First House in Middlesbrough – West Street

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The first house in Middlesbrough was built by George Chapman in April 1830 on West Street. This plaque from the building is now on display in the Dorman Museum
George Champman 1830, First House in Middlesbrough

The house was long ago demolished along with most of St Hilda, but you can see a photograph of it here :-

4 thoughts on “First House in Middlesbrough – West Street

  1. If it was the first house how come it had a street name? Maybe George Chapman was the original Barretts, Bovis, etc. 🙂
    Only joking.
    Keep up the good and interesting work.

    • The first house completed in Middlesbrough was number 20 West Street. My brother and cousin were born there. At one time my grandparents lived there. North, South, East and West Street surrounded the original Middlesbrough Town hall which became a laundry after the new town hall opened.

      • In order to correct the record on the plaque that marked the location of the first house I offer the following information. My brother, who entered the earlier information is correct in that my cousin and myself were both born at No. 20 West Street. I was born there in 1948 and my younger cousin who has lived in Tenerife for many years was the last person to be born there. The plaque however was situated above the door to No.22 which was only yards from the room where I was born and between the public house closer to the market square more popularly known as The King Billy, (but actually named the King William 4th). My Great-Grandmother Margaret Oxley owned No.20 which was a greengrocers shop. There are census records that show that Margaret had at earlier times lived at both the King Billy and also No.22, the first house. Margaret was a member of the Market Stallholders association and at the time of her death in 1943 was 83 years old and the oldest member of that association. There are many photographs in existence that show the plaque, the two houses and the pub taken prior to demolition.
        I was christened and attended Sunday School at St Hilda’s Church where my parents Jimmy and Sally were married in January 1947. My father had two older twin brothers Ralph and George and an older sister Mary. My Aunt Mary married Harry Gibbs, who both eventually continued in the greengrocery business into the 1970’s. Too expand the greengrocer connections, my father’s younger brother Leslie married Francis Kent who’s parents had a greengrocers shop in Wilson Street. This business was later adopted by Mary and Harry up to the time of the demolition of Cannon Street. This was followed by providing a mobile grocery service in the Thorntree and Netherfields areas of Middlesbrough. To close I believe that many people who knew this area would have been familiar with my fathers family but more so my father who became publican/licensee in 1947 following Green Howards service in WW2. He managed The Prince of Wales at Portrack, The North Riding Hotel – Guerney St., The Exchange Inn – Richardson St. and finally The Fountain at Ormesby from 1958 till his sudden death in November 1974 at the age of 56. I do hope this little bit of my family’s history may bring back a few fond memories to those who are either familiar with the places or names mentioned. Unfortunately those that will have seen the plaque in its original location will now be few and far between. I do know that the image shown is of the plaque when featured in an exhibition held in Dormand Museum a few years ago. Strangely enough the exhibition featured a number of pictures of people from the St. Hilda’s area, one of them being my Aunt Mary which came as quite a surprise. All of the properties mentioned were subject to compulsory purchase prior to demolition. I do note that I have seen other information that numbers the ‘first house’ property as being different from the above but must conclude that being next door to No.20 would render the alternative version to be incorrect. JHO

  2. Middlesbrough was still only a farm of 25 people as late as 1801; the town did not start to grow until 1829 when a group of Quaker businessmen, headed by Joseph Pease of Darlington, purchased the farm and developed the ‘Port of Darlington’. A town with street names starting with North,South,East and West streets was planned on the site of the farm to supply labour to the new port.

    Pease was the son of Edward Pease, who had developed the Stockton & Darlington railway, and when this line was extended by 6 km/4 mi in 1830 to Middlesbrough, the town and port expanded rapidly. In 1850 iron was discovered nearby, and it gradually replaced the transportation of coal as the chief industry.

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