A piece of Middlesbrough’s footballing heritage which has been preserved will be celebrated and receive a religious blessing next week.
The Holgate Wall in Linthorpe is the last remaining remnant of Ayresome Park – Middlesbrough FC’s home for almost 100 years.
Work to stop the wall falling into disrepair was completed last year and on Monday (April 30) a special celebration will take place at the wall 17 years to the day since the last ever competitive game at Ayresome Park.
The Holgate Wall originally formed the perimeter of the Holgate Poor Law Institution which was a Victorian workhouse.
It eventually acted as an enclosure wall behind the Middlesbrough fans’ Holgate End and is the only remaining part of the Ayresome Park ground.
The future of the Holgate Wall was in doubt after Ayresome Park was demolished in 1997 to make way for 130 new homes.
Residents, local ward councillors and Boro fans campaigned for the wall to be preserved.
Repairing and stabilising work was carried out thanks to a £11,800 grant from Middlesbrough Council’s Capital Programme Small Scheme Allocation and a donation of £1,500 from builders Barratt Homes.
On Monday it will be exactly 17 years since Boro beat Luton Town 2-1 in the last ever league game at Ayresome Park in 1995 .
Attending the celebration, and enjoying a cup of Bovril, will be former Boro hero Jim Platt along with a number of former players, the councillors who helped secure the funding, Rob Nichols from Boro fanzine Fly Me To The Moon and Father Pat Keogh who will give the wall a Catholic blessing.
The small event will also mark the installation of an information board which has been erected near the wall to inform passers-by of its significance.
Linthorpe Councillor Julia Rostron said: “To have saved the wall, which is of historical value for the town and to Boro fans, is something to be really proud of and the information board will help ensure its significance will be clear to all.”
Mike Roberts, Managing Director at Barratt North East, said: “This is good news for local residents and the restoration will retain a piece of Middlesbrough's sporting history for future generations.”
Rob Nichols, editor of Fly Me To The Moon, said the wall will act as a reminder of three important institutions in Middlesbrough's history - the Work House, the General Hospital and Ayresome Park football ground.
He said: “The football ground was almost like a place of worship for Boro fans for almost a century. Preserving those bricks in situ means we keep alive great names like Mannion, Hardwick, Clough, Camsell and Maddren.
“I can picture parents and grandparents standing by the wall and passing down tales of the great Ayresome players like passing down family heirlooms.”
The height of the wall has been reduced during repair works due to the foundations not being sufficient to support the wall’s previous height.