter to sleep for the next ten years. In 1843, Losh, Wilson, and Bell commenced the regular use of Cleveland ironstone, supplied from Grosmont to their blast-furnaces at Walker on the Tyne - all others having discontinued the use of that ore for a time, owing to the then disastrous state of the iron trade, as named before. In 1845, there were only thirty-three blast-furnaces in the whole North of England; but, the iron trade reviving, four more were erected in 1846, the year when Bolckow and Vaughan's furnaces were put into blast at Witton Park, when, as we have seen, they became good customers for the Grosmont ore. It was in 1846 that Dr. Merryweather, then actively engaged in trying to promote a railway from Whitby to Stockton, with a branch from Stokesley to join the Great North of England at Cowton, formed one of a deputation to the directors of the York and North Midland Railway; and, as one argument to induce them to favour the scheme, urged that "there is one feature connected with the Dales which is of the first importance, that is, the ironstone with which they abound"; and John Walker Ord, whose "History of Cleveland," issued in parts, was completed that year, had, in one of the early numbers published two years before, clearly pointed out the abundance of the Cleveland ironstone; though it was not to be expected that a mere man of letters could see the commercial value of that which so many who were deemed experts in the manufacture condemned as utterly worthless; and his remarks were written in 1843, when the ore would scarcely have been received as a gift by the majority of North of England smelters. Even in the August of 1848, Bolckow and Vaughan's own manager at Witton Park condemned as freestone the first few waggon loads of the ore received from Skinningrove, and caused them to be thrown out as refuse, but was afterwards compelled by Mr. Vaughan to give it a trial. On the 22nd of September of that year, Bolckow and Vaughan were fortunate enough to engage the valuable services of Mr. John Marley, as mining engineer, who examined for them the main bed at Skinningrove; for they worked the mines there until October 19th, 1850, when they relinquished them because they had found an inexhaustible supply near home. But the true history of their coming upon this treasure, which was so soon to make Middlesbrough the capital of the iron trade throughout the world, cannot be better told than in Mr. Marley's own words:-
"From the examination of these drifts, and the strata in the hills, I was of opinion that this main bed of ironstone (or Skinningrove seam, as it was then called) would be found at Eston; I, therefore, on Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan's behalf, as far back as March, 1849, entered into correspondence with the agent for the late G. W. Jackson, Esq., for leave to search for the ironstone, and enter into leases; but the latter sald it had formerly been well tested in his father's lifetime (viz., the late W. W. Jackson, Esq., in 1811), and would not listen to it. He told me he would 'not assist me to ruin Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan, and spoil the estate'; and thus it was not till early in 1850 that negotiations were so far advanced with the adjoining proprietors, viz., the Trustees of Lady Hewley's Charity, that they engaged Mr. T. E. Forster, mining engineer of Newcastle, to examine, report, and advise terms, which he did, - I accompanying him to the drifts in the seam now called the 'top seam,' in his examination (without happening to come on this thick seam exposed) ; and it was under these terms that, on the 8th day of June, 1850, the re-discovery of this bed was made in the Eston Hills, being effected in the following manner - Mr. Vaughan and myself having gone to examine the hills for the most suitable place for boring, we decided to go up the hills to the east, adjoining Sir J. H. Lowther's grounds, and so walk along to Lady Hewley's grounds on the west. In ascending the hill in Mr. C. Dryden's grounds, we picked up two or three small pieces: we, therefore, continued our ascent until we came to a quarry-bole, from whence this ironstone had been taken for roads; and next, on entering Sir J. H. Lowther's grounds to the west, a solid rock of ironstone was lying bare, upwards of sixteen feet thick. I need scarcely say that, having once found this bed, we had no difficulty in following the outcrop in going westward, without any boring, as the rabbit and fox holes therein were plentiful as we went. We also examined the place in Lackenby Banks, squared down, in 1811 or 1812, by the late Mr. Thomas Jackson, of Lackenby. The period from the 8th June, 1850, until the middle of August following, was occupied in completing arrangements for opening out this ironstone, and the first trial quarry was begun on the 13th of August, 1850: a temporary tramway was soon laid down, and by the 2nd of September, 1850, the first lot of about seven tons was brought down in small tubs to the highway side, from thence carted to Cargo Fleet, and thence by rail to Witton Park Ironworks, being about twelve weeks after actually seeing the ironstone; and by this method 4,040 tons 7 cwt were sent away by 28th of December following, viz., 1850. And now was completed what really may be said to be the commercial discovery of the Eston ironstone, or bona fide application of the original discovery, whenever the discovery did take place."
After the Cleveland ironstone had become a matter of earnest conversation amongst all classes of the community, Mr. Vaughan once remarked, at a dinner party, that he only wondered he had never stumbled over a block of it when he was out shooting on the Cleveland Hills. From this was fabricated the fiction that he had really done so, and thus, accidentally or providentially, made the discovery; and, as mankind have a natural love of the marvellous, the romance has been circulated at least wherever the English tongue is spoken, and, unlike its kindred tale of the "Three Black Crows," has been received as gospel truth.
