Joseph Pease- The man who helped shape Middlesbrough


Before the 1800s the town was little more than a truck stop for travelers and traders moving up and down the country in search of better things. The earliest recording of the town’s name is ‘Mydilsburgh’ which alluded to the town’s middle-journey status on the famous Christian Durham to Whitby route. In 1801, there were no more than four farmhouses marking the territory of the town.

In the early 1800s, one very forward sighted entrepreneur, Joseph Pease, decided to nurture Middlesbrough’s much overlooked potential. Pease used his influence to establish a rail connection from Darlington and develop Middlesbrough as a port for coal. He famously predicted that “Yarm was, Stockton is, Middlesbrough will be”. Indeed, the motto chosen by the first body of town councillors was ‘Erimus’; Latin for ‘We will be’.

Joseph Pease (22 June 1799 – 8 February 1872) was involved in the early railway system in England and was the first Quaker elected to Parliament.

Pease joined his father Edward and other members of the Pease family in starting the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company. Pease was married to Emma Gurney, daughter of Joseph Gurney of Norwich in 1826. They had sixteen children, amongst them was Arthur Pease (1837-1898). Pease’s ninth child, Elizabeth Lucy married the agricultural engineer and inventor, John Fowler. Fowler was a pioneer in the application of steam power to agriculture.

In 1829 Pease was managing the Stockton and Darlington Railway in place of his father. In 1830 he bought so many of the collieries in his area that he became the largest owner of collieries in South Durham. That same year Pease, Joseph Gurney, and some other Quaker businessmen bought a large tract of land at Middlesbrough. They turned it into a port for exporting coal. In December 1830 a new railway line was opened on the Stockton and Darlington to Middlesbrough to get Pease’s coal there.

In 1832 Pease was elected as a Member of Parliament for South Durham. As a Quaker, he was not immediately allowed to take his seat, because he would not take the oath of office. A special committee considered the question and decided that Pease could affirm, rather than swear, and he was accepted into the membership of the Parliament. He was also unusual in that, like most Quakers of the day, he refused to remove his hat as he entered the House of Commons.

Pease supported the Whig governments of Earl Grey and Lord Melbourne. He joined Thomas Fowell Buxton in the anti-slavery movement. He supported the removal of bishops from the House of Lords. He was also in favour of shorter Parliaments and the secret ballot. He retired from politics in 1841.

In 1860 Pease became the president of the Peace Society, a post he held until his death.



Middlesbrough Football Club has played a central part in the wider town’s history dating back to the club’s origins in the 1870s.

From an early nomadic existence that included matches in Albert Park, to nurturing local stars who went on to represent England including Wilf Mannion, Brian Clough and Alan Peacock and the modern era at the Riverside, the story of football in Middlesbrough has been closely intertwined with places and people at the heart of the town.

Inspired by material from the club’s archives, oral histories, podcasts and a range of personal collections, a new ‘From Ayresome Park to the Riverside’ trail will be launched this Saturday, October 30, as part of the Discover Middlesbrough festival.

The digital walking trail – designed by Peter Hinton Design and curated by Heritage Unlocked’s Dr Tosh Warwick and FMTTM editor Robert Nichols with support from Middlesbrough Council Public Health – will be available through the Huntee website and will be launched with a guided walk taking place before the next home match against Birmingham City on Saturday.

The Boro-inspired trail will take in a route from Middlesbrough FC’s home of 92 years Ayresome Park and lead supporters on a journey through the club’s history en route to the Riverside Stadium, home since 1995.

The trail combines visits to a number of familiar, fascinating and perhaps unfamiliar places that have played an important in part in Middlesbrough’s football history.

These will include the pitch puddle installation by celebrated sculptor Neville Gabie at Ayresome Park marking the spot from where Pak Do Ik famously struck his winning goal against Italy in the 1966 FIFA World Cup – a sculpture thought to be the only public artwork outside of North Korea to be recognised by the DPRK government and considered a National Historic Monument.

The trail also takes in Albert Park – the club’s first home – and the statue of Boro legend and managerial colossus Brian Clough, who famously used to walk through the park en route to Ayresome Park from his home in Valley Road.

Information on Clough’s career at the Boro features alongside other Boro players memories of Albert Park, including those of legendary forward Alan Peacock who used to play in the park as a child before sneaking into Ayresome Park when the gates opened to allow fans looking to make an early exit!

The walk will continue into the town centre and take in the sites of former Boro grounds, buildings closely associated with Boro history and will revisit stories of Victorian trophy processions and 1980s promotion celebrations – all supported by a rich array of photographs and historic material.

Heading to the Riverside Stadium, statues of Boro greats George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion will also be visited along with a number of historic plaques and memorials telling the story of the club and players through the ages – including those who lost their lives during the First World War.

The new digital trail will also provide an opportunity for supporters to share their own Boro memories, stories and souvenirs with view to updating the trail regularly with new anecdotes and information about Middlesbrough FC from a fans’ viewpoint.

It is hoped the ‘From Ayresome Park To The Riverside’ trail will also be used as an education and tourism resource so younger supporters and visitors to Middlesbrough can explore the history and heritage of the club and town.

·         Join Dr Tosh Warwick and Robert Nichols at The Holgate (TS5 6BX) – opposite the Holgate End Wall at 1pm on Saturday, October 30.

The walk will take approximately 90 minutes allowing enough time to arrive at the Riverside Stadium for the match.

For more information contact or 07591 093136.

