Online Encyclopedia

MIDDLESBROUGH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 413 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MIDDLESBROUGH, a municipal, county and parliamentary borough and seaport in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England, 2382 M. N. by W. from London, on the North Eastern railway. Pop. (1891), 75,532; (1901), 91,302. It lies on the south bank of the Tees, 5 M. from its mouth in the North Sea, and is the centre of one of the most important iron-working districts in the world. It is wholly of modern growth, having been incorporated in 1853. Its chief buildings are a fine town-hall with lofty clock-tower and spire (1889), containing the municipal offices, free library, &c.; the exchange, county court, Dorman memorial museum and Roman Catholic cathedral. Besides iron and steel works, the first of which was that of Messrs Bolckow, Vaughan & Co., there are rolling-mills, tube works, wire-mills, engineering works, oil works, chemical works, salt works and a considerable ship-building industry. The district abounds in blast furnaces. The docks are accessible to large vessels, the entrance having a depth of 32 ft. Extensive dredging operations are carried on in the river. The accommodation for shipping includes two graving docks, two patent slips, &c. The entrance to the river is protected by two breakwaters named respectively the North Gare and South Gare. The furnaces within the port produce some 2,500,000 tons of pig iron annually. Middlesbrough is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop. The parliamentary borough falling within the Cleveland division of the county, returns one member. The county borough was created in 1888. The town is governed by a mayor, ten aldermen and thirty councillors. Area, 2823 acres. The earlier history of the place is meagre. Where Middlesbrough now stands there were at one time a small chapel and priory founded by Robert de Brus of Skelton Castle. These were dedicated to St Hilda, and with some lands were given by de Brus to the abbey of St Hilda at Whitby in 113o. The priory fell into ruins at the time of the Reformation, and no trace now remains beyond some stones built into the wall of a brewery. The Oak Chair in the town-hall also is made from a fragment. In 18or there were upon the site of Middlesbrough only four farm-houses. In 1829 a company styling itself the Middlesbrough Owners bought 500 acres of land, and began building in the town. In 183o the Stockton & Darlington railway was extended to Middlesbrough; four years later the town was lighted with gas; and after six years more a public market was established. The census of 1831 showed the population to be 154; that of 1841 showed 5709. In 1842 the opening of the docks gave additional importance to the town. From the year 1851, when John Vaughan discovered the presence of ironstone in the Eston hills, the town advanced rapidly.
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