If you’ve never been to Middlesbrough before, here’s six things you need to know about Teesside before you set off.
– Teesside has a wonderful, vibrant artistic community and MIMA is a startlingly beautiful building but only the tip of the iceberg of a great arts scene across the wider Tees Valley. I live up the road (relatively) in Richmond and have come to love the area.
– Teessiders are sometimes known as Smoggies – first used as a derogatory term, but now some people proudly call themselves Smoggies, including supporters of Middlesbrough FC and local MP Tom Blenkinsop, who used it in a parliamentary speech in 2011. There’s even a Smoggie Dictionary which might help if you end up Bang Black un (drinking all day) or get asked Janoaworramean? (Do you understand what I’m talking about?)
– Captain Cook was born in Marton, Middlesbrough, on October 27 1728, and grew up in Great Ayton before becoming one of the most famous maritime explorers of the 18th Century.
– The Parmo – a local delicacy that has to be tried to be believed is a variation on a Chicken Parmesan, invented in Middlesbrough. Whereas Chicken Parmesan is a flattened slab of chicken, pan-fried while coated with breadcrumbs and then grilled with Parmesan cheese, a Parmo involves deep-frying the chicken in an egg and breadcrumb batter, then smothering it in Bechamel sauce, before finally grilling with cheddar cheese. served with chips and garlic sauce. Follow @loveparmo for more.
– The iconic structure of the Transporter Bridge is one of the things which gives the area a unique skyline with the “Teesside Lights”, Middlesbrough’s industrial landscape, an extraordinary man made sight. In fact it was the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner, who was born in nearby North Shields.
– Duncan Bannatyne, OBE is a Doctor at Teesside University and the entrepreneur best known for Dragon’s Den lives in the area although he recently put his luxury Teesside home overlooking the exclusive Wynyard estate’s golf course on the market with an £875,000 price tag.
We’ll keep a lookout for details of hotels and transport in the run up to the event. See you there.