The benefactor who left a legacy of learning
ORIGINALLY from France, the Constantine family, like so many of their contemporaries, came to England as immigrants.
They arrived in Middlesbrough in the middle of the 19th century, looking for new opportunities, better jobs and a better life for their families.
And they came at the right time. Victorian Britain was gripped in the fever of the Industrial Revolution. Her shipyards and engineering plants were making her the envy of the world.
The young Joseph Constantine began his life-long involvement in North-East shipbuilding as an apprentice to a ship’s chandler.
His natural ability and drive quickly caught the eye and in the 1891 census he is recorded as being a clerk in the company office.
It wasn’t long before Joseph was experimenting with shipping shares. Ships, at this time, were owned in 64ths and Joseph started buying up as many shares as he could.
Joseph proved himself shrewd, astute and he knew the ship building industry well - the riches of Victorian England were there for the taking. And within a few short years Joseph was a successful merchant shipowner.
During the First World War he made his fortune and by the time of his death, in 1922, he was a millionaire.
Before his death he served both as a town councillor and High Sheriff of Yorkshire. Joseph Constantine had come a long way since starting his working life as an apprentice.
And the Constantines had become a powerful Teesside family.