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Middlesbrough began life thanks to the Stockton & Darlington Railway, which sought a coal-shipping outlet on the lower Tees, much to the chagrin of Stockton, which had been their original port of shipment. The railway opened to Middlesbrough (formerly just farmland) at the end of 1830. Down to 1837 passengers were served by a wooden shed on the route to the riverside coal drops; in that year the line was extended along Commercial Street to the new Exchange, but only in November 1838 did the S&D directors thoughtfully agree to provide a temporary shed for the winter. A year later work began on the town's first permanent station. Designed by the S&D engineer John Harris, it comprised a small trainshed fronted by a modest office. It was left out on a limb by an extension of the railway to Redcar in 1846, which required new premises, but enjoyed an afterlife as a goods station. No trace now remains.

The new station on the line to Redcar was demolished in 1874-5 to make way for the present one but enough information survives to permit a description - see Middlesbrough 1847 Station. The present one - see Middlesbrough Station - is one of only two important railway buildings surviving in the town. The other is Middlesbrough Dock Clocktower, dating from 1903-4. Significant losses include the NER's Middlesbrough Dock Offices, of 1901, and their goods station and stables.





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© W. Fawcett, 2011