The Birth of Middlesbrough where did it all start ??


Mydilsburgh is the earliest recorded form of Middlesbrough’s name and dates to Saxon times. ‘Burgh’ refers to an ancient settlement, or perhaps a fort of pre-Saxon origin which may have been situated on slightly elevated land close to the Tees. ‘Mydil’ was either the name of an Anglo-Saxon or a reference to Middlesbrough’s middle location, half way between the Christian centres of Durham and Whitby. In Anglo-Saxon times Middlesbrough was certainly the site of a chapel or cell belonging to Whitby Abbey but despite this early activity, Middlesbrough was still only a small farm of twenty five people as late as 1801.

In 1829 a group of Quaker businessmen headed by Joseph Pease of Darlington purchased this Middlesbrough farmstead and its estate and set about the development of what they termed `Port Darlington’ on the banks of the Tees nearby. A town was planned on the site of the farm to supply labour to the new coal port – Middlesbrough was born.

Joseph Pease, `the father of Middlesbrough’ was the son of Edward Pease, the man behind the Stockton and Darlington Railway. By 1830 this famous line had been extended to Middlesbrough, making the rapid expansion of the town and port inevitable. In 1828 Joseph Pease had predicted there would be a day when;

“..the bare fields would be covered with a busy multitude with vessels crowding the banks of a busy seaport”.

His prophecy was to prove true, the small farmstead became the site of North Street, South Street, West Street, East Street, Commercial Street, Stockton Street, Cleveland Street, Durham Street, Richmond Street, Gosford Street, Dacre Street, Feversham Street and Suffield Street, all laid out on a grid-iron pattern centred on a Market Square.

New businesses quickly bought up premises and plots of land in the new town and soon shippers, merchants, butchers, innkeepers, joiners, blacksmiths, tailors, builders and painters were moving in. Labour was employed, staithes and wharves were built, workshops were constructed and lifting engines installed. Indeed such was the growth of this port that in 1846 one local writer observed;

“To the stranger visiting his home after an abscence of fifteen years, this proud array of ships, docks, warehouses, churches, foundries and wharfs would seem like some enchanted spectacle, some Arabian Night’s vision.”

By 1851 Middlesbrough’s population had grown from 40 people in 1829 to 7,600 and it was rapidly replacing Stockton as the main port on the Tees. An old Teesside proverb had proven true.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

The story of Middlesbrough’s first ever black player


As part of Black history month Project Middlesbrough is focusing inspiring black people who are part of Middlesbrough great and rich history ,firstly we are looking Middlesbrough’s first ever black player Lloyd Lindbergh Delapenha here’s his story.

Lloyd Lindbergh Delapenha who was known as Lindy during his time at the club, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 20, 1927, became Middlesbrough F.C first ever black player in the clubs history.

Delapenha started playing competitive football at the age of 11 when he played for Wolmers schools. He scored his first goal for Wolmer’s against St George’s college in Jamaica in the Manning cup competition. Delapenha then attended Munro College in Jamaica where he was a multi-sport athlete. As a schoolboy, Delapenha took part in 16 events over a one-and-a-half-day period in England. He then served with the British armed forces in the Middle East following World War II, During his service, an English football scout saw him playing football for the British Army.

Delapenha was of interest to Midldesbrough manger David Jack who signed Delapenha from Portsmouth for a fee of £6,000 in 1950 creating history becoming Middlesbrough first ever black player, one of the first black players in English football.

Delapenha made his Boro debut for the club on the final day 49/50 season against Fulham.

When joining the Boro he played as a winger /inside forward . Delapenha scored his first Boro goal against Arsenal, the club that had turned down the chance to tie him to a professional contract earlier in his career. He became a regular for Boro as an outside right or a winger as the club finished sixth the following season.

The player enjoyed over 8 seasons playing at the club and become a key player in the squad , was the top scorer three seasons of the eight he spent at the club,

He made over 270 appearances for the club in eight seasons scoring a total of 93 goals in his time at the Boro. Brian Clough described him as a “marvellous player” and “one of the best I have ever played with.” He was also at one time known to be the only Boro player to own a car.

Following retirement from football; he held a senior job with the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation, co-ordinating coverage of cricket, the Commonwealth Games, and helping bring international football to Jamaica. He represented his homeland at golf, while he also had a passion for horse racing.

Delapenha passed away peacefully in Kingston in January 2017, aged 89.

Looking black at Delapenha time at Middlesbrough FC it’s clear he became important part of the clubs history.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

Junior Durrani a Teesside Artist


Would you like to introduce yourself?

Im 32, I live in Eaglescliffe and I was a primary school teacher at Barley Fields in Ingleby Barwick for the last 5 years. Currently, I’m taking a break from teaching to pursue this other passion of mine – painting! Growing up, I always loved creating/illustrating/painting but somewhere along the way I lost track of it. I studied Literature at Teesside Uni then did a little bit of travelling and just sort of “fell into” Education really. It wasn’t until my Mum passed away in 2017 from ovarian cancer that I picked up a paintbrush again – reflecting on it now makes me realise it was definitely a form of coping with the grief. I kept plugging away with it on evenings/weekends but it’s tough to truly pursue it properly with the demands of the classroom. Probably like a lot of people during the pandemic, I reflected on what I really wanted to do and this is where I’m at now!

What’s the story behind your most recent artwork Misspent youth ? Meaning behind it ?

