Tales of the Tees – Middleton in Teesdale


Middleton in Teesdale

Middleton in Teesdale is the largest town in the upper Teesdale area. Today it is a small town dominated by walkers and visitors. There are multiple pubs and coffee shops with accommodation for hikers. It still serves as a central point for many of the farms that surround it although Barnard Castle further down the river is a much bigger town for services.

The town grew and prospered mostly due to lead mining. Lead mining on an industrial scale dates back to the 17th Century in the area with multiple mines in different towns nearby or on the moors. Middleton grew because the London Lead Company moved its headquarters there in the early 1800s. With the advent of the railways, there was also a line that connected Middleton to Barnard Castle and then the wider network. This allowed increased supplies in and product out. The rail line was stopped as part of the ‘Beeching’ cuts in the 1960s. 

The lead mining pretty much stopped by the early 20th Century along with some Zinc mining that came from finding ore in the old lead mines. 

The town now is a mix of residential homes and visitor accommodation. 

With it being right next to the young (and often spectacular) River Tees, there are often kayakers and river runners seen in the town, looking to use the nearby opportunities to get into the river. The other main group of visitors are walkers, either out for a day stroll in beautiful upland countryside or even passing through on their path through the Pennines. The Pennine Way passes through the town.

Other resources

Link to Wikipedia page about the town

Blog about Middleton in 1856 as found in historical sources. Interesting to compare current shops/pubs/schools with what what there 150 years ago

Facts about the town in a town trail. Also includes a school made version that can be used as a stimulus for creating your own town guide

VERY in depth review of lead mining in the area (on one page)

Killhope Mining Museum for those wanting to study the lead mining history of the area