ST HILDAS CHURCH
Address: 54.582539, -1.233880
Site Type: Church
St Hilda's Church was built as the primary place of worship for the growing town of Middlesbrough in the mid 19th century. It was consecrated (declared sacred) by the Bishop of Durham Edward Maltby, a very well known clergyman of the Church of England while also dabbling in politics and had strong connections to Durham University.
It stood north of the railway station in the original centre of the town, close to the Old Town Hall. It catered for all the new settlers who moved from elsewhere looking for a better life, and with the amount of industry that was being developed in the area it may have been a no brainer for men who may have only been able to work on a farm or as a labourer elsewhere.
Over the next 100 years or so, the population of Middlesbrough moved southwards under the railway, as it may have been cheaper, less cramped or perhaps less polluted due to the nearby industrial on the river. As a result, other places of worship were built and more conveniently located. After a while, the original parish church was closed and demolished in 1969 as the area had declined over the years. A memorial still stands at where the church once stood, and is worth a visit.
The painting below is a famous illustration by a man named Laurence Stephen Lowry. He painted many scenes in the north of England and this is one of his most famous. It is a winters scene in the centre of old Middlesbrough, with St Hilda's church to the left and the old Town Hall next to it.
See below for maps of the area during the 19th and 20th centuries. These are Ordnance Survey maps, and give a great idea of how the streets and town centre looked through the years.