Misspent Youth is an ongoing series that I like to revisit from time to time whenever I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic. I think we’re all guilty of looking back and romanticising those formative years of our life (particularly in the last 18 months or so!). I found myself reminiscing about simpler times, being a student at Teesside Uni, working part time in a bar and living for those nights out with your friends in and around Boro. I guess it’s a yearning for that social connection we have all been missing. 

What do you think of the art scene in Teesside ? Do you feel there needs to be more suppprt for artists based in the area ?

There are some incredibly talented local artists in and around Teesside; the recent Middlesbrough art weekender is proof that the art scene is thriving! The answer will always be a definite yes to giving more support to artists – absolutely! However, you don’t have to look too far to see that there are already some brilliant organisations and communities that do tremendous work to support the arts on Teeside. I follow some excellent accounts on social media (Navigator North, creative factory boro, tees valley arts to name just a few!) which keep me up to date with what’s happening locally and who’s doing what. It provides me with genuine inspiration, encourgaement and belief that there are others out there creating great things!

Can you tell us of any upcoming artwork you are currently working on ?

Well, the ‘Misspent Youth/Middlesbrough themed ‘night out’ series is always there to add to from time to time whenever that wistfulness overtakes me again! I used to live in Middlesbrough so that connection will always be there. But currently, I’m looking to my present home for inspiration: my more recent pieces are a bit of a love-note to where I live. It’s a sort of abstracty/minimalist style which feels very freeing and exciting because it’s different to what I’ve done before. The grounded nature of everything certainly made me appreciate what I’ve got here at home and fall in love again with my immediate surroundings. I’m very grateful!

I’ve also started following some really contemporary painters on instagram that paint in this vibrant/cubist style which just capture a whole…”vibe”! It genuinely excites me and is just unlike anything I’ve ever seen or done before so I’m trying to incorporate that into my own work. I think that way of expressing yourself on the canvas really lends itself to capturing personality of my own puppy, Luna. She is full of energy and I’m just besotted with her so I’m thinking I might create multiple portraits of her in the near-future! Very self-indulgent!

What’s your overall goal what would you like to achieve with your art ?

I think it’s important to just keep enjoying the process of creating above all else.  The goal of an artist should be to evolve, adapt and keep learning: to be courageous and experiment with different styles. Avoid comparison, keep looking at a range of art and eclectic artists to find inspiration from the unexpected. I don’t know, perhaps it’s a bit naïve but I try everyday to prioritise that enjoyment of the process over exterior validation/being able to become financially successful as an artist – whatever that looks like or means. I think if you do something you love, and you genuinely love it, you’ve already achieved something.

Junior is currently having his work displayed at Cafe Etch in Middlesbrough, they will be hosting his first exhibition on October 22nd focusing on his Misspent Youth artwork.

By Chloe Tempestoso

                      My message to all the women out there


By Chloe Tempestoso

This blog piece is very different to my usually Project Middlesbrough work it’s about my experience of being a woman what I feel is wrong with society’s attitudes towards women’s safety, in regards to sexual harassment or sexual abuse rape,murder of women.


to my fellow women out there this is open letter to you in relation to the recent events in the last few months just how I been feeling about the whole situation, you course would know I am speaking about the tragic deaths of Sarah Everard most recently Sabina Nessa two women just simply walking who were tragically lost their lives.

We seen last week Sarah’s killer was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole meaning he will die in prison can only be some justice to the horrid crime the individual committed, yes, I will not be naming his name in this piece don’t even feel his worth any space. The Sentence can only give some level of comfort to Sarah’s family and women across the UK some justice for Sarah and knowing the monster will never be released from prison.

Question that’s on my mind is how a serving police offer was allowed to even do this, I know people will say you can’t stop someone doing something yes that’s very true even I admit. To hear there were reports a week before the murder it was reported he was accused of flashing to other women, how was this individual allowed to be still serving and keep his warrant card, something that is very questionable.

What’s even more sad to hear is people’s comments regarding the murders instead questioning why the killer would commit such a horrid crime, we seem to always blame the victims like somehow its their fault, they could have somehow helped stopped this from happening to themselves. I will give you an example Sabina Nessa murder first thing I heard people say was she was out alone that time of night really or London is not a safe place for a woman. The same with Sarah’s death I heard why she got in the car with him, or did she not question him first.

Suggesting somehow both women are partly at fault with what happened to them lets get this clear it doesn’t matter whether a woman is walking alone at 3 o’clock in the morning or midday in a crowd of people this should never have happened, blaming the victim is part of the issue with attitudes towards women I hear both genders make these comments I’m basically stating don’t blame the victim. Women should have the right to walk alone anywhere at any time without being stalked having sexual comments made towards them, be sexual assaulted raped or killed.

Sexual harassment now I’m going to be speaking from my own personal experiences how many times do you hear when a woman is raped or murdered, this a very rare doesn’t happen much I hear them type of comments all to often even about sexual harassment. I’m 26 years old I been subject to sexual harassment three times I am sure most women reading this have themselves experienced some form of sexual harassment its far too common today. Most people are totally unaware that being touched on the breasts, grabbed between the legs, or squeezed on the bottom could constitute as sexual assault many women see this behaviour as normal would never think to report it to the police. When I was younger going out first experiencing night life and adulthood on one or more occasions, I was subject to being touch in a private area without consent, thinking nothing of it remembering thinking it was acceptable behaviour it was part of lad culture, at the time I was only in my early 20s looking back wish I reacted differently I was not educated or ever told this was not okay behaviour. Today I feel this type of behaviour is still seen as acceptable by most people as seen as normal as just part of people being drunk, and the lad culture lets face the fact its not okay at all being touched in a private area without consent when I experienced this it was by three individuals I did not know.

