From the archives – a Tees RC crew going downstream under Newport Bridge on it’s way to the “Tranny”. The Middlesbrough ABC Boathouse stood where the bridge piers now are.
Whilst the bridges over the Tees may not have the same emotive hold on the local population as the cluster of crossings of the Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead nor have the awesome backdrop of those over the Wear at Durham they do nevertheless display an infinite, some would say eccentric, variety which can not be ignored. Members of Tees Rowing Club are probably more familiar with these bridges than many Teessiders having passed beneath as well as over most of them. I say most of them as one of the effects of the creation of the Tees Barrage has been to deny our more recent recruits the experience of rowing under three of them. The sweeping arches of the Tees Viaduct (A19), the now impotent lift platform of Newport Bridge (for which the site of Middlesbrough ABC was appropriated) and the Meccano like latticework of the Transporter Bridge are now but training and racing landmarks in the memories of a minority. But this loss has been made good a million times over by the improved recreational and environmental conditions that the Barrage and associated improvements have brought to the Tees. The river is clean safe and ideal for water sports – in particular rowing. Compared to the Tyne (big open spaces but tidal and at times very rough) and the Wear at Durham (beautiful but short and crowded) we have the best of all worlds – between the Barrage and Yarm we have some 14 kilometres (just under 9 miles) of non tidal river. It passes through the modern riverside developments of Stockton and Thornaby soon reaching open countryside where may be seen features such as wildlife sanctuaries, Preston Park Museum, Eaglescliffe Golf Course and bronze age earthworks before reaching the pleasant small town of Yarm – the original main port of the Tees.
The portfolio of photographs which follows takes you up the river on a journey “beneath the arches”. Most photographs are from my own [Chris Kenyon’s – Ed] collection, those that are not are acknowledged in the text.
The text is drawn from my local knowledge greatly assisted by the following publications: A Journey Through the History of Middlesbrough by Norman Moorsom,(local historian and a Whinney Banks School mate of mine some 50 years ago), Memories of Stockton, Memories of Middlesbrough (main sponsors K W Devereux and Henry Newbould Ltd respectively – both old established local firms) Images of Teesside (Evening Gazette), The River Tees-two centuries of change (Cleveland and Teesside Local History Society), The History of Middlesbrough (William Lillie), A History of the Town and Borough of Stockton-on-Tees (Tom Sowler) and Ancient Cleveland for the Air (Richard Crosthwaite)