Having secured one of the best of royalties, Bolckow & Vaughan did not let the grass grow beneath their feet before they began their work in right earnest. Mr. Marley, the only safe authority on this subject, tells us:-
"The first surveys and levels were completed for the present Eston Branch Railway on the 17th day of August, 1850, which said railway was commenced in the October following, and by December, 1850, was so far completed that 136tons 17cwt tons of ironstone were sent over it, being carted to the same place from the tramway previously named, thus making a total from these mines, in 1850, of 4,177tons 4cwt tons; but it was not until the 4th of January, 1851, that the first locomotive passed along this line, prior to the public opening of this railway and the mines, which took place on the 6th of January, 1851. . . . The first instructions relative to these mines were that 1,000 tons of ironstone would be required weekly; but, before the permanent rails were laid down, these instructions were changed to 1,000 tons daily, and even this was found unequal to the requirements, as, during the year 1851, 187,950 tons 15cwt tons were wrought and vended; and during the following five years, ending with 1856, 1,719,507 tons 12cwt tons were vended, of which, during 1856, there were 568,156 tons 11cwt, showing a large increase over 1851, the quantities during 1856 running from 10,000 to 12,000 tons (20 cwts.) per week."
After the great utilisation of the Cleveland ironstone by Bolckow & Vaughan, who, by the end of 1856, had vended nearly two millions of tons, the hitherto struggling town of Middlesbrough immediately began to increase immensely, both in population and prosperity. In 1851 the inhabitants of the township numbered 7,631; those of the township of Linthorpe, 262; making a total for the entire parish of 7,893. In 1861 the municipal borough numbered 18,892; in 1871 the population had increased to 39,284; in 1881 to 55,288; and now, in 1889, it is estimated at over 70,000. For two-and-twenty years the inhabitants of the new town of Middlesbrough had to content themselves with the brackish hard water which their pumps supplied for drinking and cooking; soft water, for washing with, being collected from the rainfall on the roofs of their houses, and stored in water-butts at their back-doors. Then might often be seen a couple of sailors from some vessel lying in the river, the one bearing on his shoulders a cask of fresh water from a pump in Commercial Street, whilst the other marched behind and rendered his messmate what aid he could by supporting the burden with his hands; the ships in the dock drawing their supplies from a disused brickpond, where the public baths now stand; the ironworks, etc., pumping the water for their boilers from the river at low tide, so as to get it as free from saline as possible; the inhabitants of Stockton at the same time mostly buying their drinking water at their own doors, at a half-penny a pailful. To receive a better supply of this much-needed article, the Stockton, Middlesbrough, and Yarm Water Works Company was formed, December 14th, 1850; obtained an Act of Parliament for the purpose, in spite of much opposition, July 24th, 1851; cut the first sod for the undertaking October 1st of the same year; and begun to supply the water from the Tees below Low Coniscliff, April 5th, 1852. In 1858 another Act was obtained, to dissolve the former and incorporate a new company, with extended powers, under the title of the Stockton & Middlesbrough Water Works Company, who were to take over the effects and liabilities of their predecessors.
The important discovery that there was an inexhaustible supply of excellent ironstone in the Cleveland district, of which most men had hitherto been totally ignorant, and which had been unappreciated by those who knew of its existence, soon led to an immense development of the resources of this part of the country, and to Middlesbrough becoming the Ironopolis of the world; blast-furnaces rose rapidly round about - in which the heat not being then economised by bell-covers - their lurid light was distinctly visible on dark nights for many miles. In 1851 Bolckow & Vaughan erected the first blast-furnaces at Middlesbrough, and others soon followed, so that the "Iron Trades Review " - the able organ of that great industry, then published at Middlesbrough, from whence many of its most important articles are still supplied, though now removed to London - was enabled to state, in 1868, that the Cleveland Hills were "producing about four million tons of iron ore annually," and that "about two-thirds of the pig-iron made in the North of England is produced in the Middlesbrough blast-furnaces; or, in other words, something like 800,000 tons of iron is now being made within a distance of two miles on each side of Middlesbrough."
On the 21st of January, 1853, a charter of incorporation was granted to Middlesbrough, by which the Town Commissioners gave place to a Mayor, four Aldermen, and twelve Town Councillors; the municipal borough (which has since been considerably extended, and divided into wards) then comprising the whole of the township of Middlesbrough, but only a small portion of that of Linthorpe in the same parish. The first election of chief magistrate took place on the 9th of November. The following is a list of the mayors, all of whom, without exception, have been immigrants! When a native of Middlesbrough reaches the civic chair, his election will be such a novelty as to cause special local rejoicing:
1853. Henry William Ferdinand Bolckow, who died June 18th, 1878, age 71.
1854. Isaac Wilson, the present M.P. for the borough.
1855. John Vaughan, who died September 16th, 1868, age 69.
1856 Henry Thompson, at present a J.P. for the borough.
1858. John Richardson, who died October 15th, 1874.
1859. William Fallows, who died August 14th, 1889, age 91.
1860. George Bottomley, who died August 20th, 1877, age 54.
1861. James Harris, who died January 4th, 1879, age 65.
1862. Thomas Brentuall, at present one of the borough magistrates.
1863. Edgar Gilkes.
1864. Francis Atkinson, who died April 11th, 1870.
1865. George Watson, at present one of the borough magistrates.
1866, 1867 William Randolph Innes Hopkins.
