Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for MIDDLESBOROUGH

MIDDLESBOROUGH, a town, a township, and a parish, in the district of Stockton, and N. R. Yorkshire. The town stands on the river Tees, at the boundary with Durham, and on the Darlington, Stockton, and Redcar railway, at the junction of the line to Guisbrough, immediately above the Tees' expansion into estuary, and 3½ Miles ENE of Stockton. A Benedictine priory of St. Hilda, a cell to Whitby abbey, was founded here, in the time of Henry I., by Robert de Bruce; and a portion of the cemetery connected with it continued to be used up to a recent period; but all important vestiges of the buildings have disappeared. Only one house-a house occupied by a tenant of W. Chilton, Esq., the proprietor of the local estate-stood on the site of the town's streets in 1829. A number of shareholders of the Stockton and Darlington railway, in that year, purchased the estate from Mr. Chilton; arranged to construct an extension of the railway to Middlesborough, on account of its commanding greater depth of water and better harbourage than Stockton to vessels for the shipment of coals; and formed a plan for creating a town on the estate, and for making it a great entrepot of the coal trade, and a considerable seat of commerce. Their plan was signally successful. The extension railway was opened at the close of 1830; the land of the estate, comprising about 600 acres, was divided and subdivided into plots, suitable to purchasers in all departments of business; and a town sprang up and progressed with a rapidity similar to that of Birkenhead in Cheshire, and of some of the most remarkable of the great towns of America. The entire township had a pop. of only 40 in 1821, and only 154 at the census of 1831; but had so many as 5,463 in 1841, and 18,714 in 1861. An act of parliament was obtained, in 1841, for paving, watching, lighting, and otherwise improving the town, and for establishing a market; another act was passed in 1853, constituting it a municipal borough, under the government of a mayor; and the reform bill of 1867 constituted it a parliamentary borough, with one representative. Nor did the town progress less visibly in its aspects as a port. A commodious dock, comprising a water-area of 9 acres, and entered by a channel rather more than a ¼ of a mile in length from the middle channel of the Tees, was completed in 1842. The entrance lock is 132 feet long, and 30 feet wide; and has 15 feet of water on the sill at neap tides, and 1 9 feet at spring tides. Such mutual connexion between the railway and the harbour likewise was formed, through platform and staiths, as enables vessels to be loaded and unloaded irrespective of the fluctuation of the tide. A bill also was introduced to parliament, in 1858, to enable the corporation to construct two landing-places on the N side of the river, to establish a public passage between these and the public wharf at Middlesborough, and to vest powers for other improvements in both the corporation and the local board of health. The commerce became important in even the early years of the town's progress; and it increased so rapidly as to occasion Middlesborough soon to be made a head-port. The town is built in a regular form; has a large square in the centre; consists chiefly of streets crossing one another at right angles; contains a large aggregate of handsome houses; and, for a commercial town, presents a remarkably good appearance. The town hall stands in the central square. The exchange was erected in 1866-68; is in the Italian style, after designs by Mr. Adams; has, at the W end, a tower 21 feet square and 130 feet high, with main entrance underneath; includes a hall 140 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 56 feet high; contains also a public reading-room and a public meeting-room, each 34 feet square; is disposed, in the ground-floor of three different fronts, in fine shops and show-rooms; has, on four floors, about 50 offices and other rooms; and cost about £30,000. The theatre was built in 1866, at a cost of more than £3,000. A beautiful park, about 72 acres in extent, and worth upwards of £20,000, was given to the town by Mr. H. W. F. Bolckow, and opened in Aug. 1868. There are a custom house, an inland revenue office, two banking offices, and a literary institution. St. Hilda's church was built in 1840, at a cost of £5,000; St. John's, in 1865, at a cost of £4,000; and both are in the pointed style. The U. Presbyterian church was built in 1865, and is in the early English style. The Wesleyan chapel was built in 1862, at a cost of £4,400; and is chiefly in the Byzantine style. The U. Free Methodist chapel was built in 1868. There are chapels also for Independents, Quakers, Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics. There are also national schools, in the Gothic style, built in 1860, a British school, and several respectable private academies. An hospital was early erected, but became close and unquiet in consequence of the erection of new streets in front of it; and a new hospital was erected in 1860 at North Ormesby.

The town has a head post office, † a railway station with telegraph, and some good inns; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and industry is carried on in iron foundries, rollingmills, brass-works, engine-works, ship-building-yards, chemical works, earthenware and bottle-works, a tannery, breweries, saw-mills, flour-mills, rope-walks, and other establishments. Iron manufacture is the chief department; and is conducted by one firm to the extent of employing about 7,000 hands. Only 45 blast furnaces were at work in the N of England in 1845; but so many as 36 have, since the commencement of the mining of the Cleveland ores, been built in and around Middlesborough alone. The quantity both of iron and of coals shipped at this port is very great. A salt bed, 112 feet thick, at a depth of 1,300 feet below the surface, was struck in 1863, at the sinking of a well for the supply of Messrs. Bolckow and Vaughan's immense iron-works; and was thought likely to prove a valuable addition to the local sources of wealth and traffic. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1864, were 9 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 285 tons; 49 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 9,199 tons; 19 smallsteamvessels, of aggregately 400 tons; and 5 large steamvessels, of aggregately 1,802 tons. The vessels which entered in 1863, were 3 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 886 tons, from British colonies; 458 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 56,833 tons, from foreign countries; 453 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 38,762 tons, from foreign countries; 35 British steamvessels, of aggregately 6,812 tons, from foreign countries; 1 foreign steam-vessel, of 158 tons, from foreign countries; 200 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 13,706 tons, coastwise; and 93 steam-vessels, of aggregately 32,693 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared in 1863 were 3 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 319 tons, to British colonies; 602 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 81,345 tons, to foreign countries; 708 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 66,499 tons, to foreign countries; 50 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 12,482 tons, to foreign countries; 1 foreign steam-vessel, of 158 tons, to foreign countries; 1,778 sailing-Vessels, of aggregately 144,042 tons, coastwise; and 117 steamvessels, of aggregately 38,075 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs, in 1867, was £1,861. The town, as a borough, includes all M. township, part of Linthorpe township, and a small part of Ormesby parish. Pop. in 1861,18,992. Houses, 3,117. Pop. of the part of Linthorpe township, 266; of the part of Ormesby parish, 12. Pop. of the town in 1867, about 37,000.

The parish consists of the townships of M. and Linthorpe. Acres, 2,300. Real property in 1860 of M. township, "104,485; of which £64,234 were in ironworks, and £600 in gas-works. Pop. in 1851,7,631; in 1861,18,714. Houses, 3,070. Real property in 1860, of Linthorpe township, £4,135; of which £250 were in ironworks. Pop. in 1851,262; in 1861,702. Houses, 183. A large section of the parish, under the name of M. St. John, was, in 1864, constituted a separate charge. Both the head. living and the living of St. John are vicarages in the diocese of York. Value of each, £300.* Patron of both, the Archbishop of York.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a township, and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Middlesbrough CP       Middlesbrough PLU/RegD       Yorkshire AncC
Place: Middlesbrough

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