I always been a very confident women in my youth and early adulthood you’re most probably wondering what I mean as in it would never bother me walking around my area alone in the evening or walking home from the bus stop after I finished work after a 8/9 o’clock finish, I never thought nothing of it. I would always have them comments made towards me should you be walking home alone at that time plenty of more, somehow making me feel I was committing some crime and doing something wrong. I always been a keen traveller took group trips gone solo being on flights alone let nothing stop me get in the way of travel goals, I again heard comments “you fly alone”you shouldn’t go to that country on your own your asking for trouble” always making me feel I done something wrong even other women telling me I’m brave for doing the things I do , I simply see it as enjoying my life and yes I am sensible of course there’s some places I will not travel to . I have the right as a women to walk home alone and travel alone without being harassed or sexual assaulted or attacked shouldn’t have even think about many women do because somebody else has urge to behaviour in a disgusting way towards me.

In regards to women being stopped by solo male police officer we heard the head of the police in London state women should flag a bus down if they felt unsafe about going in a car with male police officer or phone 999 to make sure there a police officer don’t even know what you can say to that advice except no women should have to feel that unsafe when in presence of a police officer , my message to the MET police is make sure your officers aren’t sexual monsters , we hear another officer in Sarah’s killers unit was convicted of rape this week , please make sure your putting the right people on the streets to protect us instead of making it our issue.

This is not an attack on men to any male readers this is not attack on you, I am not someone who believes that all men have these attitudes I know vast majority of men do not share these attitudes towards women.

We have so far to go as an society to change attitudes towards women and making women feel safe to live there lives freely without being subject to any form of abuse, my message to all the women out there don’t be afraid to live your life, it’s not fair for any of you to feel unsafe.

Let’s stop sexual abuse towards women, try changing attitudes by educating people, stop blaming women for sexual abuse.


Erimus: Uncovering Teesside’s missing LGBT+ history


By Luke Myer

There’s an odd stereotype about our LGBT+ community on Teesside: that we don’t really exist.

It’s not true, of course – our LGBTees network alone has over two hundred members, and this is just a fraction of an estimated 13,400 LGBT+ people across the Tees Valley. We’ve always been here – but how much of our history can we read about?

Instead, what we can read is a lot of commentators saying Teesside couldn’t possibly be a place for LGBT+ people. As with most dodgy opinions, you can find examples of this on Twitter. When the government announced it was going to hold a global LGBT+ conference, the Spectator journalist Jonathan Miller tweeted that it would be irrelevant to ‘everyone in Hartlepool.’ Before that, in February, a man called Anthony tweeted that ‘traditional voters in Redcar’ dislike ‘gender identity politics’. The same view about ‘voters in Redcar’ was tweeted out by a bloke called Michael the year before, and the journalist Helen Lewis the year before that. The problem with all this is that Helen is from Worcester, Anthony is from Norfolk, Jonathan is from France, and Michael is an expat from Yeovil who now lives in Turkey. None of these people, as far as I can tell, have ever even been to Teesside. Their average distance from us is about 760 miles, although I imagine Michael’s doing most of the legwork there.

The challenge here is that for decades, we haven’t been able to tell our own story. It’s been written for us, mainly by those who Jeff Stelling might describe as guacamole-eating latte-drinkers. The truth is that there is a rich, diverse history across Teesside; we’ve had feminist pioneers like Marion Coates Hansen, Alice Coates and Red Ellen Wilkinson, all the way through to Mo Mowlam or Steph McGovern. We’ve had anti-racist campaigners from the Stockton trade unionists through to today’s activists like ‘Chief’ Bradley Mafuta or Georgina Chinaka. So too have we had generations of LGBT+ folk.

That’s why, as we prepare for our post-pandemic Pride, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at just some of the LGBT+ Teessiders left out of our history.

Esmé Langley (b.1919)

Guisborough is a quiet East Cleveland town, perhaps best known for its beautiful ruined priory, home to monks during the 12th century. But in 1919, a woman was born in Guisborough who would go on to lead a less-than-monastic life.

Esmé Langley had a happy childhood, and moved south at the age of sixteen. After working on cyphers at the War Office during WWII, she became a writer and publisher. She had a strong desire to fight for minorities, and in 1963 she founded the UK’s first lesbian group, the Minorities Research Group. Her first task for the MRG was to set up a new publication – Britain’s first lesbian magazine.

In spring 1964 the first issue of Arena Three was published, and Langley took on the sole legal and financial responsibility for it. The magazine provided a lifeline for lesbians and bisexual women across the country; the former secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, Antony Grey, later wrote that Arena Three was pivotal in ‘breaching the public wall of silence and bringing lesbianism into the arena of public debate’. Esmé risked loss of employment, abuse and ostracization from family to do it.

Arena Three ran until July 1971, before morphing into a new publication called Sappho, first published in April 1972. Sappho was the dominant means by which lesbian and bisexual feminist voice was developed in the UK, until its final issue was published in 1981. The two publications were directly responsible for establishing key LGBT+ organisations, such as the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and KENRIC, the UK’s longest-running lesbian social group. But indirectly, the impact of Esmé’s work was in huge strides of social progress for lesbians and bisexual women. By the time she passed away in 1991, homosexuality had been partly decriminalised and Stonewall were amassing public opposition to the Conservatives’ vicious Section 28 legislation.