1868. William Laws, who died April 1st, 1879.
1869. Thomas Dalkin.
1870. Robert Lacy, who died in December 1883.
1871. Thomas Vaughan, son of the third mayor.
1872. Robert Stephenson, at present one of the borough magistrates.
1873. Edward Williams, who died June 9th, 1886, age 60.
1874. Thomas Hugh Bell, at present one of the borough magistrates and
chairman of the Water Board.
1875. John Dunning, who died March 5th, 1885, age 58.
1876. David Doull Wilson, at present manager of the Water Works.
1877. Samuel Alexander Sadler, at present one of the borough magistrates.
1878. William Bulmer.
1879. John Imeson, who died October 31st, 1885, age 61.
1880. Charles Willman.
1881. Richard Archibald.
1882. Isaac Fidler.
1883. Thomas Hugh Bell, who had served the office in 1874.
1884. John Frederick Wilson, at present one of the borough magistrates.
1885. Richard Weighell.
1886. Amos Hinton.
1887. Thomas Sanderson, at present one of the borough magistrates.
1888. Raylton Dixon, at present a J.P. for the borough.
1889. Richard Scupham.
Mr. John Shields Peacock was town clerk from the incorporation of the borough in 1853, until his death, February 27th, 1868, lB 54; when he was succeeded by Mr. John Thomas Belk, who resigned in 1876, when Mr. George Bainbridge, the present town clerk, was appointed.
The borough arms were designed by William Hylton Longstaffe, Esq., an eminent North of England antiquary, and are - Argent a lion rampant azure, armed and langued gules; on a chief sable three ships or sailed of the field. The crest - On a mural coronet or, charged with three anchors sable, a lion passant azure, armed and langued gules. The motto - Erimus (We shall be) was truly prophetic. The blue lion was taken from the shield and crest of De Brus, whose early connection with Middlesbrough we have seen; the golden battlements are heraldic symbols of those municipal privileges which made the brave burghers of the middle ages the foster parents of liberty; the ships and anchors were most applicable to a town expected to be dependent almost entirely upon shipping, though blast-furnaces now would be equally appropriate; and the hopeful motto was a happy reversal of that despairing one of the fallen fortunes of the Bruces - Fuimus (We have been). The red and green reserved for the mantle, showed that the designer had an eye for the harmony of colours; and the taste and knowledge displayed in the blazoning prove that he would have made no despicable successor of a Camden or a Dugdale as king-at-arms.
On the 21st of July, 1852, an Act was passed for constructing a railway from Middlesbrough to Guisborough, the first sod being cut, by Henry Pease, Esq., on the 1st of November; and the line was opened in November of the following year, on the 11th for minerals, and on the 23rd for passengers.
On the 1st of February, 1853, a Burial Board was established, pursuant to the 16th and 17th of Vic., c. 134, and 17th and 18th Vic. cap. 87, who caused the first Middlesbrough cemetery to be provided for interments, consisting then of eight acres of land, neatly laid out, in Linthorpe Road, about a mile from the Market Place, to which other eight acres had soon to be added. This cemetery was opened in 1854; the first burials being those of the victims of the cholera, then proving a fatal scourge in the new borough. In 1869, a new and larger cemetery had to be opened in Airsholm Lane, at the Linthorpe extremity of the borough; one adjacent for the Jewish community being consecrated by the Rev. Dr. Hermann Adler, chief rabbi for the British Empire, July 27th, 1885, that body previously having to remove their dead to Sunderland in order to be buried according to their own wishes.
On the 7th of December, 1855, by an Order in Council, Middlesbrough was appointed as a polling district in the election of members of parliament for the North Riding; and in 1857, the number of votes recorded there was 590; in 1862, they were 516.
On the 23rd of June, 1856, an Act was passed for a new highway between Middlesbrough and South Stockton, which was opened in November, 1858. On the 7th of July, a Bill was obtained for the division of the borough into wards, to enable the corporation to purchase the gasworks from the Middlesbrough Owners, light the district, enlarge the market-place, establish a public wharf and a ferry over the Tees, etc. On the 2nd of August, 1858, another Act was obtained, to alter and improve the boundaries of the municipal borough, and to better carry out the provisions of the former Act.
On the 6th of January, 1857, the magistrates at the North Riding Quarter Sessions, held at Northallerton, ordered petty sessions from thenceforth to be held alternately at Stokesley and Middlesbrough, - prisoners up to that time having to be conveyed either to Stokesley or Yarm for trial, and witnesses to travel thither, often at great cost and inconvenience.
