Nine fine buildings from Middlesbrough's history which fell victim to demolition

While Teesside is still home to some incredible buildings, it's fair to say there are many which no longer form a part of its landscape.

From Hugh Bell School and the Royal Exchange to the Grand Opera House, much of Middlesbrough's Victorian heritage has been razed over the years. So let's see if we can job any memories.

Here’s a selection of some of Middlesbrough’s finest buildings which are sadly no longer with us.

1. Gilkes Street baths, Gilkes Street

Thousands of youngsters earned their water wings at the Victorian building in the town centre before the baths closed its doors in the late 1980s.

Gilkes Street, which opened in 1933, stood on land that is now part of the Captain Cook Square shopping area in the town centre.

The baths included Turkish and Russian baths as well as slipper baths, a shampooing room and a cooling room.

The building was demolished in 1998.

2. St Paul’s Church, Newport Road

It used to stand on Newport Road on the same side and a few yards along from where the Aldi supermarket now stands.

But all that remains today to suggest that there ever was a church at this spot is the modern housing development, which includes St Paul’s Road.

St Paul’s was built in 1870 on land given by the Hustler family.

The spire of St Paul’s soared to 170ft high and it was said that St Paul’s was the church of Middlesbrough’s iron and steel industry, as it was thanks to generosity at its founding by the prospering firms and support of the workmen that the building progressed.

It suffered damaged during the Blitz in 1941 and while pollution also caused serious damage.

It was eventually demolished in the 1960s.

3. Hugh Bell School, corner of Grange Road and Albert Road

This photograph shows Hugh Bell School in Middlesbrough in 1899 just seven years after it was built.

Taken on the corner of Albert Road and Grange Road, the picture and shows the cobbled street and tramlines (laid in 1898) that ran a short distance along Grange Road before turning into Linthorpe Road and heading south to Linthorpe village.

The imposing building was demolished to make way for Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

4. Tower House, corner of Linthorpe Road and Grange Road

Gilkes Street swimming baths in the 1940s
Gilkes Street swimming baths in the 1940s

In 1910 department store Wright’s opened its new outlet situated on the corner of Linthorpe Road and Grange Road.

The building became synonymous with the store’s name as Wright’s Tower House.

In 1956 the shop went through a major refurbishment especially of is display windows at street level.

Inside the building, walls were knocked down creating larger open spaced rooms giving a lighter airy shopping environment - considered revolutionary retailing at the time.

But after a decline in trade the store closed with the loss of 55 jobs in 1986.

In April 1987 demolition began on the old building after standing for nearly 80 years it made way for a McDonald’s restaurant.

5. Grand Opera House, corner of Southfield Road and Linthorpe Road

The thought of Middlesbrough being home to an opera house may seem unusual now but such buildings were a sign of the town’s rapid expansion during an industrial boom.

In 1900 a plot of land on the corner of Linthorpe Road and Southfield Road was set aside to build a Grand Opera House.

The theatre opened on December 7, 1903, with a performance of My Lady Mollie, which was a popular comic opera at the time.

The stage was 63ft wide and more than 40ft deep, more than enough to stage the most lavish of productions.

It could seat 2,600 people with room for 700 to stand.

It was totally refurbished internally and re-opened as the Gaumont Palace cinema on March 31, 1931, and then re-named the Gaumont Cinema in 1937.

The last film was shown on February 29, 1964, and then the old Gaumont closed down.

The building stood until January 1971 when it was demolished.

The land was vacant for a while until an office block was built on the site.

6. The Royal Exchange, Exchange Square

The demolition of the Royal Exchange must surely rank as one of the greatest acts of vandalism in Middlesbrough’s history.

It’s another example of the Victorian heritage that has been undervalued and consequently neglected and destroyed.

It was built in 1868 and replaced the earlier Custom House where the trading of iron was conducted.

Ironically, the older Customs House situated in St Hilda’s has survived to the present day.

The A66 flyover now passes right through the site where this characterful Victorian building stood until 1985 - although in its latter days it was a dilapidated eyesore and a pale shadow of its former self.

7. Cleveland Scientific Institution, Corporation Road

The demolition of the 134-year-old Cleveland Scientific Institution provoked a major outcry in 2006 after it emerged the plan to demolish “had not reached the highest levels of the council”.

The Victorian building was razed by developers Mandale Properites, which put forward plans to building apartments on the site.

But these never went ahead and it remains a car park to this day.

8. North Riding Infirmary, Hartington Road

Despite being a distinctive hospital building and a key part of Middlesbrough’s heritage, North Riding Infirmary ultimately made way for a supermarket.

The infirmary opened in 1859 and provided treatment for Teessiders over the decades initially treating the injuries of industrial workers and later as an ear, nose and throat hospital.

Despite a campaign by The Gazette to save the building, it was demolished in 2006.

Only the portico was saved and rebuilt on the site off Hartington Road after the infirmary was demolished to make way for an Aldi and a Travelodge hotel.