That progress circled back to Teesside. A Teesside Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) group was founded in November 1970; by 1972 there were three separate CHE Groups across the Tees Valley. Under Labour’s Mike Carr in the 1980s, Middlesbrough Council set up its first equal opportunities committee and donated £750 to fund a lesbian telephone helpline. The council was branded “Looney Left” for doing so, and the Evening Gazette published a whole page of complaint letters. That didn’t stop the community from growing. A small LGBT+ scene started to emerge in Middesbrough, and older folks in the community will remember a tiny club called Paradise in the 1980s, as well as gay nights at The Grand Astoria, The Hog’s Head (now a Tesco) and Centrefold (now being turned into flats).

Reverend Christopher Wardale (b.1946)

Esmé had been born in the midst of a post-war baby boom – and 27 years later, there came another one. From the rubble of the Second World War came the NHS and the modern welfare state, and a new generation came with it too. Two and a half million babies were born in the years directly after the Second World War; one of those babies was Christopher Wardale.

Christopher was born in Saltburn in 1946; his father was the boss of Saltburn Motor Services, a major bus company in East Cleveland which ran 44 vehicles transporting I.C.I. workers, builders and tourists. This upbringing allowed him to go to university to study fine arts. At 30, he was accepted for training to the priesthood.

“I never thought of myself as a priest who ‘happened’ to be gay,” he would later write. “I was called by God as a gay man to be a priest.”

After being ordained in 1979, the Reverend Wardale became an energetic, pioneering leader across the North East – turning around churches from Boldon Colliery in Tyneside to Cockerton in County Durham. He served as the minister of Holy Trinity Darlington for 14 years from 1992. It wasn’t always easy; he was spat at and called the ‘anti-Christ’. But his ability to preach with joy, fun and compassion led to his description in The Northern Echo in 2006: “respected by many”.

In the late 1980s, Christopher met his long-term partner Malcolm, an academic at Northumbria University. After twenty years together, the couple celebrated their civil partnership in 2005. They were among the first civil partnerships in the country, and although the church nationally didn’t approve, their local church held a thanksgiving celebration service where the former Bishop of Durham blessed the couple.

After his 60th birthday in 2006, Christopher retired. Hundreds of local well-wishers turned out at his church in Darlington, and even the Mayor came along to give Christopher and Malcolm three cheers. Since then, Christopher and Malcolm have continued to work to change attitudes in the church across the UK and Ireland. Same-sex marriage is currently not allowed in most Anglican churches, although change is coming; the Scottish Episcopal Church approved equal marriage in 2017, and the Church in Wales this year. In July, the Methodist Church also voted to allow same-sex marriage, following the United Reformed Church and the Quakers.

Elisha Lowther (b.1966)

By the time Christopher retired, the community across Teesside was starting to thrive. Local LGBT+ bars included Annie’s, The Oak, Cassidy’s and Desirez in the 1990s and early 2000s – predecessors to today’s clubs like Tiny and Sapphire’s. In 1997, the Rainbow Centre community group was established, which became Hart Gables in 2005. Several local support groups started to emerge, and at the heart of at least five different support groups was one woman, Elisha Lowther. I interviewed Ellie last year.

Ellie grew up in the 1960s in a mixed-race family of six, living in a tiny two-bedroom terraced house in the centre of Middlesbrough. 

‘I remember when I was a kid,’ she recalls, ‘there was one person on my street who got ridiculed all over the place for “dressing like a woman”, in the standard of then. Where we are now, we’ve made so much progress.’

‘The youngsters today, who don’t fit into the binary, they’re going to take a baseball bat to all these ‘-isms’. The youngsters see a sense of urgency in making the world a more inclusive and cleaner and fairer place.’

Elisha founded a wide range of local support groups, including Middlesbrough Survivors, Teesside Survivors, Cleveland Transgender Association and Trans Aware. Trans Aware operated the “Our House Project”, which provided a safe living space for trans Teessiders, as well as an online peer support group. The oldest person to receive support from Ellie’s group is 80 years old.

Today, she is the CEO of Essential Learning Curve LTD, delivering cultural awareness and diversity training.

‘I’ve had transphobic people come on my sessions. And at the end of the session, they’re not transphobic any more. They actually understand it. They understand the sandpaper feeling of dysphoria. They understand where it comes from, they understand how it interacts. So I think in that way, bit by bit, we’re changing things.’

‘For me, it’s about being in the position to make change… and I think the change is coming. We were born to make history, every one of us.’

Making history

There are hundreds of stories like these, going back to Teesside’s very beginnings.

There was the Bainesse Gallus, a gender-non-conforming Roman priest who lived in North Yorkshire in the 4th century. There was Anne Lennard, daughter of the Duchess of Cleveland, who had a lesbian relationship with the Italian mistress of her father King Charles II. There was William Metcalf, an elderly resident of Sir William Turner’s Hospital in Kirkleatham who was expelled for ‘sodomy’ in the 1770s. There was Sir Edmund Backhouse, an eccentric bisexual scholar from Darlington who alleged he’d had affairs with Prime Minister Archibald Primrose and the Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi. There was Harold Macmillan, MP for Stockton and future Prime Minister, widely considered to have been bisexual. There was Harry Coen and David Thornton, flamboyant gay journalists in Redcar in the 1970s who were arrested for organising an illegal 3,000-person gig for the Edgar Broughton Band, fresh from playing the Keele student occupation. There was Denise Mosse, a trans woman who grew up in Skelton in the 1960s and became Redcar’s chess champion. There are Victorian accounts of Saltburn fishermen dressing in drag to catch unsuspecting seals, sixty years before New York’s drag balls took off in the 1920s. There are LGBT+ veterans of North East mining communities, like Bob Bell, who can tell stories of the queer encounters some had while waiting for seams to be blown. Later, during the miners’ strikes in 1984, the Gay Scotland magazine published a letter from ‘Lance’, a 21-year-old North Yorkshire miner.

