ART CONSULTANT ERIKA BAYLEY GETS THE GUIDED TOUR OF MACKENZIE THORPE'S BORO.
Following the Team Talk visit to Arthaus, in which this lively gang of ex-steelworkers from Teesside came to view an exhibition of Mackenzie Thorpe artwork inspired by his roots in Middlesbrough, I somehow agreed to be taken on a guided tour of the town and surroundings that are at the heart of Mackenzie's “industrial” work, by those who know it best.
And so I found myself, on a suitably grey winter's day, meeting Team member Brian for my first trip “Over The Border.”
First Stop: The Transporter Bridge
It was only natural that our first port of call was Middlesbrough's beloved “Tranny”, that iconic symbol that dominates the cityscape and features in so many of Mackenzie's images. Driving past the now-derelict (but still-infamous) Captain Cook pub, we met the men who work on the bridge, and rode across the river Tees with them as they recounted stories about transporting workers and watching for the seals that breakfast in the waters below every day. Industrial Middlesbrough sprawled on either side of the river; ships, factories, docks and work yards (some active, some not) lay in every direction.
We took the opportunity to photograph our own version of Mackenzie Thorpe's "Waiting For Me Dad"
The rest of the day was spent touring Middlesbrough, from Grove Hill to Linthorpe, Doggy Market to Town Centre, a circuit of places that have cropped up in Mackenzie’s artwork and stories. I could not have asked for a better tour guide than Brian – like the town itself he is full of distinctly northern character, stories, and humour! Brian had an anecdote or memory to share for every stop we made, bringing the town to life for this New Yorker’s first taste of the Boro. I'm looking forward to our next outing, which will reunite me with the rest of the Team Talk gang as we re-enact the Mackenzie Thorpe sculpture "The Apostles" - this group is about to take the modelling world by storm!