On the 1st of March, 1858, the first iron vessel built at Middlesbrough, a screw steamer, was launched. How that important branch of industry has prospered here, is best shown by the fact, that in the year 1888 there were thirteen screw steamers launched, amounting to 2,970 horse power, and 29,038 tons burden.
For twenty-eight years Middlesbrough was the great mart for vending all measled pork and other flesh of diseased animals totally unfit for food, which was sent from many miles around; but, in 1858, Mr. John Reed was appointed as Inspector of Meat, and his unceasing vigilance during the twenty-nine years which he held the office resulted in the seizure, from time to time, of a great number of unsound carcases, which, after having been carefully examined and legally condemned, were burnt by him at the gas-house, and the offenders fined; and this precaution had the undoubted effect of frightening other unprincipled people from sending the carcases of their diseased animals for sale. Mr. Reed retiring upon a well-earned pension, Mr. George Anderson was appointed to succeed him; and now, no town in England is better supplied with good butchers' meat than the borough of Middlesbrough.
During the infancy of modern Middlesbrough, the Established Church was generally held in small esteem by the inhabitants: non-resident incumbents had, for seven generations at least for which we have their names and dates of appointment, held the benefice along with that of Acklam, thus leading men to suppose that the former was in the parish of the latter; and, as the organ of the Additional Curates' Aid Society boldly expressed it, "curates of indifferent character, sometimes of unconciliating disposition, had been the spiritual representatives of the church in Middlesbrough; and, as might be supposed, church matters were for many years at a low ebb in the town - indeed, before the coming of the Rev. Richard Bradley to the parish church, it was considered hardly respectable to be a member of the church!" Mr. Bradley had become curate-in-charge in 1854, and his genial manners and Christian labours soon won the affections of the people, and the church of which he was a consistent minister rose rapidly in their estimation, though dissenting chapels also kept increasing with the population, many of whom were conscientious Nonconformists. In January, 1859, a public meeting was held in the Town Hall, Archdeacon Churton in the chair, and a new church district was formed, to be called that of St. John the Evangelist, of which the Rev. Adam Clarke Smith, grandson of Adam Clarke the commentator, was appointed as minister, a salary of £150 a year being guaranteed to him for five years by the subscribers. There being no day schools here in connection with the Established Church, it was determined at once to erect some, to be so constructed that they could be used for divine service on Sundays till such time as a new church was erected; and the foundation stone was laid in Marton Road by the Archdeacon, on the 14th of July of the same year, and the building was opened for service January 3rd, 1860; the British Infant School having for some months previously been hired for evening service - and towards the end of 1857 an additional curate was employed.
In the March of 1859, there being no hospital nearer than Newcastle-on-Tyne, one of several lamentable accidents at the ironworks led the late Mr. John Jordison, the benevolent postmaster of Middlesbrough, who found some of the sufferers laid in stables, etc., to seek for aid in the formation of a cottage hospital; who, fortunately meeting with Miss Mary Jaques, a lady who had become familiar with the mode of nursing at the celebrated hospital at Kaiserwerth on the Rhine, under her kindly superintendence, the first institution of the kind in England was commenced with three cottages in Dundas Mews, to which two others were afterwards added, which served until the erection of the present neat and commodious building at North Ormesby, the foundation stone of which was laid July 9th, 1860, and the hospital opened in May following.
On the 18th of January, 1860, a new building for the Mechanics' Institute was opened, at a cost of nearly £2,000, from which all debt was cleared off, the number of members during the past year being 911.
On the 7th of August, 1860, the foundation stone of that excellent institution, the North Riding Infirmary, was laid by the Earl of Zetland, Grand Master of the Freemasons of England, with high masonic honours, the Grand Lodge being specially opened at Middlesbrough for that purpose. Mr. Hustler had kindly given an acre of land for the site, adjoining to Long Plantation, and facing the new road to Stockton. It was opened in June, 1854. The number of in-patients in 1888 was 694, the operations, 182; and in the nine years from 1880 to 1888, the in-patients amounted to 4,705. The number of out-patients attended in 1888 was 2,106; the visits, 13,041; and during the nine years, the number of new cases was 14,021, and that of attendances, 92,494.
In November, 1860, the first Middlesbrough brass foundry was commenced in Lower Commercial Street; and the depth of the Tees at Middlesbrough had been improved from 15 feet 6 inches in 1852, to 19 feet. On the 18th of December, the London "Gazette" announced the transfer of the patronage of the living at Acklam from the Archbishop of York to the Hustlers, and that of Middlesbrough from the Hustlers to the archbishop.