‘I’m gay,’ he wrote, ‘but some don’t believe it! Why should I keep quiet? I have as much right as anybody else to express my feelings!’

LGBT+ Teessiders have always been here, and we aren’t going anywhere. It’s as Middlesbrough’s motto says: Erimus. We shall be.

There’s another motto that exists on Teesside, of course: ‘Progress In Unity’. These were the words stitched into Teesside’s crest of arms more than fifty years ago, emblazoned in red beneath images of ships and seahorses and billowing wreaths in silver and blue. The message was simple: that only together can we move forward.

It was an unlikely idea, borne out of the hopes of generations of workers and families who had put differences aside to build a place they could call home. Less of a motto, and more of a promise: a vow to their children and their childrens’ children that one day it would be real. Teesside has not always lived up to this promise. But throughout the stories is a common thread of hope. We may come from different places, look different, and carry different identities with us, but for all of us this little corner of the world is home. That’s who we are – and who (Erimus) we shall be.

Article by Luke Myer is a writer and campaigner from Redcar & Cleveland who runs LGBTees, a Teesside LGBT+ network with over 200 members.

Dear my beloved Middlesbrough


This is a letter open letter to my beloved hometown Middlesbrough so here it goes.

Dear Middlesbrough you give me so much in my life in my short 26 years of life so far of living, I didn’t know for a long time how much you made me the person I am today in 2021. In my teen years and early 20s I did nothing but disrespect you, I mean if I’m being honest every opportunity I had I did look back how much I would speak negatively of the place I always called him I would see now its like looking at a different person in the mirror.

I often think and wonder how have I gone being 5 years ago traveling around Europe aged 21 speaking nothing but negatively about my beloved hometown to now 5 years on aged 26 running this blog celebrating positive stories and events happening here.

My started the blog back in late 2018 Project Middlesbrough is about to celebrate its 3rd of running which I can’t believe one I first launched. I thought it would last few months I never thought end up with nearly 40,000 visitors to my website nearly 5000 followers on the Facebook page and now even being radio presenter on a local station.

Your most probably wondering what my blog and being on the radio has to do with my hometown shaping me as a person, that’s just it there would be no Project Middlesbrough without Middlesbrough. With no blog there would never have been the opportunity for me to work in radio , write and have published be paid by other online platform’s to write pieces something I would never dreamt a few years ago, being paid to write articles for other people have some of my pieces been read by more than 2000 people. Even more so suffering from dyslexia yes I do struggle time to time with it without my blog I would never had achieved any of these thing, 2 years ago appearing on BBC News and appearing on national radio stations talking about my hometown all these amazing things which have happened to time in the 2 and half are down to my hometown Middlesbrough, none of this would happened if it wasn’t for you.

I grew so much as a person in the last few years through starting my blog , I can’t thank nothing more than my hometown without you I would never achieved my dreams , discover my passion working in radio.

Yes I know there are many issues in Middlesbrough; I think many people who read the blog think I am blind to this I know as much as the next person there’s many issues in our town I see every day. I can see when walking through the town centre there are many businesses closes there’s much work to be done to try and make our town a better place, I know a lot has gone wrong there’s much to be corrected, I feel many towns as there issues where just one of them, with hard work our town will grow and get better progress into a stronger and better place to live.

Project Middlesbrough is here to highlight positive stories happening in our area , so much negative media attention on our town this is a space for positive stories those positive voices derisive a place to be heard.

I have like many people who live here or live nearby have had a love to hate relationship with the area wanting to move away go somewhere with more opportunities ,speaking badly of the area when on my travels ,been ashamed of my Boro accent.

You’re not perfect Middlesbrough sometimes I question why I’m still here , but thankyou for helping me to become the person I am today.

Much love


How I grew to love my Teesside accent

Teesside Art

This is the story of How I grew to love my Teesside accent. Ever since being a teenager right up until my early 20s I always been ashamed of my Teesside accent. I think the reason I never liked having a Middlesbrough accent was the media representation of the accent whilst I was growing up it always been portrayed in a negative light. Often being mocked on television and never hearing any northern accents or anyone who spoke like me on any TV shows or radio shows ,having North East accents massively underrepresented in the media industry.

I remember back in 2013 Steph McGovern had received heavy criticism from viewers of BBC breakfast for sounding to common to be a presenter on BBC Breakfast. It was suggested by viewers and some BBC bosses she should try and change her accent and the way she speaks to more BBC English to avoid viewers not being to understand her. This was like some of my own experiences when traveling to different parts of the UK and around Europe interrailing back in 2016 . I would often face many procedures against my accent and how I spoke people not being able to understand my voice and many phrases I use not understanding what they meant, I would receive comments saying I didn’t sound English, or I sounded common, spoke to fast , often I felt on many occasions comments were made to me people were mocking the way I spoke. I do believe they are many occasions people are curious of the Teesside accent, its happened to me enough times for me to notice people mocking me or just being interested .

