"GRIMSBY - GONE FISHING, LONG GONE." Grimsby by JohnnySpangles
Grimsby Travel Guide: 31 reviews and 92 photos
Due to a large amount of criticism of this page (some of it almost literate) I feel as if I should justify some of my original text. For many years the fishing industry provided working class men with one of the most dangerous jobs there was. The trawler owners and skippers raked in all the cash and, apart from building themselves some fancy houses, did little for the town or the industry with their piles of money. After the industry collapsed an unenlightened council continued to do sod-all for the town. If you want to look at what other councils have managed to do then look at Salford, Gateshead and, dare I say it, Hull. All of these have developed 'reasons to visit in the face of industrial collapse'. Admittedly a lot of their money for redevelopment projects came from central government grants, but they had to have the foresight to plan and appeal for them in the first place.
Although I love Grimsby and Cleethorpes dearly, and even I defend them if they are criticised, things are going downhill a lot. Both towns are now suffering from 'demolish character and build flats' syndrome. There'll be nothing left soon.
My original text.....
Grimsby, like its neighbour Cleethorpes, trades on past glories. The biggest fib of all is that it still has anything to do with fishing. Once upon a time it was the largest fishing port in Europe, with well over a hundred deep-sea trawlers. Now it has one big trawler left, and that’s a floating museum. There’s still a fish market at Grimsby, and lots of fish processing factories, but all the fish comes by road, rail or boats from other countries. If you want to see what the fishing industry used to look like then go have a look at the Fishing Heritage Centre, where they’ve pickled it for future generations.
External factors have contributed to the town’s fall from grace, like the Cod War and the EEC, but the main problem with both Grimsby and Cleethorpes was a stunning lack of vision in the seventies. Everything was a short term fix, mostly bought about by a local council that was composed of vested interests. It’s recovering now, but it’s taken its time. Some things have got considerably worse though, the main shopping mall for instance. At one time this was full of interesting shops selling interesting things, now it’s full of second rate discount stores. It’s symptomatic of a patronising approach to the town’s population in that they are perceived as only ever being motivated by price, not quality. It probably explains why Grimsby has never had a good restaurant and didn’t ever progress beyond half-defrosted ‘Pub Grub’.
Once busy trade areas, like Freeman Street and Grimsby Road, are now featuring an increasing number of permanently shuttered windows. Likewise there’s little in the way of entertainment in terms of cinemas, theatres or galleries. I presume everybody has given up on that sort of thing and goes over to Hull instead, where the city fathers have been a bit smarter over the years. Surprisingly, though, I read somewhere that there are more new businesses opened up in Grimsby than anywhere else in the country. Although whether the figures are supposed to include massage parlours, prostitution and drug dealing as legitimate ‘businesses’, I know not.
Grimsby has a football team and the Blundell Park ground is one of the few bits of character left in the town. Sadly the plans are to pluck them from their home for the last hundred years and to move them to a new concrete dustbowl on some industrial estate out of town. See what I mean about not valuing and building on the town’s heritage? I half hope they get relegated and can no longer afford such folly.
If you want to get a flavour of what life used to be like then go down to the docks at sunrise and eat a mighty old fry-up of a breakfast in the dockers’ café, and wash it down with a bucket of tea. Watch the light sympathetically illuminate the once proud buildings of a once proud industry. Do it quickly though, because they’re falling to bits and won’t be there much longer.
- In a nutshell:COULD HAVE TRIED HARDER.
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