Press release: SAVE welcomes spotlight on Grimsby as Ice Factory named among the 12 ‘most endangered’ heritage sites in Europe

16 January 2018

Press release: SAVE welcomes spotlight on Grimsby as Ice Factory named among the 12 ‘most endangered’ heritage sites in Europe 

SAVE Britain’s Heritage welcomes the announcement today that Grimsby’s historic Ice Factory is on Europa Nostra’s shortlist of the most endangered heritage sites in Europe. Just 12 sites have been selected by Europe’s leading heritage organisation and the European Investment Bank Institute.

SAVE nominated the Grade II* listed Ice Factory in 2017 and it is the only UK building on the list. Other threatened buildings and sites include the historic centre of Vienna, the Castle of Sammezzano in Tuscany, Italy and post-Byzantine churches in Albania. Some of these sites are in danger due to neglect or inadequate development, others due to a lack of resources or expertise.

The final list of 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe will be unveiled on 15 March 2018.

The aim of the list is a public call to action – to act as a catalyst to bring together public and private partners at local, national and European level to join forces to save these threatened heritage sites.

The full Europa Nostra Press release, detailing all the sites nominated, can be seen here.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE said: “We’re delighted that the importance of Grimsby’s fishing heritage has been recognised on the European stage. The Ice Factory joins a group of high profile sites and buildings across the continent singled out for their historic importance and vulnerability. We hope this call to action will focus minds on the immediate challenge of halting the on-going deterioration of this magnificent building, and finding new uses for its future." 

Mike Fox, Deputy Director of SAVE said: “2018 is European Year of Cultural Heritage and a wonderful opportunity not only to celebrate our diverse historic environment, but also a chance to tackle those buildings that are seriously at risk and in need of restoration and new uses. Today’s announcement recognises that the Ice Factory is one of the most at-risk historic buildings in Europe, and we’re really pleased to be working with Europa Nostra in highlighting it and working towards finding a successful solution for restoration."

The Ice Factory has been in a state of serious decline since its closure in 1990, with no maintenance or repairs. The roof is severely damaged allowing water into the interiors and exposing the magnificent machinery – much of which is still in place. Our submission to Europa Nostra was officially supported by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and World Monuments Fund Britain.

The area surrounding the Ice Factory - known as the Kasbah - was designated a Conservation Area in October last year, following a high-profile campaign led by SAVE in 2016 to save a street of 19th and 20th century buildings there. However the Ice Factory was not included within the boundaries of the new Conservation Area.

The Ice Factory dates from 1900 and is a substantial industrial building within Grimsby Docks. Grimsby was the world’s foremost fishing port at the turn of the 20th century with a fishing fleet of some 700 boats. The factory supplied ice for fish packing and onwards transportation around the UK to Europe and beyond. While Grimsby’s fishing industry has declined in recent years, the Ice Factory remains the most striking physical testament to the physical greatness of the town. It is understood to be the earliest surviving ice factory in the United Kingdom.

Note to Editors

1. For additional images and information please contact SAVE on 0207 253 3500 or by email 

2. See the full Europa Nostra press release here.

3. The '7 Most Endangered' programme was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra with the European Investment Bank Institute as founding partner and the Council of Europe Development Bank as associated partner. The 7 Most Endangered is not a funding programme. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action and to promote ‘the power of example’. 

4. Europa Nostra is the pan-European federation of heritage NGO’s which is also supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals. Covering more than 40 countries in Europe, the organisation is the voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural and natural heritage.

5. The World Monuments Fund included Grimsby Ice Factory and Kasbah in their 2014 Watch. Every two years the Watch draws international attention and support for some of the world’s most important and fragile cultural heritage. This nomination was accepted by WMF’s independent and international panel of experts because of the outstanding global significance of the site as a unique survivor of the Victorian industrial era.

6. SAVE’s campaign to stop the demolition of Fish Dock Road in 2016 was supported by World Monuments Fund, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, The Victorian Society, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Ancient Monuments Society, The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and the Grimsby Traditional Fish Smokers Group, and more than 750 people who signed a petition to stop the demolition. For more information on our campaign- see here.

7. SAVE has a long-standing interest in Grimsby Docks, and has been campaigning for their preservation and reuse for several years. In 2012 we worked with architect Graham Byfield to draw up an alternative vision for the site, showing how it could be revived and restored

8. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment. 

Press release issued by SAVE Britain’s Heritage
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Registered Charity 269129
Tel. 020 7253 3500  Email