On October 22, 1907, the coping stone on the first dock was ceremonially laid by Sir Hugh Bell, and the Echo went into full flow…
“The vessels in the Middlesbrough Dock were decked with bunting for it was a gay scene as promptly at two o’clock, three vessels belonging to the TCC – the Sir Joseph Pease, William Fallows and Isaac Wilson – which had been lying in the dock cut, slipped their moorings, and, with bands playing and flags flying, steamed out into the river bearing the invited guests.
“The afternoon was delightfully fine and the sail down the river was thoroughly enjoyed by all on board. A little above the Fifth Buoy Light, the vessels turned and made for the landing at the dry dock. Here a platform had been erected, and upon this Sir Hugh Bell, supported by a distinguished company, took his place, while a large crowd gathered in front.”
The stone was “a huge block of granite” brought from the quarry in Egypt which was building the Assouan Dam.
Handing a trowel to Sir Hugh – an ironmaster who was mayor of Middlesbrough in 1874 and 1911 – James Edwards said: “I ask you to lay this stone firm and true, and I trust it may be a lasting memento.”
Source The Northern Echo