The history of Britannia Testhouse
As one of the world’s leading providers of independent testing and lifting services, equipment and consultations, we are proud to have carried on a long tradition of excellence since our company was formed in 1996. This dedication to high standards is reflected in every aspect of our business, from our attention to detail to our customer service, and even in the premises where we are based.
Our Middlesbrough home is at Britannia Testhouse. This is the one surviving structure from the Britannia Steelworks, formerly owned by Dorman Long, the famous Middlesbrough-based manufacturers of steel components and structures. The three-storey brick building was constructed in the early 20th century, and has a unique appearance which combines refined Victorian-style elegance with imposing industrial functionality. It was created with the intention of housing large scale testing machinery, and has continued to serve this purpose well until the present day.
Located on the Riverside Park Industrial Estate, the site is linked with many of the world-famous bridges which Dorman Long had a hand in producing, making this one of the most historically significant structures in the area. Most famously, the building was used to test the girders for the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, as its huge testing machine was capable of testing 1250 tons per square inch. This machinery offered the size and power required for such a large undertaking, and helped to ensure that the bridge has stood strong and stable since it was opened in 1932.
Britannia Testhouse also played a significant role in the creation of some of the UK’s most well-known structures including the Severn Bridge (1966), the Forth Road Bridge (1964), and the Humber Bridge (1981). Today, the building continues to be used for testing the tensile strength of wire ropes, aircraft wings, mooring equipment, offshore rig anchorage systems, and many others. We will continue to contribute to the history of this special building by maintaining the highest standards of excellence in all our work.
It was supposedly built to hold a machine large enough to test the components for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The building design, however, appears much earlier than this and is Victorian in style.
Today it is used by Durham Lifting to test the tensile strength of wire ropes, mooring shackles, anchorage for offshore rigs, giant industrial hooks and aircraft wings.