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Middlesbrough Settlement


On-going until 2020

Middlesbrough Settlement

We are working with residents and local organisations in North Ormesby to make creative projects that address the needs of the community on their terms. By drawing on the rich heritage of North Ormesby and the wider area, together we develop a programme of actions, workshops, events and commissions that is for and about the place.

North Ormesby

In 1852, in response to the growing steel industry, the Pennyman family of Ormesby Hall sold land for the development of housing and for the first versions of the area’s market place, schools, civic buildings and church. Today the area faces many issues that result from social deprivation. Many established community-facing organisations and resident-led projects work to improve the quality of residents’ lives. Through this programme we build new stories for the area.

The Project

In revisiting the Settlement model and updating it, we ask ‘what might a settlement for the twenty-first century look like?’. With partner organisations and artists, we are developing activities in craft, design, technology, music, theatre, art and cookery that support learning, develop cohesion and build towards social activism.

One key area of work, developed with the Trinity Centre Youth Group, looks at where, what and how we eat. Through creative cooking sessions, conversations and shared meals, we aim to increase knowledge around the origins of food, health and nutrition.

The Settlement

In the late nineteenth century, settlements were developed across England by social reformers to develop community by bringing together people of different origins and status. Samuel and Henrietta Barnett established Toynbee Hall, the first settlement, in 1884 to accommodate university students who volunteered in East London, a deprived area. Their intent was to bring together people of different classes so they could learn from each other.

Local examples include the Middlesbrough Settlement on Newport Road (established 1896) and Spennymoor Settlement (established 1931). They offered a mixture of cultural and practical activities, such as shoe repair, reading and cookery classes, and later theatre and music groups.

A settlement at Boosbeck, North Yorkshire (approx. 13 miles from North Ormesby), was established in 1932 by Major James and Ruth Pennyman of Ormesby Hall to alleviate the impoverished conditions provoked by the Great Depression of the late 1920s. Several creative people were invited to work with unemployed miners and residents including composer Michael Tippett, who as a student, wrote music for Boosbeck Settlement workers to perform. Boosbeck Industries, a carpentry business initiated by designer Wilfred Franks, trained unemployed miners in woodworking skills and produced furniture.

The Middlesbrough Settlement is part of the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Great Places scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation. It is organised in partnership with many organisations and individuals.

For more information or to get involved, email Kate Densham on K.Densham@tees.ac.uk or call 07796707696.


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