On the 1st of January, 1861, Middlesbrough, hitherto under the Stockton Custom House, became an independent port of the sixth class, and Stockton was reduced to the rank of a fourth class port, several of its clerks being removed to Middlesbrough; the new port extending at sea from the south side of Seaton Carew to Huntcliff Foot, and up the Tees to Billingham Beck and Newport landing-place. On the 17th of the same month the neat new hall of the North Riding Lodge of Freemasons was opened in Marton Road; and on the 31st, a corps of Rifle Volunteers was formed. On the 22nd of July, the first County Court was held at Middlesbrough, greatly to the chagrin of the late Serjeant Dowling, then judge, but to the needed convenience of the public, who had previously been forced to attend, when they had business to transact therein, at Stockton. On the 17th of August, the railway from Middlesbrough to Redcar was further opened to Saltburn, thus giving the pent-up people an opportunity of visiting that delightfully-situated new watering-place.
On the 7th of April, 1863, a Chamber of Commerce was formed at Middlesbrough, which was incorporated March 10th, 1873, and supplies its members quarterly with reliable statistics on the staple trades of the district.
Though the Cleveland iron ore, as we have seen, was far from having been discovered by accident, a most unlooked for discovery was made in 1863, which, though apparently neglected for a time, has already brought an important new industry into the Middlesbrough district, In the July of 1859, Bolckow and Vaughan commenced boring in search of an inexhaustible supply of pure water, as that pumped from the Tees was impregnated with saline, which they were anxious to avoid, as it caused a deposit of the particles in the boilers. After passing a bore-hole of 18 inches diameter through about 140 feet of river silt, clay, gypsum, and gypseous shale, and penetrating 1,160 feet of the new red sandstone, they found 150 feet of good rock salt, which had been deposited during the draining of the immense new red sandstone lagoon, at that remote period when, to use present names, the fresh waters of the Tees flowed from below Barnard Castle, by way of Ferryhill, to mingle with those of the Wear at Durham, both rivers then helping to swell those of the Tyne.
On the 20th of September, 1863, a new Wesleyan Chapel was opened in Corporation Road, erected at a cost of £5,315, of which £1,150 was paid for the site. On the 11th of November, the foundation stone of the new church of St. John the Evangelist was laid in Mart on Road, by the Archbishop of York; the clergy of which church had opened a new place of worship in Lower East Street, in a large house built for an inn, rented at £90 a year, and also used for day and Sunday schools. This year 45,000 passengers were conveyed by the steamboats to and fro between Middlesbrough and Stockton; and on the 3rd of November,. the foundation of the South Gare Breakwater was laid, an immense undertaking, adding much to the prosperity of Middlesbrough and the other towns on the navigable portion of the Tees.
On the 12th of April, 1864, the London "Gazette" announced the district of St. John's to become a separate parish; and on the 19th of the same month, the Church of St. Hilda, which hitherto had only possessed a solitary bell, was enabled to charm the inhabitants with the music of a peal of eight, purchased by subscription, at a cost of £500. On the 6th of September, the now extensive ironworks of Bolckow & Vaughan were transferred to a limited liability company, with a capital of £2,500,000, all subscribed, the purchase to take effect from the 31st December, Mr. Bolckow being chairman, and Mr. Vaughan vice-chairman. On the 21st of September, the most determined strike ever known in connection with those works took place amongst the workmen, against the employment of an unpopular manager, named Bushel, and, on the 31st, a troop of hussars was brought down from York, a step which gave great offence in the borough it being generally regarded as unnecessary; but the workmen, who wisely kept the peace, were triumphant. The value of the exports from Stockton this year was £5,136, whilst those from Middlesbrough were £390,650, and shipbuilding was flourishing, and the erection of new ironworks rapidly progressing.
In 1865, the exports from Stockton amounted to £10,701, whilst those from Middlesbrough were £458,565. The amount expended for the relief of the poor during the year ending April 6th, 1865, was £281 for the township of Linthorpe, and £1,851 for that of Middlesbrough, making a total for the old parish of £2,132. In the amounts granted for the augmentation of small livings, announced in the London "Gazette" of August 8th, is £118 for Middlesbrough. On the 30th of November, the new Church of St. John the Evangelist was consecrated by the Archbishop. And the Rev. Isaac Benson, who had held the two benefices of Acklam and Middlesbrough conjointly since 1823, as is known to have been done by his predecessors for at least 124 years before him, having died at Stockton-on-Tees, on the 22nd of December, 1864, the Rev. J. K. Bealey became the first vicar of St. Hilda's, and on the Rev. Richard Bradley, the popular curate-in-charge, leaving for the vicarage of Haxby, he was publicly presented, September 8th, 1865, with an elegant timepiece, a set of four silver side dishes, and a purse of gold, as a token of his being the first clergyman who had ever won the esteem of the people of Middlesbrough whilst residing amongst them. Mr. Benson, the last non-resident perpetual curate, was a native of Cumberland, and had been tutor to Richard Cobden; when presented to the two benefices he was teaching a school at Stokesley.
