Ironopolis: The Architecture of Middlesbrough

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In less than a century, Middlesbrough developed from a small farmstead into an industrial metropolis of 90,000 inhabitants. Conceived and built by its industrial pioneers, Middlesbrough was a Victorian new town, planned on a strict grid system. Following the discovery of ironstone in the Cleveland Hills, this embryonic town developed into a world-leading centre of iron and steel production, earning itself the epithet ‘Ironopolis’. A product of capitalist enterprise, Middlesbrough has a surprisingly rich architectural heritage. From the commercial palaces of the ironmasters’ district to the superb Gothic town hall, Middlesbrough’s buildings express the entrepreneurial spirit, civic pride and power of its industrial oligarchy. The town boasts an extraordinary variety of churches, some designed by the renowned architect Temple Moore, as well as the only surviving commercial building by Arts and Crafts pioneer Philip Webb. This book is the first comprehensive study of Middlesbrough’s architectural heritage. Examining a selection of the town’s finest buildings, from its origins to the present, it argues that despite the damage wrought by economic change, wartime bombing and destructive planning decisions, Middlesbrough retains a spectacular Victorian townscape that expresses a history of exceptional innovation and artistry. Vital public amenities were provided through the philanthropy of Middlesbrough’s industrial elite. Investigating these buildings in critical terms, the book illuminates the workings of patronage among Middlesbrough’s hegemonic ruling class.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages92
ISBN (Print)978-1-4456-7042-3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Oct 2019


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