photographs: Richard Clayton
We had a very interesting session at AV Dawson’s Staiths Building, Port of Middlesbrough. It has really helped to focus the project, reinforcing how fascinating working on it will be and how important it will be in spreading the history of Middlesbrough to a wide audience. The meeting was very well attended by an energetic and enthusiastic group who thoroughly enjoyed the session and actively engaged.
Steve began with an overview of the project and progress to date, introducing possible areas the project could explore. He explained the funding opportunities and areas of support the project could link with. This was reinforced by Rob Nichols, a local historian and archaeologist , who provided some historical background on the town and advice on possible directions for the project. Rob has kindly agreed to act as a consultant to the group and will provide valuable advice and support.
Next, we had a presentation from Charlie Nettle, MD designate for AV Dawson. What a fascinating presentation this turned out to be. For a man who said he had no previous interest in history, Charlie was remarkably well-informed giving us a very detailed overview of the origins and development of the Port. Additionally, providing numerous insights into the Port’s massive contribution to the economy and growth of the area and its possible future as a leading contributor to the area’s further development. I think many of us had our eyes opened by all he told us about the positives of the Middlesbrough economy.
A highlight was taking in the panoramic view of the town from the AV Dawson viewing gallery (above). We were able to take in the sweep of both the older buildings and the new developments within the compass of the beautiful Cleveland Hills. This really showed the development of the area from an ‘Infant Hercules’ to a modern multinational power base.
All of this was illustrated by AV Dawson’s display panels laying out the development of both the Port and the town from its origins in the 1830s to the present day.
The project team will continue to meet each week continuing to research the development of the town, gathering the material which will inform the planned walk. Additional developments will include recording local voices and memories from St. Hilda’s, intended to explore the richness of community life, previously hidden from history.
An exploratory walk, following the planned route of the final walk, will take place at 10.00 am on 31st May at 10.00.
Learn more about St Hilda's Digital Walk with this video