SAY you’d just landed at a newly renamed airport in Middleton St George, your wheels touching down at the start of the runway in the borough of Stockton and your plane coming to rest at the end of the runway in the borough of Darlington. Then you jumped into a taxi and said “take me to Teesside”. Where would you end up?

It seems to me that all those who voted for the airport to be renamed Teesside International Airport are hankering back to a past that no longer exists.

Teesside was clagged together by local government boundary draughtsmen in the early 1960s, with bits of territory stolen from North Yorkshire (Middlesbrough and Redcar) and County Durham (Stockton and Billingham). Those old shires bitterly regretted the theft, with the chairman of Durham County Council going so far as to say the new area was "the biggest menace to the North-East since the war".

A name was invented to fit the new boundaries, and that name followed the logic of the North-East where rivers rise in a dale, flow through a valley and then approach the sea through a side.

However, the authorities were so uncertain about this new made-up name, that they put a hyphen in the middle of it: Tees-side.

The first institution to be given this name seems to have been the airport, which passed from military hands – where it had been known as RAF Middleton St George – into the ownership of the area’s local councils in 1964. It bore its name proudly on its control tower, complete with hyphen, although when its passenger terminal opened in 1966, the hyphen had gone: Tees Side was two separate words.

Teesside as an entity really came into existence on April 1, 1968, when Teesside Borough Council began, serving an area which was policed by the new Teesside Police. The first day was celebrated with a Teesside Trade Fair held at Teesside Park (the newly renamed Stockton Racecourse). The Post Office joined in with a one-day postmark which commemorated “the Birth of Teesside”, and it gave the area its own TS postcode.

I reckon most institutions with Teesside in their name date from those early optimistic days – the Constantine Technical College became Teesside Polytechnic in 1969, for instance.

But those days didn’t last long. Another local government review began in 1972, and it recommended expanding Teesside into Hartlepool, Guisborough and Saltburn. This new council area was given a new name, Cleveland – the land of the cliffs, even though most of it is as flat as a floodplain.

Cleveland lasted until 1996, and its name is not looked back upon fondly because of the child abuse scandal which was attached to it.

But some people do look back fondly on Teesside of the 1960s, and so the airport may once again bear its name – even though when you hail your taxi from the rank outside its doors, you will be in the borough of Darlington which has never been part of Cleveland or Teesside.

So you’ll be flying into a place that ceased to exist 45 years ago and you’ll be setting foot on tarmac that was never in that place even when it did exist. You’ll be thoroughly confused.

But on the plus side, you’ll be slightly less confused than if you flew into an airport named Durham Tees Valley – however can you explain that mouthful?