Middlesbrough is a large industrial town in the north-east of England, situated on the south bank of the River Tees close to the Tees estuary. It is approximately 5km from Teesport, the UK's second-largest port.
Middlesbrough was founded in 1830 as a port for the export of coal from the coalfields of County Durham, brought to the Tees by the Stockton & Darlington Railway, the earliest steam-powered public railway in the world. The town began to grow rapidly after iron ore was discovered in commercial quantities in the nearby Cleveland Hills in 1850; numerous ironworks were established in Middlesbrough and neighbouring settlements, and Middlesbrough itself was nicknamed Ironopolis and was described by Prime Minister William Gladstone as "an infant Hercules". In the late 19th century the discovery of salt reserves nearby brought the migration of much of the British chemical industry to the district; steel and chemicals, though no longer manufactured within the boundaries of Middlesbrough, remain staples of the economy of the Teesside conurbation.
Middlesbrough has a population (2001) of 134,847