Middlesbrough is one of those places that on the border of two distinct areas of Britain: the North East and North Yorkshire.
Arguably it is part of both regions, yet fits comfortably into the identity of neither. Perhaps better suited to the North East, with its connotations of urban deprivation and industry, Middlesbrough has never been a driving force for the region, or one of its better known towns. We’re still smarting from the decision 11 years ago to change the name of our own Teesside Airport to Durham Tees Valley, the argument being that Durham is more familiar to most than Teesside. However, you only have to drive around the area to see that road signs still point to Teesside Airport.
But many consider Middlesbrough to be a part of North Yorkshire, as historically it was within North Riding. For a time, we were situated in the county of Cleveland, before that was abolished in 1996, leaving us a part of the Tees Valley. It is often argued that we still part of North Yorkshire, although most Yorkshire residents probably wouldn’t claim Middlesbrough as their own, even though some of the outlying residential areas are apparently keen to join the rural county on an official basis.
Whatever the technical answer is, I think we’re actually fortunate to be situated in between two such beautiful areas of the country, as it gives us the best of both worlds.
We have the rolling hills and craggy moorland of North Yorkshire on our doorstep, along with the North East’s dramatic coastline. We’re less than an hour’s drive from some great cities including York, Durham and Newcastle, which provide us with plenty of shopping, cultural, historical and social opportunities.
As our boundaries are unclear, we’re often lumped in with both regions, which can bring a lot of benefits, both for individuals and for the town itself. For example, as a writer, in the past I’ve been able to enter competitions dedicated to both North East and North Yorkshire residents.
Another benefit is that this regional uncertainty gives Middlesbrough its own distinct identity. We have our own accent, our own dialect and a passionate love for where we live. We’re proud of our roots and know that there are many special things about this area, whether it belongs to the North East or North Yorkshire.