Teachers notes

Exploring the history of their locality helps students develop a sense of identity and place in the world. Delving into the past can reveal fascinating stories of the people and events that shaped their area and their own lives, fostering pride in their roots and a sense of what they can achieve.

From the pioneers who developed it as an industrial powerhouse in the 1800s, to the artists who have captured the unique places and people that define it, art, design and production have long been a definitive part of the Tees Valley’s rich heritage and identity.

In the early 1800s, Edward Pease and George Stephenson combined entrepreneurship with new ideas and designs to set up the word’s first steam powered public railway. In the 1850s, the discovery of ironstone in the Eston Hills led to the Tees Valley becoming one of the world’s major producers of iron and steel.

In the 1880s, designer Christopher Dresser pioneered new techniques in ceramic design and production at the newly established Linthorpe Pottery, creating pieces that are still sought after around the world today. At the same time, Arthur Dorman and his business partner Albert De Lande Long opened their steel works in Middlesbrough and went on to create iconic structures like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Middlesbrough’s own Newport Bridge, using ironstone mined in the local hills.

Contemporary local artists, like Kenneth Cozens and Glynn Porteous from Middlesbrough, have created artworks inspired by the people and places that made their own locality unique. Many of these are now part of the town’s collection housed at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA).

These works represent the artists’ own interpretation of their home town. They can be used to inspire students to produce their own creative responses to the amazing place they are from to show what it means to them.

Use the objects and classroom activities sections to explore art, design & construction in the Tees Valley, and to inspire students’ own creative interpretations and responses, influenced by the unique history and identity of their area.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Christopher Dresser

Onion Vase designed by Christopher Dresser

Dragonware Vase designed by Christopher Dresser

Wedgewood Fish Vase designed by Christopher Dresser

Ironstone carving of Queen Alexandra by JJ Kirton of Normanby (1878-1948)

Arthur Dorman

Coke Ovens, Cargo Fleet

Scullery Sink