Port of Middlesbrough
The Birthplace of Modern Middlesbrough
Port of Middlesbrough’s history can be traced back to 1830, when an extension of the Stockton & Darlington Railway opened to deliver coal from the Durham coalfields to the new coal export staiths in Middlesbrough. The port was in fact the birthplace of modern Middlesbrough.
This timeline highlights key events in Middlesbrough’s history that shaped the port and the local area. It covers some of the wider developments linked to and around the port including urban developments, river developments, celebrations in the town and the wars.
'Ironopolis'- The Discovery of Iron Ore and the Birth of Middlesbrough's Iron Age
Within 20 years of the staiths opening in Middlesbrough, the town would be transformed from a dependence on coal export to one that would be defined by iron – following the discovery of iron ore in the Cleveland Hills.
One of the many changes occurring during the post-war era was the closure and contraction of many of the heavy industries along the south bank of the Tees at Middlesbrough as manufacturing – particularly of iron and steel – shifted downstream. Despite this, private sector investment and expansion continued at the port facilities in Middlesbrough.
Autonomy and Growth
The 1980s and 1990s heralded a new chapter and era of change for the River Tees. New opportunities were emerging in the oil and gas sector, resulting in investment in new port infrastructure in Middlesbrough. Changes in legislation also gave port operators and terminals more autonomy and independence.
Uniting to Protect the Community
The mid 1990s brought the Tees community together through infrastructure developments and the introduction of a new organisation. The Tees Barrage was built as a flood defence and to enhance the natural river environment upstream and create leisure opportunities resulting in it no longer being navigable to shipping. The Tees & Hartlepool Port Users Association (THPUA) was created to represent and protect the interests of the industrial river community
Port of Middlesbrough is Reborn
In September 2020, AV Dawson rebranded its facility as Port of Middlesbrough, giving a nod to the heritage of the site with a name that was first used almost 200 years earlier, while also positioning the business to deliver an exciting Port Masterplan to take the company forward.