SAVE Britain’s Heritage is calling for the preservation and refurbishment of Grimsby’s remarkable Grade II* listed Ice Factory as part of a new waterside quarter. SAVE has commissioned artist Graham Byfield to show how the historic fish docks could be brought to life as an attractive new harbour area. The vision involves the conversion of the derelict Ice Factory and nearby Victorian buildings for a mix of new uses including a covered market, shops, bars, galleries and restaurants, overlooking the existing marina.
In its heyday, Grimsby was the largest fishing port in the world and despatched fish all over the country, kept fresh under a thick layer of ice supplied by the Ice Factory on the waterfront. Grimsby smoked fish was popular and the many smoke houses in the docks supplied the best hotels and restaurants.
The Grade II* listed Ice Factory is one of very few examples of its type to survive. It is a vital part of the rich landscape of Grimsby Docks - an area of national importance with many remarkable buildings including the Grade I listed Dock Tower. The docks also contain the highest concentration of surviving smoke houses in the country as well as shops and warehouses that were built to service the fishing industry. Many of these buildings are listed.
Despite its historic and architectural importance, the Ice Factory has been left to decay for many years and it now faces an uncertain future. Meanwhile, the historic dock area (sometimes referred to as the Kasbah because of its narrow streets and huddled smoke houses) has suffered from piecemeal demolition, with large parts of the area now under immediate threat. The council has temporarily halted demolition, but it needs to create a conservation area if the long-term future of the historic docks is to be secured.
SAVE’s President Marcus Binney says ‘this is a classic opportunity for conservation and refurbishment to lead the way in regenerating a waterfront area, as has been done on similar sites in towns all over Britain and Europe. In East Anglia, for example, the previously run-down dockyard at Ipswich has been regenerated in spectacular fashion, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of local residents working in tandem with a far sighted council. It is now possible to wake up in an apartment overlooking the water, stroll to breakfast at a cafe on the waterfront, and spend a pleasant morning in art galleries and shops, all without leaving the docks.’
Vicky Hartung, Chair of the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, and a local art gallery owner, believes the immense space in that building would lend itself well to a ‘Tate Grimsby’. The new Turner Contemporary gallery in forgotten Margate beat its projected visitor numbers by 100% in its first year, not to mention playing host to Rodin’s ‘Kiss’. All this would boost the local economy and provide an attractive work environment for the companies soon to occupy the newly created enterprise zone to the east.
For more press information and images please contact the SAVE office