Grimsby's Ice Factory named one of seven most endangered heritage sites in Europe

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 19 Mar 2018

Grimsby's historic Ice Factory has been named as one of the most endangered heritage sites in the whole of Europe that is in desperate need of saving.

The iconic building at Grimsby Docks has been selected as one of seven endangered heritage sites in Europe by cultural heritage organisation Europa Nostra.

The Grade II listed Ice Factory was nominated by SAVE Britain's Heritage last year due to widespread local and national concerns about the derelict and deteriorating condition of this historically significant building.

The site was put on a shortlist competing against 12 other sites from across the continent, such as; the historic centre of Vienna, the Castle of Sammezzano in Tuscany, Italy and post-Byzantine churches in Albania.

It was part of a project run by Europa Nostra in conjunction with the European Investment Bank Insititute.

Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute, said: “The ongoing European Year of Cultural Heritage provides an ideal framework for the launch of this fourth list of 7 Most Endangered sites.

"A recent evaluation of the previously selected sites and monuments has shown impressive progress with a number of them, and it has also substantiated the capacity of investment in cultural heritage to generate multiple benefits, notably also at the socio-economic levels.


A view of the docks and the former ice factory, from Nelson House, Grimsby (Image: Rick Byrne)

"We are therefore hopeful that the sites included on this new list will be saved for future generations, thanks to a combined public and private support.”

Now a team from the heritage organisation will be visiting the factory over the coming months to provide technical advice, identify possible sources of funding and mobilise wide support.

A specialist team will formulate an action plan for the site by the end of year.

Read more: Grimsby’s Ice Factory shortlisted for 'seven most endangered' programme

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 interior and exposing the magnificent machinery – much of which is still in place.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE said: “This selection of the Ice Factory shows not only how important this magnificent building is in Grimsby – but it highlights its national and European significance too.


Machinery at the site (Image: Andrew Kay)

The deterioration of the Ice Factory has been going on for too long – and we hope this high level European expertise will help the owners and local groups find new uses for it – and reveal its potential as a catalyst for regeneration of this part of the docks.”

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.


Save's vision for Grimsby's fish docks (Artist: Graham Byfield) (Image: Save's vision for Grimsby's fish docks (Artist: Graham Byfield)

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.

In August 2006, filming for the movie Atonement took place mainly during the night-time inside the factory itself and at nearby Garton Street. Locals played British and French soldiers to help recreate war-torn 1940s France during the Battle Of Dunkirk.


The second night of filming for the film Atonement,took place in and around the old ice factory on Grimsby dock (Image: Jon Corken)

It also featured in the Shane Meadows-directed series This is England '90 TV show - with Grimsby actor Thomas Turgoose starring in it too.



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