Uncovering Middlesbrough’s hidden gems

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A major cash boost set to breathe new life into some of the heritage gems on Middlesbrough’s High Street

Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership has secured a grant of almost £120,000 from Historic England to uncover the hidden gems of Middlesbrough’s high street.

The Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough cultural programme will shine a light on the culture, history and stories of the high street, inviting everyone to join in and see their hometown with fresh eyes.

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough will last for two years and has its base at the Grade II listed Masham Hotel in the centre of Middlesbrough 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 create and present community events, art exhibitions, workshops and a range of arts projects all of which are inspired by Middlesbrough’s historically significant buildings, heritage archives and public collections.

It will explore the heritage of Exchange Square and Zetland Road, expand on the recently re-established Tunnel Gallery based in Middlesbrough Railway Station and connect with historically significant works from the Middlesbrough Collection held at MIMA.

A public programme of events starting in summer 2021 will take place in and around the Heritage Action Zone. Local people can get involved with talks, pop-up events, workshops and activities all on the high street.

Vicky Holbrough continued: “Working with artists and communities we will uncover perhaps familiar and little-known heritage stories embedded within the fabric of this part of the town centre, encouraging visitors and residents to explore Middlesbrough’s important cultural past on today’s high street.”

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough supports Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership’s mission to use art and culture as a driver for regeneration and attract new visitors to a more vibrant town centre.

It also complements the community engagement programme and improvements planned for properties and public spaces in the Historic Quarter as part of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme.

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 Council’s Executive member for Culture, Communities and Education, 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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