Day Coach and Walking Tour of Middlesbrough

Saturday 24th September 2022

Guide: Dr Michael Johnson

Highlights of our walking tour

Zetland Buildings - Backhouse Bank - St Columba's Church

'Ironopolis' bool cover

We were guided by Dr Michael Johnson, author of Ironopolis: The Architecture of Middlesbrough, Assistant Professor of Design History at Northumbria University, and a committee member of our society.

During the 19th century, Middlesbrough developed from a small farm into an industrial metropolis of 90,000 inhabitants. Its rapid growth produced a townscape of extraordinary variety and richness. The tour will encompass buildings dating from the town's foundation in 1830 to the recent Institute of Modern Art, which signals Middlesbrough's ambitions as a 21st century city.

Beginning at the original town hall, we examined the commercial palaces of the ironmasters' district and the civic splendour of G. G. Hoskins' Victorian town hall. The tour included access to St Columba's Church, designed by Temple Moore, the Flemish-Romanesque Church of the Sacred Heart, and the spectacular tiled interior of the Zetland Hotel. A highlight was the former offices of Bell Brothers, the only surviving commercial building by Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb.

Around the railway station we saw the handsome Victorian townscape of the heritage quarter. This area has recently been awarded High Street Heritage Action Zone funding for a programme of ambitious regeneration by Historic England and Middlesbrough Council. Marķa Carballeira of Historic England, and the society's Honorary Auditor, updated us on this ambitious programme that seeks to fuel economic, social, and cultural recovery.

Booking form and detailed itinerary as circulated to members (PDF).


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