When seeing Steph McGovern be the BBC business reporter on the breakfast show back in 2013 for the first time seeing a women who sounded similar to me on the TV inspired me and also helped me to love my Teesside accent not be ashamed of the way I speak . It has led to me having the confidence to become a radio presenter and speak proudly in my Teesside accent. Hopefully if others hear me on the radio it will help them not be ashamed of their Teesside accent, not feel pressured in changing the way they speak help get more people with local northern accents into TV/Media roles.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

Middlesbrough Art Weekender


North East open call to Artists

From 30th September – 3rd October 2021 Middlesbrough Art Weekender (MAW) returns with work by artists around the theme of Infra-structure – visible and invisible, above and below, hard and soft.

Middlesbrough Art Weekender (MAW) and MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, are seeking applications for work by artists based in the North East or who have a connection to the area for an exhibition that forms part of MAW21. The selected artists will display their work in a group show or in appropriate interventions across Middlesbrough. The selection will be made by curators from MAW and MIMA and previously selected artists Penelope Payne and David Reynolds.

What to submit

  • A short description of the work, alongside a brief artist bio and contact details.
  • For 2D and 3D work, up to 5 still images (links or images). For video and sound work, performance, documentation etc please provide links to work online.
  • For large scale works and extensive installations please contact us prior to applying. If you are submitting work for a specific intervention, additional contextual information can 

also be submitted.

  • Applications can be made via video & audio. If you would like to apply with an alternative format then please contact us before doing so. 
  • Access statement if required.

What we offer selected artists

  • Exhibition: A group exhibition that forms part of MAW’s core programme
  • Artist Fee: £500
  • Professional Development: Virtual studio visit with Elinor Morgan, Head of Programme (MIMA), and a group crit with Elinor Morgan, Chris Clarke, Senior Curator (The Glucksman Museum, Ireland) and MAW curatorial team.

Who’s involved in selecting the artists?

Elinor Morgan is Head of Programme at MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Since 2008 she has curated residencies, exhibitions, public education programmes across the UK and has led and supported public art projects and developed freelance projects. She co-edited ‘The Constituent Museum’ (Valiz, 2018), a reader on how arts institutions might work differently with their publics. Elinor enjoys writing and editing essays, articles and reviews.

Helen Welford is Assistant Curator at MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. She specialises in the management of the Middlesbrough Collection held at MIMA and on the development and production of large-scale exhibitions. Helen’s research interest include feminist practice and representations of queer identities.

Penny Payne is an artist working on the North East coast, through sculpture and installation her practice considers and brings attention to overlooked women’s histories. Penny has shown work at M.A.W in 2018/19 and is currently showing her sculpture ”Unwoven” at Cheeseburn Sculpture Garden. She will also be presenting new work that combines research and traditional practice as part of the exhibition  ‘Sonia Boyce: In The Castle Of My Skin’ at MIMA in 2021.

David Reynolds is an artist and researcher based in Newcastle upon Tyne who’s practice is concerned with world building and queer futures

The Middlesbrough Art Weekender selectors are Liam Slevin, MAW festival Director and co-founder of The Auxiliary, Middlesbrough,  and Kypros Kyprianou, MAW curator, artist, filmmaker and tinkerer.

What happens if you aren’t selected for the North East Open Call?

Whilst we can only fund a small amount of artists with this particular opportunity, we are

always keen to hear from artists for potential future partnerships. Please indicate if you are

also happy for us to keep your contact details on file for future opportunities from both

MIMA and The Auxiliary.

How to apply

All applications to be made via email to with the subject header: NE Open Call 2021

Deadline for applications: June 28th (midnight)

There is no application fee.

Timeline for North East Open Call

  • 17th May: Open for applications
  • 28th June: Open call closes
  • 30th June: Longlisting of applicants
  • 5th July: Shortlisting and artists selection made by MIMA, MAW, Penny Payne and David Reynolds
  • 11th July: All artists notified
  • July/August: Professional Development: Virtual studio visits with Elinor Morgan, Head of Programme, & Helen Welford, Assistant Curator, MIMA
  • 13th September: work at the venue in Middlesbrough (TBC. Please note, all artists are responsible for the shipping/transport of work to and from MAW21).
  • During the festival (date TBC): Group social with Elinor Morgan, Chris Clarke and MAW curatorial team.

NE Volume Murals


NE Volume Music Bar is host to a variety of musical entertainment to suit all tastes in Stockton-On-Tees. Co-Owner Lee approached Abby+Owen to produce an original mural. The entertainment venue on Yarm Lane hosts a variety of talent and the mural features musicians with a link to Teesside, bands include Glass CavesCharlotte GraysonAlistair JamesMaximo ParkYoung Rebel Set and Komparrison

NE Volume Music Bar owner, Lee Allcock, commissioned Abby+Owen (Abby Taylor and Owen Smith) for the original artwork, the creative duo behind the towns social distancing signs.

Abby Taylor said ‘We tore the names of the brands directly from past copies of NE Volume magazine and scanned them in to blow up and add to the mural’ Owen added ‘We’re delighted to have been able to create this piece celebrating the vibrant local music scene”.

Lee Allcock said ‘We are elated to unveil this stunning original artwork by Stockton creatives, Abby+Owen! It’ll be a key feature outside the venue for years to come. We hope you love it just as much as we do.

