Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

What Does Future Hold for Town?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

What Does Future Hold for Town?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andy Croft

When HM Bark Endeavour sailed into Middlehaven last Friday morning, the tall figure of Captain Cook looked suspiciously like Ian Stubbs, assistant curator of the Dorman Museum.

But imagine for a minute that the real James Cook could sail up the mouth of the Tees. It's a fair bet to say that James Cook would find modern Middlesbrough stranger than anything he saw on his travels in the South Seas.

What would he make of the Riverside Stadium and the Transporter Bridge? Of the industrial wastelands beside the river? What would he say of our noise and traffic, our buildings and industry, our problems, our numbers?

Remember, when Cook was growing up in Great Ayton in the 1730s, the Tees estuary was a largely uninhabited swamp.

There were a few tiny hamlets at Marton, Ayresome, Cargo Fleet, Acklam and Linthorpe. But Middlesbrough was just a farm. To learn his trade, James Cook had to move down the coast, first to Staithes, then to Whitby.

It's hard to imagine how quiet and how beautiful the fields beside the river must have been 275 years ago. The only crossing over the river was a ferry at Newport.

There were large wooded islands in the middle of the river, which in those days used to run south to Mandale and then north to Portrack. …

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