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Middlesbrough RHC

The Club was formed in1947 playing in the Albert Park Victorian skating rink. The rink was ideal, nice and cool in the summer months with plenty of fresh air, in the winter it was a different tale with cold winds, rain, sleet and snow, some sessions you would turn up for to find a covering of frost or ice on the rink, but the training went ahead, (the players were either mad or dedicated. you decide which).

With it being an outside public rink there were usually spectators, this is where the new members came from. After watching a training session or match they would enquire about the club and be invited down to train and from this the club grew.

The first surface was a smooth asphalt, there was no barrier, just an irritating little kerb about 2 inches high so it was a skill for the hockey player to keep the ball in play.

The dressing rooms for the players was a small brick building with no heat or showers, it was adjacent to the lakeside path some 50 yards down a long slope from the rink side, you either learnt to control the ball or got fit chasing it down the path before it rolled into the lake.

Tiered terracing was soon added to cope with the crowds who wanted to skate or just spectate, the roller shows (or galas) used to attract 3000 spectators with gates often locked before the shows started.

Flood lights were added so that evening skating sessions could continue all year round,weather permitting,, indeed the the rink had flood lights before Ayrsome Park.

The rink flourished in the fifties and sixties. new dressing rooms were constructed close to the rink with showers and heating, after several asphalt surfaces a superb Terrazo tile floor was laid and a barrier installed, this made the Albert Park Rink one of the finest in the country at this time.

Roller Hockey was always popular at the rink and apart from league and cup matches there were successful and prestigous tournaments such as the Middlesbrough Open and the Cleveland International Festival held for many years with teams from all over Europe asking to attend. Such events always attracted the keenly interested and the curious spectators, who just happened to be enjoying a day out at the park and would come to watch.

In 1978 the BBC staged their popular Saturday Morning show Multi Coloured Swap Shop with Noel Edmunds & Kieth Chegwin live from the rink,with an exhibition schoolboy roller hockey tournament as it’s centre piece. The weather was superb and the rink looked spectacular on TV because it is in a natural bowl surrounded by trees that were in full Autumn colour.

Another first was the staging of the first European Cup Match in this country when M/Bro played La vendeenne (France) in 1978, this was followed in 1979 with a visit from Lichstad (Eindhoven/ Holland).

National Schoolboys and Minors Championships were also held in the park in the seventies.

The Belgian National Squad played against M/Bro on the rink in 1966 as part of the world cup celebrations,

By 1980/81, however the surface was becoming dangerous and the hockey club decided to leave because of safety fears, they started to play their matches at the Herlingsshaw Centre Eston, until the Rainbow Centre opened in 1985 and gave us our indoor facility.


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