We’ve been working on the Heritage Lottery Fund project to renovate the Central Lodge for the better part of a year now – some of us even longer! Working on a project like this is incredible and brings so many challenges and rewards. As we enter the final few months of the project we’ve been looking back at all of the things we’ve learned so far. And what better way to share these than to write a blog post all about them!
As work on the renovation of the Central Lodge draws to a close, I think this is a good time to reflect on one of my favourite rooms in the building and the changes which have occurred in it throughout the course of the project. This stable space has always been one of my favourite rooms in the building, in no small part due to just how many original features have survived within it.
Henry Bolckow is often cited as one of the founding fathers of the iron and steel works in Middlesbrough. His early life and the effects he had on the region are fascinating topics to delve into…
The 1864 Central Lodge stable block was described by one contemporary, in the only direct description we have of the building from the Victorian era, as “stables second to none in the North of England”. This was the opinion of Hugh Gilzean Reid, founder of what was then the Middlesbrough Daily Gazette, when visiting in 1868.
Before I talk about Gustav Martens, firstly I would like to introduce myself. My name is Vincent Graham and I am a Teesside University graduate, now employed by Askham Bryan College on their project to develop the Central Lodge buildings at Stewart Park. We are very fortunate to be working alongside Dr Joan Heggie, Research Fellow at Teesside University. Joan is a consultant to the Askham Bryan at Stewart Park project, offering her expertise from research she has carried out on local 19th century iron and steel industrialists and on John Ross, Architect of Feethams, Darlington.
The Central Lodge buildings are situated in an area which is microcosm of local history, being both the birthplace of James Cook as well as the site of the seat of power of one of Middlesbrough’s founding fathers, Henry Bolckow. It is then, extremely exciting for me to have been given the chance to be involved with this project. The estate buildings themselves and what remains of their original features, despite years of disrespect, are microcosms of history in and of themselves, incredible survivors of Middlesbrough’s past.
However there are many questions that need to be answered and just as many assertions that have been made about these buildings that need to be proven. Even down to what we know about who built them.
Durham County Advertiser (15 April, 1864)