Situated on the south bank of the River Tees a few miles from the North York Moors National Park, Middlesbrough is a North Yorkshire town in the Tees Valley conurbation of North East England.
Since a period of unparalleled growth in the 19th century, which transformed Middlesbrough into a major coal port and centre for ironworks, the town has been known for its ensuing steelworks, chemical plants, shipbuilding and offshore fabrication yards. To this day these have contributed significantly to Britain’s prosperity, and have left their mark both locally and globally.
For example, steel manufactured in Middlesbrough was used to build both the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which bears the words “MADE IN MIDDLESBROUGH”, and Middlesbrough’s own Transporter Bridge. The latter structure, erected in 1911 and still in daily use, is the second largest of its kind in the world and one of only two in working order in Britain.
Other contrasting landmarks include Acklam Hall, Middlesbrough's oldest domestic and sole Grade I listed building, and the Blade Runner-inspired 'Spectra-txt', an interactive tower of metal and fibre-optics which allows the public to change the colours of its lights by sending text messages.
The overhauled Victoria Square and Central Gardens together form "the largest civic space in Europe", within which the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art holds the UK’s second largest Picasso collection. The town’s Riverside Stadium is home to Championship team and 2004 Carling Cup winners Middlesbrough F.C.
Middlesbrough has featured in many television programmes including ‘The Fast Show’, ‘Spender’ and ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’, as well as the movie ‘Billy Elliot’. In 2008 the town was selected as one of the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting Project sites, for which a 27 sq m (290 sq ft) television screen is installed at the western end of Centre Square.
Middlesbrough is also notable as the first place in the UK to install CCTV with loudspeakers. These reprimand citizens caught committing infringements in public, and have inspired other towns to follow this idea.