VISITORS to Middlesbrough can enjoy a whistle-stop tour of its history through a new timeline hoarding unveiled around the Town Hall.
The Town Hall recently celebrated its 128 year anniversary since officially opening (23rd January 1889) and now residents can discover more about the history of the venue and the town.
The hoardings have been erected as part of the Middlesbrough Town Hall Refurbishment and Restoration Project.
The ‘My Town Hall’ hoardings stand at 2.3 metres tall and 29.5 metres long and tell the story of modern Middlesbrough’s expansion from a small hamlet in 1801 through to the refurbishment works of the Town Hall.
The temporary display forms part of the perimeter of the contractor site on the corner of Albert Road and Corporation Road whilst renovation work is ongoing at the Grade II* Listed venue.
The hoardings have been developed by project staff and Town Hall volunteers and chart historical events in the town and venue’s history including the story of rapid Victorian expansion, iron manufacturing, opening of the Transporter Bridge and David Bowie’s performance as Ziggy Stardust at Middlesbrough Town Hall 1972.
The timeline also features artist impressions of the completed works alongside reproductions of unique historic plans, photographs and newspaper snippets from the collections of Middlesbrough Libraries, Teesside Archives and The Gazette.
Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We hope the hoardings whet the appetite of passers-by for the Town Hall restoration project which is now underway. They present a whistle-stop through the ages tour of where Middlesbrough has come from and ends with the question ‘What’s Next?’.
“The town is undoubtedly enjoying a huge upturn with new cultural, retail and leisure opportunities arriving all the time and the Town Hall when it reopens, restored to its former glory, will be the jewel in the crown of a hugely re-energised Middlesbrough centre so that is just one answer to the question.”
Tosh Warwick, Middlesbrough Council’s Heritage Development Officer, said: “The new hoardings capture key moments in both the story of Middlesbrough and the Town Hall spanning over two centuries and highlight the important part the venue has played in the history of the area.
“We have already had very positive feedback on the timeline and hope it generates further interest in Middlesbrough’s heritage, the history of the Town Hall and the fantastic renovation of one of the region’s leading landmarks.”
The Middlesbrough Town Hall Refurbishment and Restoration Project is supported by a £3.7m Heritage Lottery Fund award, a further £3.6m from Middlesbrough Council and £500,000 awarded by Arts Council England (ACE).
Once complete it will result in the Town Hall being restore the iconic Grade II* listed building back to its full 19th Century glory.
It will see parts of the building, currently inaccessible to the public, being opened up, including the Victorian courtroom, cells and fire station which would be made into heritage attractions in their own right.
The plans also include the restoration of the carriage driveway with original glass roof which will become the main box office and circulation area, an external lighting scheme, the development of new café and bar facilities, and a new community space.
Further information on Middlesbrough Town Hall, including details on ways to get involved in the project, can be found at www.mytownhall.co.uk, on the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/MiddlesbroughTownHall, Twitter @mbro_townhall and Instagram at www.instagram.com/middlesbrough_townhall/.