Britannia and Supporters
Seated figures of Britannia and an ironworker and a miner, set in the tympanum of this one storey cinquecento-style bank. The figures are surrounded tools and machinery appropriate to Middlesbrough's industries.
The figures decorate the former National Provincial Bank designed by the London-based architect, John Gibson. It was erected in 1872 and replaces an earlier bank which had stood on the site of the home of John Gilbert Holmes, ship-builder and well-known teetotaller, who had bought the land in 1831.(1) From 1938 Gibson's building housed the Cleveland Club after its move from the Royal Exchange (MIAA62 qv). It is now occupied by a second-hand furniture dealer, the Bankrupt Warehouse.
The fact that the work celebrates Middlesbrough's nineteenth-century industrial prowess in the way that it does may owe something to the fact that at the time of the building's erection it was opposite the house where Henry Blockow and John Vaughan, the town's founding fathers, had lived from 1841 to 1860 (MB10, MB04).
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