On the 17th of January, 1866, a great meeting was held at Middlesbrough, in favour of its becoming a parliamentary borough. On the 24th of April, J. W. Pease, M.P., in a letter to Earl Russell, stated the population at about 30,000. In May, Mr. Disraeli proposed giving one member to Stockton and Middlesbrough conjointly, - mistaking the population of Stockton for 13,000, instead of 23,000, and that of Middlesbrough for 19,000, instead of 31,305. Two years later, both places were called upon to send their own members to parliament. As an example of what John Stuart Mills calls the "unearned increment," it is worthy of notice that, on the 7th of March, 1866, the Grange Farm at Linthorpe, containing rather over 140 acres, was sold to a Manchester company for £70,000, or £500 an acre - three acres in the same township having been sold two years before, for building sites, for £1,800, or £600 an acre.
The inhabitants of Middlesbrough having for thirty-six years had no regular theatre, but being at first dependent for dramatic representations on the occasional visits of the late Billy Purvis, and afterwards on those of itinerant companies performing in a wooden booth, the late Councillor Imeson determined to supply the want; and for this purpose the foundation stone of a spacious and commodious theatrical temple, called the Royal Albert Theatre, was laid on the 17th of March, 1866, by the Mayor, George Watson, Esq., and the building was opened on the 26th of November in the same year. On the 22nd of November, the foundation stone of a splendid new Exchange was laid by H. W. F. Bolckow, Esq., which was opened July 29th, 1868, and cost £30,000.
On the 15th of August, 1867, a Reform Bill was passed, by which Darlington, the two Hartlepools conjointly, Middlesbrough, and the two Stocktons conjointly, were made into four parliamentary boroughs; and Mr. Bolckow was unanimously elected member for Middlesbrough the following year. The value of the exports from Stockton in 1867 was £32,165; those from Middlesbrough, £682,469. The Oddfellows' Hall, the Oxford Music Hall, and the St. Paul's Schools, were all built that year.
On the 11th of August, 1868, the Albert Park, consisting of rather over 91 acres of land, presented to the borough by H. W. F. Bolckow, Esq., M.P., was opened by H.R.H. Prince Arthur, The land was purchased for the purpose by Mr. Bolckow, for £18,000; and, as he had spared no expense in laying it out with taste - having sometimes as many as 150 men employed in the adornment, which occupied two years - the total cost of this munificent gift was about £30,000; and the Corporation agreed to spend £500 annually to keep it in a proper state for the healthy recreation of the burghers.
The value of exports from Stockton in 1868 was £21,454; those from Middlesbrough, £717,454; and there began to be an urgent wish for enlarged dock accommodation at the latter place; and on the 19th of May, 1869, the railway company advertised for tenders for the enlargement of Middlesbrough Dock, the construction of a new entrance and gates, and the erection of a swing bridge across the new and old entrances. The new entrance was 58 feet wide, with a depth of 23 feet at high water spring tides, and 19 feet at neaps; now (1889) deepened to 28 feet at spring tides, and 25 feet at neaps. The present area of the dock is about 15 acres, with 3,200 feet of quay space; and 9 three-ton and 4 four-ton steam travelling cranes, and one three-ton and one fifteen-ton stationary steam cranes, and 6 thirty-five cwt., 3 five-ton, and one ten-ton hydraulic cranes, for loading and lifting operations; and a pair of shear-legs, capable of lifting 35 tons, have just given place to another pair capable of lifting 60 tons.
The exports from Stockton in 1869 were valued at £31,456; those from Middlesbrough had risen to £1,040,331. The following statistics will show that the commerce of the new borough has been developed far beyond the dreams of its founders. The last valuable reports of the Chamber of Commerce show us, that the values of the over-sea shipments of all goods, except coal and coke, were:- In 1870, £1,225,250; 1871, £1,593,347; 1872, £2,670,148: 1873, £3,267,483;1874, £1,687,086;1875, £1,543,243;1876, £976,003; 1877, £1,129,536;1878, £1,137,768;1879, £1,296,209;1880, £1,547,811; 1881, £1,347,055; 1882, £2,047,811; 1883, £2,341,860; 1884, £2,247,122; 1885, £1,874,160; 1886, £1,906,923; 1887, £2,484,757; 1888, £2,430,716.
From the same source we learn, that the quantities of pig-iron exported from Middlesbrough were as fellows:- In 1869, to foreign countries, .154,057 tons; coastwise, 174,625 tons; total, 328,682 tons; which has since been rapidly increasing, as the following statement will prove
Year Tons sent abroad Tons sent coastwise Total.
