Glimpse history through old images of Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire, England.
The image shows Corporation Road, in an age when the crowds of people out shopping and getting on with daily business had to watch out for the trams as they crossed the road.
The shop fronts are smart, with awnings covering pedestrians as they walked along the pavement, hoping to tempt them to stop and look at the goods on display in the shop windows.
The second photo is immediately recognisable, as the Tees Bridge. The vertical lift bridge, the first of its kind in Britain, allowed river traffic to continue uninterrupted.
Connecting Middlebrough and the borough of Stockton-on-Tees, it was opened by the Duke and Duchess of York on 28th February 1934.
The newsreel below shows the opening event. It lasts for just a minute and a half.
It shows the bridge and surrounding land from the air, before glimpses of the local people who turned out to see the Royals and other dignatories at this historic event.
Think the Duke and Duchess of York look familiar? Two years after the Tees Bridge was opened, the Duke became King George VI following his brother’s abdication. He died in 1952, when his daughter was made Queen Elizabeth II and his wife became the Queen Mother.
He’s also the British monarch with a speed impediment portrayed in the feature film “The King’s Speech”.
Duke and Duchess of York at opening of Tees bridge (1934) – British Pathé on YouTube
Industry at Southbank
Long ago South Bank was a market town called Tees Tilery, but today is part of the Middlesbrough urban area.
The next two old photo postcards show how the iron and steel industry dominated the area of South Bank.
Ironfounders Henry Bolckow and John Vaughan established a partnership at Vulcan Street in 1840, built a blast furnace at South Bank in 1851, and incorporated their business in 1864.
Middlesbrough On Film
As part of the Discover Middlesbrough Festival, the North East Film Archive screened a special archive film at Middlesbrough Town Hall in October 2013.
This is the three and a half minute trailer of the screened film. It includes a breathtaking range of Middlesbrough’s people and places across many different decades.
Middlesbrough on film – Middlesbrough Council on YouTube
Following the success of the 2013 screening, an second film was made by the North East archives, and screened at Middlesbrough Town Hall in October 2014.
This is the three minute trailer showing some of the moments included in the second film. There’s everything from the ship industry, steelworks, and other heavy industrial toil, through to views of ordinary streets and local families enjoying summer sun.
Middlesbrough on Film 2 trailer – Middlesbrough Council on YouTube
Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge Opening (Plus Accident!)
The official opening of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge took place in 1911, and amazingly there is a short film of both the ceremony that day, and an accident that happened as the bridge started moving.
The focus is on the Mayor and well dressed dignitaries in their top hats. Their wives sport large bonnets and floor length skirts.
But you also see the bridge in action, and glimpses of the landscape around it.
Watch carefully – at 15 seconds in one of the older men with their backs to us (next to the man with the satchel), suddenly drops down the gap at high speed!
Hardly anyone on the bridge seems to have noticed, or seem inclined not to do anything, although of course they were on a platform heading out across the river.
Instead, lots of people on the land side rush forward, including the ladies with a child, but a policeman nonchantly waves people back.
The poor man is then lifted up to safety by some smartly dressed men in bowler hats, one of whom places his hand across the man’s back, as you would with someone who had just had a great shock.
Opening of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (1911) | Britain on Film – BFI on YouTube
Unemployment in the 1930s was rife across the UK, including in Middlesbrough and Cleveland.
During this period, a number of Royals visited hard hit communities, to talk to the people affected and see some of the conditions locals were living in.
Prince George, the Duke of Kent, was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. He made his first visit to Middlesbrough in 1933, to see the Unemployment Centres.
The short (silent) newsreel of this visit includes a lineup of World War I veterans proudly displaying the medals they received for valiant service. Prince George stops to talk to them.
Lots of people have turned out to see him, but there’s a noticeable absence of flags and other welcoming paraphanalia often on display for royal visits of the time.
There’s a lovely shot of the shop front of Evans Fried Fish and Chips, a glimpse of the pub next door and many local people. The police are having quite a job holding back the crowd.
Prince George Visits Middlesbrough AKA Prince George Pays His First Visit To Middlesbrough (1933) – British Pathé on YouTube
1970s Borough Road Wedding
This 1970s cine film records a wedding held on Borough Road, Middlesbrough.
In the background you can see the old ABC cinema, along with several business buildings and residential terraces.
1970’s Wedding in Middlesborough UK www.DaveEldergill.org – Dave Eldergill on YouTube
Memories of Middlesbrough
This 2012 video displays old photos and contemporary photos of Middlesbrough’s people and places, including several pubs, the West Lane Hospital, and a 1977 Silver Jubilee street party.
Memories Of Middlesbrough 🙂 – Kenny Welsh on YouTube