Feature, Freight News, Logistics, Rail, Sea

AV Dawson celebrates Britain’s first High Speed 1

[ November 23, 2022   //   ]

AV Dawson, owner and operator of Port of Middlesbrough has unveiled a 200-metre square mural to celebrate the birthplace of the town and its rich rail heritage.

‘Hidden Hero’ features local boy Timothy Hackworth, who not only designed the original coal export staiths at Port Darlington – now known as Port of Middlesbrough – as well as designing the  locomotive, Globe.

As well as delivering freight to the port, Globe was reputed to have reached the incredible speed of 50mph while in passenger service – in the early 1830s.

The commemorative mural, which was unveiled by Jane Hackworth-Young, the great-great granddaughter of Hackworth, has been painted onto an external, gable end wall, adjacent to The Staiths – AV Dawson’s new head office at Port of Middlesbrough.

Jane Hackworth-Young said: “I am delighted my great-great grandfather, Timothy Hackworth, is being recognised in Middlesbrough.

“As Superintendent Engineer of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, he designed and built the Middlesbrough staiths, which extended the railway by four miles. 

“This is the first of the celebrations leading up to the bi-centenary of the S&DR in 2025, and I would like to thank AV Dawson for organising this event, reminding us of the history of the town and for its contribution to the work of the local area.”

The unveiling was also attended by AV Dawson’s managing director, Gary Dawson and Lewis Hobson, of Durham Spray Paints – the local artist that AV Dawson had commissioned to paint the mural, watched by rail, history and art enthusiasts, local press and AV Dawson colleagues.

Gary Dawson, managing director of AV Dawson said: “We wanted to commemorate this great story and showcase the history and rail heritage of Port of Middlesbrough.

“This site underpinned the economic development of the new industrial town and can therefore lay claim as the birthplace of modern Middlesbrough.

“We also wanted to celebrate a hidden hero of the story – Hackworth was a modest man and was often overshadowed by better known characters in the region’s industrial history.”

Port of Middlesbrough’s history can be traced back to 1830, when an extension of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, the Middlesbrough Branch Line, was opened to deliver coal from the Durham coalfields to the new coal export staiths located on the River Tees in Middlesbrough. At the time, the site was named Port Darlington, but from this point onwards, the town and local industry grew rapidly. The area became known as Middlesbrough and the port as Port of Middlesbrough.

The mural is one of the many projects that AV Dawson has embarked on to showcase the port’s history, working closely with local historians and researchers to develop the first detailed historical timeline of Port of Middlesbrough, which is displayed within The Staiths.  

Left to right: Andy Preston, Middlesbrough Mayor; Shahda Khan, Director, Borderlands Creative People and Places; Jane Hackworth-Young, the great-great granddaughter of Timothy Hackworth; Gary Dawson AV Dawson’s managing director and Lewis Hobson, owner of Durham SprayPaints.