John Poulson



On a visit to the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough I noticed this plaque hanging on the wall and didn’t pay it much attention until I noticed the name of the architect, J.G.L Poulson. I’ve recently read Frank Medhurst’s excellent book, A Quiet Catastrophe, which documents the re-development of Teesside during the 1960’s and details the greed, corruption and criminality of elected officials who should have been protecting our way of life but chose instead to line their pockets with Poulson’s bribes.

According to Fitzwalter and Taylor, Brown was the first of the Teesside councillors on Poulson’s payroll. The final figure was alleged to be at least thirty two (Fitzwalter and Taylor) locally elected members who undertook work for Poulson in various ways to provide jobs for his Middlesbrough office. The recruitment was of aldermen and councillors in the towns of Stockton, Redcar, Middlesbrough and Eston’whose payments were recorded in his books as “development spending” ‘ (Fitzwalter and Taylor).

Poulson’s method of working was, as in Eston on the south of the  Tees, to get himself onto the architects’ short list by means of his ‘purchased’ influence and then to win the contract by promising ‘sketch plans in a fortnight, a completed scheme in two months and the job finished within the year’. This way he obtained in Eston the work on a new swimming pool followed by almost all the council building in the town – a town hall, a municipal hall, a sports hall, a labour club, 600 houses and four six-story blocks of flats’.

Extract from

A Quiet Catastrophe, The Teesside Job

Franklin Medhurst

Citizen Papers 2010


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