GRIMSBY’S Grade 2* listed Ice Factory building is to undergo a vital roof assessment, as work to facilitate its multi-million-pound regeneration continues.
Historic England has awarded North East Lincolnshire Council, which is working with GGIFT (Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust), regeneration partner ENGIE and building owners ABP, £40,000 for the work from their Heritage at Risk grant programme. Extra funding has also come from ABP and surplus monies from a 2019 Coastal Revival Fund grant.
The Ice Factory is on Heritage England’s ‘At Risk’ Register within the Grimsby Heritage Action Zone, (HAZ), and is ‘of more than special interest’ due to the Grade II* listing of the building itself, along with its machinery and contents. As a result, it is eligible for such grant awards.
It is hoped that the survey work can take place over the summer, with a view to seeking further investment to carry out the repairs that are identified. This will protect the internal structures as options for its future use are considered. A condition survey carried out by Buttress Architects Ltd last year suggested that total building repair costs would run to £11.5m with urgent works costing £5.2m.
Chair of GGIFT, Vicky Hartung, sees this as a crucial step on the ladder to the building’s survival and rebirth.
“Whenever we receive positive news, we are further inspired to continue to work to successfully see this building’s restoration. It is iconic, a real heritage asset and we are now beginning to feel that there is light at the end of a long tunnel,” said Vicky.
Owner ABP is also hopeful that there is now a real focus on finding a long-term solution to the Ice Factory issue.
Dafydd Williams, Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs at ABP Humber, said: “This is yet another positive milestone in the regeneration of the Port of Grimsby. Alongside the Ice Factory and the drip feed of good news on new projects in the Kasbah, we have seen the Port transform in recent years to become the biggest centre for offshore wind operations and maintenance in the world. With much more to come, these are exciting times for everyone connected to the Port of Grimsby.”
A true statement of Great Grimsby’s famous past, the building was constructed by the Grimsby Ice Company. Opened in 1900, and extended in 1910, at its peak in the 1950s it was producing up to 1,200 tons of ice every day. This capacity to preserve the freshness of the catch helped to make Grimsby the busiest fishing port in the world.
The gigantic ice-making machine, with a footprint of more than an acre, is thought to be the earliest and largest known surviving ice factory in the world, and the sole survivor from this period to retain its machinery.
Notwithstanding its practical purpose, the factory was built with an attention to detail worthy of the best Victorian industrial architecture, with its recessed arched bays, pediments, and other extravagant features.
Experts at Historic England are in no doubt of its importance. Historic England Regional Director – Midlands, Louise Brennan said: “The Ice Factory is a landmark building, not just because of what it represents from the past, but what it could provide for the port and Grimsby in the future. Achieving complete repair and total repurposing in one go will be a huge task, but there are steps that could be taken towards saving the building and making it capable of housing useful meanwhile and temporary activities. Looking at cost-effective options to re-roof the building is crucial.”