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Heritage projects ensure Grimsby's history is preserved for the future


11/27/2023 10:49:38 AM


3 mins read

A major boost to North East Lincolnshire heritage projects was announced recently with the borough becoming one of nine “Heritage Places” securing priority investment.  The funds will allow a continuation of major local heritage and culture work, which has been place across the region since 2008.

Recently, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) announced that 20 areas in the UK had secured priority investment for the next 10 years, with a dedicated pot of £200m to be distributed between the areas.  North East Lincolnshire is one of the chosen “Heritage Places”, selected for its ‘heritage needs, opportunities and potential’.

Heritage Fund support has been crucial to the borough’s journey of rediscovery, of reinvention and of planning for the future.  North East Lincolnshire has been the benefactor of some fantastic support to help enrich its own history, heritage and culture, as seen through the Greater Grimsby Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) project, which came to an end in late September.

For the last five years, HAZ became a solid partnership of organisations working together to regenerate historic and culturally important areas of Grimsby. 

These included North East Lincolnshire Council and regeneration partner Equans, Historic England, Associated British Ports (ABP), the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT), Humber LEP (now GLLEP), and Grimsby Minster PCC.  Other funders to have worked with HAZ include Arts Council England (ACE), the Heritage Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund, and the Department for Levelling Up (DLUHC) Town’s Fund.

Projects benefiting from this strong network have included the ongoing Peterson’s Project and Ice Factory, their progress tracked by the Kasbah Steering Group and the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, the town centre’s historic Corporation Road Bridge, Grimsby Minster, the former 19th century Cooperage, and West Haven Maltings.  The Maltings includes an impressive plan to transform the site into a major youth facility, led by OnSide Youth Zones, a national collaboration of local charities.

Looking through a national lens, those who do not know Grimsby may perceive it as a cultural desert but such people should stop and think again.

Indeed, there is much to celebrate about Grimsby’s heritage - a town that was first written of in 866AD and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086.  The poem ‘Havelok the Dane’ is said to have been written in the late 1200s, telling the story of a prince of Denmark and his rescuer, Grim the fisherman.  It is said to be one of the oldest surviving romances in the English language and has been the inspiration for Falfest, the town’s new and extremely popular Viking Festival. (main picture shows the Festival and was taken by Regia Angalorum).

The town later became the largest fishing port in the world, with hundreds of boats moored at the dockside, delivering their catch before heading out to the cold North Sea.  Since the Cod Wars of the 60s and 70s, the fishing industry has since all-but disappeared, but the remains of that era include an area of former workshops, fish processors, shops, and smokehouses, as well as the pontoons and the huge Ice Factory.  Many of these buildings are also of national significance, documenting the country’s rich fishing history.

Today, North East Lincolnshire remains a major centre for seafood processing and is also home to Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind and operations maintenance centre.

Simon Bird, Regional Director (Humber) at Associated British Ports said: “ABP’s involvement with the partnership has seen some great benefits to the historic quarter of the Port of Grimsby in terms of building restoration. We will continue with the work as a result of this.

“The success of our recent Heritage Open Day at the port is part of the wider work we’re doing to help people understand this historic environment, while bringing new business and employment opportunities to the port, like the filming that has been taking place.”

North East Lincolnshire Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy, Net Zero, Skills and Housing, Philip Jackson, said: “The HAZ projects demonstrate that heritage-led regeneration is more than just the repair of historic buildings within a town centre, it’s also about bringing those buildings back into use, activating them to create social and economic opportunities for our community, and developing pride of place.

“We have achieved some fantastic outcomes over the past five years, but this isn’t the end, it’s just the start, and the Council remains committed to heritage-led regeneration in the future.”

The HAZ project has inspired a wider regeneration of the Borough, including the development of the North East Lincolnshire Heritage Network, and a very successful Heritage Starter Fund Grant Scheme.  The project has run alongside other programmes of work, including the Cleethorpes Townscape Heritage Project and the Grimsby Creates programme, the latter creating several fantastic murals around the town depicting stories at the heart of the community.

Louise Brennan, Regional Director (Midlands) at Historic England said: “Grimsby is a town rich in heritage. From the Medieval Minster to the Victorian Dock Tower, Grimsby’s historic significance is made clear by its collection of stunning buildings. Historic England wholeheartedly supports the restoration and regeneration of Grimsby’s unique industrial and civic heritage, and we are delighted that the investments made via the Heritage Action Zone has enabled the repair and reuse of buildings from the towns’ past, ready to help make its future.”

As the HAZ project comes to an end, the new “Historic Places” project signifies a new dawn for heritage across the borough.  Teams completing HAZ works across the area will now be able to turn their considerations to other buildings in need of regeneration, furthering the process of bringing historic Grimsby to life.

Residents now and in the future will enjoy places of the past, using them as work and community spaces, while the strong partnerships made with organisations like Historic England and ABP will continue to grow as Historic Places takes shape in the coming months.

For more information, visit https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/greater-grimsby and https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/ps200million-funding-heritage-places-will-boost-local-economies-and-pride-place

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