The Wolfson Research Institute, Thornaby-on-Tees

The Wolfson Research Institute is based on the University’s Queen’s Campus, at Stockton-on-Tees and began operation in November 2001. As well as helping to meet the University’s goal of furthering research activities and health education in Britain, the institute strengthens its links with the Teesside area by its strong regional support activities. There are around 150 research and research support staff along with 100 postgraduates working within the Institute, furthering its extensive research aims.

The Institute was funded by Sir Isaac Wolfson and son. Sir Isaac, a British business leader and philanthropist, was born in Glasgow in 1897, the son of Solomon and Necha Wolfson. As a young man one of his first jobs was selling picture frames his father made, another was selling alarm clocks from a market stall. By the time Queen Elizabeth bestowed his baronetcy, he had built his company, Great Universal Stores, into the largest mail-order concern in Britain. In 1955, Sir Isaac, set up the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust, one of Britain’s largest charitable donors which supports fundamental research projects, to date more than 8,000 grants totalling in excess of a £1 billion pounds have been distributed by the Wolfson family, to UK causes.

Picture credits: The Wolfson Research Institute, Thornaby, and the National Gallery, London. Details courtesy of Bob Wilson.

1 thought on “The Wolfson Research Institute, Thornaby-on-Tees

  1. This item is at least 2 years too late! The Wolfson Research Institute is a pale shadow of its former self prior to the running down and virtual closure of Durham University’s Queen Campus at Thornaby and the move of the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health to Newcastle University in August 2017. The School was a major contributor to the WRI and greatly strengthened its links to the local NHS and local authorities on Teesside and beyond. Those links have either disappeared completely or are considerably weaker. Many of us, like myself, worked in the building shown in your picture from its opening. But if you visited it today you would find very little research going on. Instead the building has been taken over by a private company grooming prospective students, for university entrance. I doubt if that’s what the Wolfson family intended when they put up funds for the new building.


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