Windfall to upgrade Middlesbrough’s hidden heritage gems

A £120,000 cash boost looks set to breathe new life into some of the hidden heritage gems in Middlesbrough town centre.

Historic England has backed the funding for a new programme which aims to shine a light on the culture, history and stories of the town centre.

It will be called Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough and will last for two years, based in the Grade II listed Masham Hotel close to Marks and Spencer on Linthorpe Road.

Vicky Holbrough, director of Navigator North, the Middlesbrough-based arts organisation who are leading the project said: “We’ve been inspired by the original Winter Garden which aimed to improve health and wellbeing and bring arts and culture to the people of Middlesbrough between 1907 to 1963.

“The Masham is open to everyone, a place to be creative, meet your neighbours and see Middlesbrough in a brand-new way.”

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough will put on community events, exhibitions and workshops inspired by the town’s remaining historically significant buildings, heritage archives and public collections.

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Exchange Square – once home to the grand Royal Exchange building which was pulled down to make way for the A66 road – and Zetland Road will feature.

The project also hopes to expand on the re-established Tunnel Gallery based at Middlesbrough Railway Station and connect with historically significant works from the Middlesbrough Collection held at modern art galley mima.

Original Exchange Square, Middlesbrough
(Image: Carmel Ramsay)

Kate Wilson, partnerships team leader for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire said: “Revealing the history of Middlesbrough’s distinctive historic quarter will help achieve the prosperous future we all want.

“When you arrive at the station what better way to begin your experience than to find yourself surrounded by such fine public buildings and spaces?

“We want to celebrate and unlock the potential of this historic North East town by investing in this High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme and help it thrive and make a positive contribution to the future of Middlesbrough.”

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough will also feature research and archiving activities, opportunities for education and training and a programme film.

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough’s culture, communities and education member, said: “The centre of Middlesbrough is packed with little gems of cultural and historical significance, and it’s vital that we protect and preserve them for future generations.

“This project is a great opportunity for people to share their memories and delve beneath the surface of our town’s amazing history and heritage.”

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