1870 192,359 197,624 389,983
1871 268,828 213,892 482,720
1872 336,108 175,077 511,185
1873 339,916 182,565 522,481
1874 232,422 244,394 476,816
1875 316,830 296,284 613,114
1876 320,693 384,735 705,428
1877 321,946 460,390 782,336
1878 337,559 422,480 760,039
1879 395,658 419,905 815,563
1880 495,638 464,943 960,581
1881 430,261 501,150 931,411
1882 506,636 424,637 931,273
1883 562,622 430,193 992,815
1884 510,236 416,620 926,856
1885 372,326 466,470 838,796
1886 331,735 451,820 783,555
1887 369,343 444,951 814,294
1888 470,509 467,875 938,384
On the 5th of January, 1870, the late Joseph Pease, M.P., following the example of his friend, Mr. Bolckow, who had already presented schools to the borough, gave schools for boys, girls, and infants; and a High School was opened the same year, which continued to occupy temporary premises until a special building was erected, which was opened January 15th, 1875. The School Board also was formed in 1870; and, though the population has increased 88 per cent., it is evident from the able triennial report for 1885-8 by the intelligent school superintendent, Mr. J. S. Calvert, that Middlesbrough can compare favourably with other towns in facilities for spreading that great necessity for the citizens of every civilized country, a sound education, which, as the late Lord Brougham happily expressed it - " makes men easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave." The public elementary schools now provide accommodation for nearly twelve thousand children, of which, the board schools have rather more than half, The Middlesbrough School Board have just, very commendably, purchased a piano, to be principally used for teaching the pupils vocal music, which cannot but have a civilizing influence.
On the 25th of June, 1870, the foundation stone of St. Paul's Church was laid, by Mrs. Hustler, in Newport Road. In the following year a curate was appointed by the Archbishop for the new district, but until 1872 he had no place to preach in, and had to content himself with house to house visitations.
In 1871, much excitement was caused by the proposal of the North Eastern Railway Company to erect a swing bridge, like that at Goole, over the Tees from Middlesbrough to the Durham side of the river, but which was rejected by parliament on the opposition of the people of Stockton. A free library was that year established for the intellectual culture of the burghers. The population of the municipal borough then reached 39,284; that of North Ormesby, a suburb which had rapidly grown up but is not included, 4,231; that of Stockton-on-Tees, 27,944. The strength of the Middlesbrough police-force was 58 men, of whom, 41 were supported by the borough, and 17 by public companies.
In 1873, a handsome Unitarian Chapel was opened in Corporation Road, and new buildings for the National Provincial Bank, the Workman's Social Club, and the Alexander Concert Hall; tramways were projected, now a great convenience to the inhabitants and to visitors, who are favoured with a long ride for a penny; and plans were adapted for a new railway station, and for one specially devoted to excursionists, completed in 1877, at a cost of £150,000.
In 1874, the new ecclesiastical district of St. Peter was formed, of which the Rev. Evan Hughes Rowland, B.A., was appointed vicar, who, for fourteen years, laboured with true missionary zeal among the most neglected inhabitants of a proletarian portion of the borough; and, on his death, May 9th, 1888, it was generally felt that his place would not easily be supplied. About £400 was quickly subscribed for a "Rowland Memorial," of which £330 was handed over to his family, and £70 expended in a handsome stained glass window for the church in which he had so ably ministered.
On the 20th of April, 1875, the corner stone of All Saints' Church was laid by W. R. I. Hopkins, Esq., Ex-Mayor, in Linthorpe Road, which had been formed into a new district in 1871. Middlesbrough was taken from the Stockton Poor Law Union in 1875, and formed into a separate one, consisting of 12 townships, with 25 guardians, of which Acklam, Hemlington, Ingleby Barwick, Maltby, Marton, and Stainton, each return one; Eston, Normanby and Ormesby, each return two; Thornaby, three; Linthorpe, four; and Middlesbrough, eight. The first meeting of the Board was held on July 28th. On the 7th of October, the corner stone of the Cleveland Literary and Philosophical Society's Hall was laid, in Corporation Road, by Sir Stafford Northcote, Bart., M.P., Chancellor of the Exchequer. On the 30th of the same month, H.M.S. Tourmaline, an unarmoured composite screw corvette of 12 guns, the first war frigate ever built at Middlesbrough, was launched from the iron shipbuilding yard of Raylton Dixon and Company. In December, there were 2,500 ironworkers out of employment, and dire distress also prevailed among others; to relieve which, to their credit be it recorded, none seemed more anxious than the borough police force, many of whom spared neither time nor labour to find out decent people who were starving, without proclaiming their destitution to the world.
On the 26th of July, 1876, a new covered market was opened, in Albert Road, for the comfort of the farmers' wives and daughters exhibiting for sale fresh butter and new laid eggs, when a free breakfast was given to the women who attended for prizes, and friends, to the number of 200, by John Dunning, Esq., the mayor. The Water Company having become unpopular, the Corporations of Stockton and Middlesbrough, after a hard fight in Parliament, succeeded, in July, in compelling them to sell, at a high price, their plant and privileges to the two boroughs. "The cost of the struggle in the two Houses," says Mr. D. D. Wilson, now manager of the water works, "was about £52,000, and as it extended over 38 days, it amounted to nearly £1,400 a day." It was considered by many that the supply of water and gas ought always to be in the hands of the people, and not in those of speculators. Besides the objection of taking water from the Tees for an ever-increasing demand, and thus more and more diminishing the quantity left for the salmon fishery and for navigation, there is the most serious one of all, viz., that the water which some hundred and fifty thousand people are now compelled to drink, and use for cooking, and all other purposes, is contaminated with the sewage and night-soil of Barnard Castle and other places; a state of affairs which the people of the two boroughs have submitted to for 37 years. To remedy this undoubted evil, immense undertakings are at present in hand to procure a pure supply from the Balder and the Lune; considerably over three millions of gallons a day being needed for domestic purposes only.
