Middlesbrough Historical Facts

Middlesbrough is a town on the southern bank of the River Tees in North Yorkshire, England. The Borough of Middlesbrough is governed from the town.

Until the early 1800s, the area was rural farming land. By 1830, a new town and port had begun to be developed, driven by the coal industry and later ironworksSteel production and ship building began in the late 1800s, and remained associated with the town until post-industrial decline occurred in the late twentieth century. Trade, notably through ports, and digital enterprise sectors contemporarily contribute to the local economy. Teesside University is based in the town.

Erimus (“We shall be” in Latin), the town’s motto, reflects Fuimus (“We have been”) of the Scottish Bruce clan, the mediaeval lords of Cleveland. The town’s coat of arms is an azure (blue) lion, from the Bruce family arms, a star (from Captain James Cook‘s arms) and two ships representing shipbuilding and maritime trade.

In 1853, the town received its Royal Charter of Incorporation. In 1889, the North Riding of Yorkshire became an administrative county, the town’s municipal borough also became a county borough. From 1968 until 1974, boroughs and parishes from County Durham and the North Riding of Yorkshire formed the County Borough of TeessideCleveland non-metropolitan county was created in 1974, this was until 1996 when the Middlesbrough Borough Council (now known as Middlesbrough Council) became a unitary authority in North Yorkshire.

The borough had an estimated population of 140,980 in 2019, the 155th most populous district of England. At the 2011 census, the Middlesbrough subdivision of the Teesside built-up area had a population of 174,700, the population is larger due to an area outside the council area known as Greater Eston. The built-up area, of which Middlesbrough forms the largest part, had a population of 376,633.


Middlesbrough started as a Benedictine priory on the south bank of the River Tees, its name possibly derived from it being midway between the holy sites of Durham and Whitby. The earliest recorded form of Middlesbrough’s name is “Mydilsburgh”. The name literally means “middle fortress”.

In 686, a monastic cell was consecrated by St. Cuthbert at the request of St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby. The manor of Middlesburgh belonged to Whitby Abbey and Guisborough Priory. Robert Bruce, Lord of Cleveland and Annandale, granted and confirmed, in 1119, the church of St. Hilda of Middleburg to Whitby.Up until its closure on the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1537, the church was maintained by 12 Benedictine monks, many of whom became vicars, or rectors, of various places in Cleveland.

After the Angles, the area became home to Viking settlers. Names of Viking origin (with the suffix by meaning village) are abundant in the area; for example, OrmesbyStainsby and Tollesby were once separate villages that belonged to Vikings called Orm, Steinn and Toll that are now areas of Middlesbrough were recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.


They are two constituencies with the town’s name in. The Middlesbrough constituency is represented by Andy McDonald for Labour in the House of Commons. He was elected in a by-election held on 29 November 2012 following the death of previous Member of Parliament Sir Stuart Bell, who was the MP since 1983. Middlesbrough has been a traditionally safe Labour seat. The first Conservative MP for Middlesbrough was Sir Samuel Alexander Sadler, elected in 1900.

The Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency is represented by Simon Clarke of the Conservative Party, who won the seat off Labour in the 2017 general election. Prior to Clarke’s election, the seat had always been Labour since it was created in 1997.

The area, where the town is now, was formerly represented by multiple different constituencies:


Middlesbrough is twinned with:

  • Germany OberhausenNorth Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Middlesbrough and Oberhausen entered into a town twinning partnership in 1974, close ties having existed for over 50 years. Those ties began in 1953 with youth exchanges, the first of which was held in 1953. Both towns continue to be committed to twinning activities today.
  • France DunkirkNordHauts-de-France, France Although Middlesbrough is also officially twinned with the town, twinning events have ceased.
  • Zimbabwe MasvingoMasvingo DistrictMasvingo Province, Zimbabwe, since 1989