HUNDREDS of hauntingly fascinating photographs revealing life in the industrial North-East at the turn of the 20th century will be seen by the public for the first time.

Around 300 images make up the Carey Photographic Collection, which includes photos taken leading councillor and businessman in the late 1800s, Alderman George Absalom Carey.

The photographs have previously never been seen by anyone outside of the Carey family before, and include a wealth of snapshots of Teesside life, from its landmarks to slums and workhouses.

As part of his council role, Carey accompanied Middlesbrough’s medical officer of health during the 1920s and took photographs for a report they presented to the Government on the appalling conditions for residents in the St Hilda’s area.

Other images show Carey’s travels around the country to research plans for new Middlesbrough estates such as Grove Hill, billed as “homes fit for heroes” after the First World War.

The collection was saved from the skip by current Careys’ chief executive Phil Carey, George Absalom’s great-great-grandson, during the modernisation of the firm’s then Dickensian offices in Kensington Road, Middlesbrough, in 1997 when he was 13.

“I kept them in my bedroom on glass slides and forgot about them, even when I did a module on North-East History for my degree at Newcastle University,” said Mr Carey.

“After I graduated I told one of the most eminent North-East historians, Professor Norman McCord, and he went ballistic – he couldn’t believe I hadn’t made use of them.

“He put the slides onto Kodachrome and I showed them at agents’ meetings over the years. Some of the older agents knew many of the people in the pictures, but unfortunately, we don’t know who many of them are any more.”

Mr Carey recently converted the slides into digital images to enable more people to enjoy an insight into the town’s history via the internet.

North-East historian Ian Stubbs described the collection as “absolutely fascinating”, singling out his favourite image as George Stephenson’s Locomotion No 1, which was mounted at the end of a platform in Darlington’s Bank Top railway station between 1892 and 1975.

The images will be uploaded on Facebook in the coming weeks. Visit