AV Dawson, owner and operator of Port of Middlesbrough, has been included in an interactive walk which showcases the history and heritage of the Middlesbrough riverside.
The St Hilda’s Digital Walk researches the origins of Middlesbrough as the world’s first planned railway town in 1830.
It is the latest project from the Rekindle Research group, made up of volunteers who work alongside Middlesbrough Council’s Rekindle team.
Taking in the old Town Hall, the Customs House and other landmarks in what is now known as Middlehaven, the group have brought stories to life using videos and recorded interviews with former residents and local historians.
Each piece of history can be found by scanning a QR code with a mobile phone at different points on the guided walk around the area.
Steve Thompson, a Digital Inclusion Advisor with Middlesbrough Council’s Staying Put Agency, started the Rekindle group around four years ago to get people from Middlesbrough online and using digital technology to improve their lives.
Many of those who worked on the walk were group members – predominantly retirees who wanted to learn new skills. They have worked on other digital projects including a similar QR code guided walk telling the history of Middlesbrough’s Stewart Park.
Steve said: “Working on this project has been a great learning experience for everyone involved – we’ve found out a lot about how early Middlesbrough developed.
“We’ve captured some incredible stories from people who lived in St Hilda’s and our volunteers have worked hard to create a piece of digital work that can be enjoyed by anyone in the town.
“One story includes a man who, as a small boy, chanced upon L.S. Lowry painting that famous picture of the old Town Hall and market square.
“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed and would encourage people in Middlesbrough to come down and follow the guided walk themselves.”
The launch of the walk saw guests including Jane Hackworth-Young, the great-great granddaughter of Timothy Hackworth, taking part.
Potentially an under-appreciated figure in Middlesbrough, Mr Hackworth was the man who designed the first locomotives later built by Robert Stephenson.
He was the Superintendent Engineer on the world’s first public railway to use locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which was expanded to what was originally referred to as Port Darlington – which became better known as Middlesbrough, the world’s very first planned railway town.
The Rekindle Research Group were also hosted by long-established Middlesbrough firm AV Dawson at the Port of Middlesbrough as part of their work to produce the walk.
AV Dawson chairman Gary Dawson said: “The River Tees is as central to Middlesbrough’s future success as it is to its history, so it was wonderful to see this project highlight the industrial heritage of our early town.
“It was a pleasure to host the Rekindle group at AV Dawson’s Port of Middlesbrough and contribute to the digital walk, which is an incredible artefact to help people from every generation connect with Middlesbrough’s fascinating past.”