On the mighty River Tees, in the heart of Great Britain's industrial
North, Middlesbrough is one of the region's biggest commercial centers.
The mouth of the Tees is a view to enthrall any student of British
commerce. On the river's banks, north and south, in an area known as
Teesside, stand some of the most important industrial complexes in Europe.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the fortunes of the region were given
a colossal boost when two local entrepreneurs discovered ironstone in
the hills of Eston. Their timing was perfect: the ironworks of Middlesbrough
had run out of accessible material. But the Eston hills yielded 63 million
tons of ore over the next 100 years. This rich resource, mined by a burgeoning
workforce, fueled the resurgence of the iron and steel industry along the
Tees, and brought in its tow increased trade, population and prosperity for
the people of the surrounding region.
These days, Middlesbrough features sites as diverse as its impressive
premier-league soccer stadium and avant-garde street sculpture. One
such piece of sculpture, by Claus Oldenburg, appears at the Civic Center.
The work, in part, reproduces the handwriting of a historical hero from
Middlesbrough's past, the illustrious Captain Cook. Destined to become
a great sailor and explorer, James Cook was born in 1728 in a farm laborer's
cottage just a few miles from Eston. As a boy, he would have been able to
see the tall ships going up and down the River Tees, which is what perhaps
inspired him to join the navy. By the end of his life, he had quite likely
seen more of the world than any man before himincluding North America, New
Zealand and the Pacific islandsand all the accompanying experiences of
In 1779 the captain and his men fell afoul of some of the inhabitants of
Hawaii, and Cook died at the age of 51. But his legacy was extraordinary,
not only having changed the map of the world as it was then known in
Europe, but with his interest in science and medicine, he also improved
the quality of life for sailors on board the ships of the Royal Navy from
that time forward.
Today, as a vigorous market town, Eston houses the Central Civic Offices
of the neighboring borough of Redcar and Cleveland, and on a suitably
grand scale, it was the new Eston Sports Academy that played host to
the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW UK during its visit to the area.
To learn more about Eston and the Middlesbrough area, visit:
Source: tvco.org.uk (Tees Valley Communities Online)