Remembering the long-dead department store giants of Middlesbrough’s retail cornerstone

It was once the cornerstone of Middlesbrough’s town center shopping offering – literally.

The crossroads at the junction of Corporation Road and Linthorpe Road, right in the heart of the city centre, was where buses knocked down their passengers, crowds gathered, meeting points were fixed and traffic moved up and down and crossed the roads as shoppers, workers, people out for lunch or just anyone who just goes out to stroll can be found going about their business.

Now this crossroads looks like a very different place after House of Fraser, still known to most Teessiders as Binns, closed for good.

READ MORE:House of Fraser closes after nearly 100 years in Middlesbrough as bargain shoppers flock to sales

The store, once a key destination department store for shoppers, came to a sad end after the last day of its closing sale on Sunday, ending decades of commerce at the site in the heart of the city. Folks of a certain vintage will remember it from the heyday of Binns where it seemed like a luxury as you walked through the glass doors, past the towering spiral staircase to the elevators only to be swept up and down by uniformed attendants.

Shoppers will also remember the retail empires that also stood at these crossroads near Binns. Across the road was Debenhams, formerly Newhouses department store, which is also now closed. Opposite was British Home Stores which was built on the site of a former Wesleyan Chapel in the town center – there were several departments, a cafe at one time and not too long ago you could also enter the shop from the top of the Cleveland Center parking lot. BHS closed in 2016 and the store became Sports Direct and Flannels.



A rare color photo of Newhouses Corner, Middlesbrough, in 1965

On the fourth corner, in what must be one of the oldest and most ornate buildings in the center of Middlesbrough, was a shop that once housed Burton, Top Man and later Miss Selfridge, but emptied after that the Arcadia group also closed its stores a few years ago. from.

A look back at the Gazette archives will evoke many memories of the bustling area for many Teessiders. Prior to the pedestrianization of the town centre, there was a busy level crossing as shoppers waited for a break in traffic before they could safely cross the road. At Christmas the area opposite Binns/House of Fraser still housed a large Christmas tree and often where the town’s annual Christmas lights were performed with massive crowds and carol singing groups accompanying the festivities .



Burtons at the junction of Linthorpe and Corporation Roads in December 1967
Burtons at the junction of Linthorpe and Corporation Roads in December 1967

Binns’ story has been well documented in recent times, as has Debenhams. The history buffs among you will know what was there before BHS opened its doors on October 2, 1958 – a towering building with ornate brickwork and steps up to the front doors known as the Big Wesley, first built in 1863 the chapel was built on what was then the outskirts of the town, with the town center being ‘across the border’. The last service to be held at the Big Wesley was on March 27, 1954 for the remaining 205 members of the congregation. In September of that year, the wreckers moved in to make way for the new UK stores which were later incorporated into the Cleveland Centre.



The 'Big Wesley' which occupied the site of the former BHS store, Middlesbrough, on the corner of Linthorpe Road and Corporation Road.  The building was demolished in the 1950s.
The ‘Big Wesley’ which occupied the site of the former BHS store, Middlesbrough, on the corner of Linthorpe Road and Corporation Road. The building was demolished in the 1950s.


The BHS store in Middlesbrough pictured in December 2003
The BHS store in Middlesbrough pictured in December 2003

Our photos, taken at different points in time, show what the area looked like. Still busy with shoppers and a hive of activity which sadly is no more.

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