It is worthy of record that, on the 30th of November, 1876, as the workmen were making an excavation in connection with some new drainage works in Cargo Fleet Road, about 50 yards east of the railway to Guisborough, and at a depth of 15 feet from the surface, they found an old sword-scabbard and a quantity of the horns of deer, thus carrying a contemplative mind back to a time when woodcraft was more familiar to the inhabitants than the smelting of iron and the manufacture of railway plates or engines, or the building of ships, or the manipulation of Linthorpe clay into artistic pottery.
Mr. Bolckow, who had represented the borough since it gained the privilege of sending a member to parliament in 1868, having died at Ramsgate on the 18th of June, 1878, Isaac Wilson, of Nunthorpe Hall, Esq., was elected to succeed him on the 4th of July, and has ever since been the parliamentary representative of the borough. On the 10th of November, 1878, the first pile was driven of a horse and cart ferry between Middlesbrough and Port Clarence. In that year, Pope Leo XIII. made Middlesbrough into a Roman Catholic Bishopric, with Dean Lacy, the minister there, as its first bishop; a cathedral having been erected on the site of the chapel in Sussex Street, which was consecrated by Cardinal Manning, August 21st of that year; the bishop being consecrated in his own cathedral by the cardinal on the 18th of December of the following year. On the 23rd of December, 1878, the new Workhouse for Middlesbrough Union, was opened at Linthorpe, erected at a cost of £30,000.
Linthorpe - formerly an insignificant township, of which, though a small part is in the parish of Acklam, the principal portion from time immemorial was in that of Middlesbrough, from which all that is known of its history is inseparable - has now become world-famous wherever ceramic taste is appreciated, by the establishment of a pottery, in 1878, where the fine tenacious clay found there, which up to that time had only been used for making bricks and tiles, was proved to be capable of manipulation into works of art, useful as well as ornamental, of every size, which, for form and colour, have given a novelty to English pottery, and won the high praise of such competent critics as the late Llewellyn Jewitt, F.S.A., and numerous others.
In 1881, the population of Middlesbrough having increased to 55,288, and that of its suburb, North Ormesby, where not even a "solitary farmhouse" or cot had stood when modern Middlesbrough began, it was properly enough decided to hold a Jubilee, which was done with much public rejoicing, on the 6th of October, when a statue of Mr. H. W. F. Bolckow was unveiled near the Exchange, and portraits of the late Joseph Pease and William Fallows were presented to the town. All this met with general approbation, but much dissatisfaction was shown by the way in which Mr. John Vaughan's great services in developing the iron trade were ignored, and a statue to his memory was publicly unveiled by Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease, Bart., M.P., on Whit-Monday, June 2nd, 1884, amidst great enthusiasm.
In 1882, a certified Industrial School for boys was opened at Linthorpe. The boys, averaging about 50 in number, appear to be kindly treated, and, besides the ordinary school education, receive an industrial training, doing most of the housework, laundry work, cooking, and baking; some work in the garden, some make and repair clothes, some work as shoemakers, and others chop firewood. Middlesbrough for some years has had a stipendiary magistrate, and the holding of quarter sessions and the building of a lunatic asylum for the borough are both in contemplation. The proposal, however, to introduce cremation, for the better disposal of the bodies of the dead, has nearly driven many of the prejudiced portion of the inhabitants wild with rage, and they strongly oppose others being permitted to revive the ancient classical practice.
On the 24th of October, 1883, the foundation stone of superb new Municipal Buildings for the borough was laid, in Albert Road, by the mayor, Isaac Fidler, Esq., and are now in use. The principal façade is parallel with Corporation Road, the tower rises to a height of about 170 feet, and one of the rooms is capable of containing 3,500 persons. Sculpture has been elaborately employed to adorn the edifice, to adequately describe which much more space than can be afforded in the present volume is needed, but which the writer of this chapter hopes fully to enter into in his "People's History of Cleveland and its Vicinage," where everything bearing on the borough ought to be treated without curtailment; for he believes in the truth so well expressed at the Jubilee by his eloquent friend, Joseph Cowen, Ex-M.P., that "Middlesbrough is an epitome of modern times - of that irresistible and victorious civilisation which has for its foundation liberty and freedom - freedom of thought, of labour, of sale and exchange, which is the guiding principle of commercial success, and which furnishes as complete a model of public and private prosperity, and as stable a fabric of social happiness and national grandeur, as the world has ever seen."
GEORGE MARKHAM TWEDDELL. Rose Cottage, Stokesley.
[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]
- Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.