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough

Press Releases

Exchange Residency

Artist Call Out

With Tees Valley Arts we are looking to appoint an artist in residence as part of our Exchange Residency. This will begin in Autumn 2021 and run through to Autumn 2022. We’re really looking forward to finding out what might inspire artists and communities to explore this further with us. Read on for further information and how to apply.

We are inviting artist applications to a year-long residency scheme exploring the cultural life of a historic centre of the town – Exchange Square, between Autumn 2021 and Autumn 2022.

This area was the hub of commercial activity during the town’s rise to prominence and remained an important exchange point, either from commerce or transportation with both the railway station and the bus stations located in this district, through until the 1980s. 

Exchange Square was Middlesbrough’s Victorian commercial and financial district and is located in the heart of the Middlesbrough High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ).

There have been numerous historic buildings past and present which once played an important role within the town’s history. This includes The Royal Exchange, Commerce House, Jordison’s Print Works, the former Post Office and Bolckow House.

More recently the Square has been an important centre for the town’s nightlife with several well-established bars and nightclubs located within the grand former civic buildings.

This residency will focus on researching, relating, and exchanging the histories of the town that matter to the communities living and working within the HSHAZ.

Tees Valley Arts and Navigator North as part of Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership are seeking an artist to explore the hidden heritage narratives of this place and the communities who continue to use it.

This residency will – 

  • Offer an artist an opportunity to research and respond to the hidden heritage narrative that exists within the town.
  • Connect with communities to uncover and celebrate heritage stories in a meaningful way.
  • Become part of a growing archive of responses to the heritage of Middlesbrough, made by artists and the wider community.
  • Develop exhibition or public realm outcomes in association with Tees Valley Arts and Navigator North (as programme leads).
  • Work with the Exchange Researcher in Residence to consider other avenues for dissemination of research.
  • Engage with the relevant steering panels to help envisage the future of the HSHAZ and ensure that its communities’ stories are reflected (supported by Tees Valley Arts and Navigator North)

The deadline for sending applications to is 5pm Friday 30th July 2021.


Press Releases

Striking photographs and historic plans from Middlesbrough’s past are going digital as part of a groundbreaking initiative.

The rarely seen historic material from the collections of Teesside Archives is being made available through the town’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project.

Middlesbrough is one of more than 60 High Street Heritage Action Zones across the country, which aims to secure lasting improvements to historic high streets for the communities who use them. The initiative is Government-funded and run by Historic England. 

The new online hub features a host of historical resources for exploring the history and heritage of the Heritage Action Zone around Middlesbrough’s Historic Quarter centred on Exchange Square and the Railway Station.

Newly digitised material includes plans of a number of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, including the Grade II* Listed Webb House on Zetland Road, designed by celebrated Arts & Craft pioneer Philip Webb,  Middlesbrough Railway Station and the now demolished Royal Exchange.

As well as making the plans accessible through the new website, a number of photos and sketches from across the decades are also featured including images of pubs, newspaper cuttings, reports and souvenir publications.

Information about the HSHAZ project and new education resources, community submissions, oral histories, blogs and additional material will be added to the new online platform as the project develops.

HSHAZ Community Engagement Officer Dr Tosh Warwick said: “By digitising material and developing the new online Middlesbrough Heritage Action Zone platform we are able to make archival material to a range of new audiences to enhance engagement with our area’s history and heritage, develop new education resources and encourage local communities to share their own items and shape the project.”

Teesside Archives Manager Ruth Hobbins added: “Working in collaboration with the Middlesbrough HSHAZ has provided an amazing opportunity to digitise and showcase some of our wonderful plans and images of the historic centre of Middlesbrough to new audiences.

“It will greatly expand the reach of the service and allow more people to engage with their history and heritage.”

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: “Middlesbrough has amazing history and heritage and our Heritage Action Zone is helping to ensure it plays its part in the town’s future.

“These new digital resources will open up a wealth of amazing material, not just to scholars and academics, but also to the public at large.

“Great things are happening in Middlesbrough, and the Heritage Action Zone will be right at the heart of the action.”

Chris Collett from Historic England said: “We are delighted to be funding such an exciting archive project through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.

“It will be wonderful to give local people access to this fascinating visual record of Middlesbrough’s rich history.”

The new Middlesbrough HSHAZ online platform can be accessed at



Submissions invited for a selected prize exhibition to be held at 2B Hill Street Centre, October – November 2021

Dimensional works in any painting or drawing medium, which can include collage. Prints and photography not included .

Any size considered but must be able to be hung using our system (strung,not mirror-plates).

Subject: Works relating to Teesside. These can be landscape and cityscape or people, and can also be works of social/political/ historical interest. Should have been created within the last two years Judges to be appointed.

Cost of submission, £5/per work. Up to 3 works may be submitted. There will be a Judges Choice prize of £250, two further prizes of £50 each and the opportunity to exhibit your work at 2B where it will be available for sale. (Terms and Conditions apply)

The exhibition is open to any amateur or professional artists over 18 years of age, with connections to Teesside. Work will be judged on imaginative content, interest and innovation as much as prior artistic ability or skill.

Work should be delivered in person to 2B, Hill Street Centre, Middlesbrough TS1 1SU during the week from Monday 13th until Saturday 18th September from 9.30am until 4pm, at which time payment will be received.

Please contact Miranda on 07392521801 or email if you would like more information and for details of submission requirements.