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.
Phew! We suddenly seem to have almost reached the finishing line with the restoration project.
It feels very strange to be at this point, seeing the building without scaffolding, however the workmen are still busy bees. Protective covers are being stripped off in areas and the little radios are slowly disappearing. It was always interesting to hear the diversity of music as we were busy taking photos each week of the work. A bit of pop and then a bit of soul, always a mixed bag – you couldn’t help wandering round with a tune in your head. We loved the banter with the workmen, from “make sure you get my best side” to the ones that made a hasty exit. There was plenty strange scene, like pairs of disembodied legs either on scaffolding or obscured by boards humming along to tunes or talking to the other workmen. It was always a pleasure to answer their questions: “So what was this building then?” “What’s it going to be?” “Why are you taking photos?” All the while being aware not to trip over something or keep people from the restoration work. It will be strange to walk round without a hard hat, hi vis vest and safety boots on.
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.