What Remains of Middlesbrough’s Oldest Pub?

by Matt Falcus

Look at this image.

It’s one of the earliest depictions we have of the town of Middlesbrough and, although stylized and not particularly accurate, there are some interesting things you can see.

You can see the long-lost stream which ran through the site to the River Tees.

You can see the early street layout, surrounding agricultural land, and the Cleveland Hills beyond (see Roseberry Topping?).

Most notably is the name ‘Ship Inn’ on one of the buildings.

This was Middlesbrough’s oldest pub, and surprisingly it lasted until 2012.


History of The Ship Inn

Middlesbrough was founded in the early 1830s when the Stockton & Darlington Railway was extended to the site to bring coals to new staithes where it could be loaded onto ship.

The site of the future town, which had been occupied by a small monastery and later a farmstead, was purchased and a grid pattern of streets and houses planned.

The Ship was opened in 1831 as the first pub in town, located on Stockton Street.

Over the years the building was modernized and expanded, and was a famous place to enjoy a pint for generations of Middlesbrough folk.

However, with the decline of the original St Hilda’s area and the industry in this part of town, the pub’s fortunes followed suit.

Later renamed The Middlehaven, it was a fire in 2012 that sealed the fate of this historic building.


The Ship Inn Today

Image (c) Google Maps

Following the devastating fire, much of the Ship Inn was demolished, despite it being on Middlesbrough Council’s list of buildings of special historic and architectural interest. It was not a listed building, sadly.

Yet today it’s still possible to see remains of the Ship, as much of the ground floor and surrounding walls still stand.

How long this will be the case we don’t know. There’s little use for these remains, and it seems likely the site will be redeveloped soon.


Did you enjoy a pint in the Ship Inn? Leave a comment below!


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