Stewart Park, Middlesbrough
The site of the cottage where Captain James Cook was born can be found in the park. Although the building has long since disappeared, a pink granite urn marks the approximate site. Nearby is the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. The 'lost village' of East Marton was also in the park area and an archaeological geophysical survey in September 1998 showed evidence of the village. In 2003 Stewart Park was the subject of Channel 4's Time Team programme, presented by Tony Robinson.
The park was eventually bought by Councillor Thomas Dormand Stewart in 1924 for the people of Middlesbrough. He intended it to be "a public possession, open and accessible to all the people for all time". Stewart Park was officially opened to the public in May 1928.
In January 1959 J A Kenyon the Borough engineer stated in a report, "The Hall....was of no wide historic or architectural value" and that renovations would cost in the region of £25,000. The council reluctantly made the decision to demolish the building.
Work to demolish the Hall started in May 1960 but on 6 June a fire broke out and tore through the building. Not even ten fire appliances could stop the fire owing to the lack of water supply in the area. The monument of Middlesbrough's industrial revolution was destroyed.
The only remnant, a large conservatory, continued to be open to the public for a number of years but was eventually demolished in the mid-1990s. The only remaining evidence that a building stood there at all is a stone portico next to the Museum.
Today the park covers about 120 acres (0.5 km2) and consists mainly of mature woodland and arboretum on the south side, with open parkland on the northern (Middlesbrough) side. There are two lakes, which are the home to Canada and greylag geese, moorhens, coots and various types of duck. An extensive pets' corner houses many types of domesticated animals: fallow deer, highland cattle, llamas, goats, peacocks, pheasants, rabbits and guinea pigs. In the past the park was plagued with Myxomatosis, quite probably introduced by people abandoning their pet rabbits in the park.
Various nature, heritage, orienteering and tree trails are provided in the park and are popular with school visits. The park also hosts larger events in the summer such as the Cleveland Show and gypsy fairs. It has also been the venue for various Radio 1 events.
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