Fishing port and administrative headquarters of North East Lincolnshire, England, on the River Humber, 24 km/15 mi southeast of Hull; population (2001) 87,600. It declined in the 1970s when Icelandic waters were closed to British fishing fleets. Chemicals and processed foods are manufactured, and marine-related industries and tourism are important. The ports of Grimsby and Immingham, 10 km/6 mi up river, are managed jointly from Grimsby, and together deal with 46 million tonnes of freight a year.
The commercial dock at Immingham handles crude oil, iron ore, processed steel, coal, cars, fish, and container traffic.There is also traffic in timber, fertilizers, sugar, grain, and paper.
Industry Chemical manufacturing is based on the South Humber, and oil refineries are located just outside Immingham. Food- and fish- processing are important, and include icemaking and the provision of cold storage facilities; the principal products are salted and smoked fish, pizzas, and frozen vegetables. Transport and distribution industries and services include an offshore supply base at Immingham; ship engineering and repairing; net, rope, and twinemaking; and box manufacture. Other industries include the preparation of fishmeal and fertilizers, and animal foods; and the production of medicines and bituminous paints. Neighbouring Cleethorpes is the main tourist centre, attracting around one million visitors a year.
Fishing In 1860 the total number of fishing vessels using the port was 60 (sailing) and the quantity of fish sent by rail was 4,919 tonnes; in 1880, following dock improvements, the figures were 587 sailing vessels and 47,682 tonnes; and by 1909 the total number of vessels was 608 (29 sailing and 579 steam) and the fish dispatched amounted to 178,780 tonnes. The tonnage of fish landed at Grimsby in 1974 was 170,000 tonnes (about 17% of all fish landed at British ports).
The fishing fleet started to decline in number as a result of overfishing in many of the traditional grounds, the increasing size of vessels, and the extension of territorial waters to 320 km/200 nautical miles by Iceland during 1975–76 with the collapse of cod stocks in the North Atlantic. Numbers have been further reduced largely as a result of the imposition of international quota systems, initially on catches of cod from the North Sea, but latterly incorporating eight other species under pressure from overfishing. Grimsby trawlers now fish as far afield as the Faroes, Iceland, Bear Island, and the White Sea. In 1996 volumes had reduced to 65,000 tonnes of frozen fish landed at Grimsby, but a further 40,000 tonnes of fish arrived overland to be sold in the market. Some containerized fish was imported through Immingham.
In 1992 Grimsby's fish dock was redeveloped to provide the most advanced facility in the UK; it comprises three dock facilities, covering 25 ha/62 acres of water. Grimsby fish market is the newest in Europe. Opened in 1996, the market hall for auctioning fish covers an area of 8,000 sq m/86,000 sq ft. About 27,000 workers depend directly or indirectly on the fishing industry.
Features The National Fishing Heritage Centre is housed in the redeveloped Alexandra Dock area. The site of the church of St Mary is marked by the three St Mary's Gates (west, south, and east). The church of St James was rebuilt in the Early English style, probably between 1190 and 1225. It was substantially altered in 1718 and restoration work began in 1858 and continued until 1928. The original town hall, built by the burgesses in 1394, was replaced in 1780 by a brick building demolished in 1863; the present town hall was erected on a new site. Various ship and offshore training establishments exist.
History There is evidence of Roman occupation in the area. It is thought that by the late 12th century it was the main port on the Humber, and Richard I held a meeting here in 1194. King John granted its first charter for 55 marks of gold. In 1319 Edward II granted a charter allowing the burgesses to hold two fairs and to have their own jail and assizes. During the Middle Ages and in Tudor and Stuart times, the prosperity of the town declined owing to silting up of the harbour. However, in 1800 the new dock was opened, in 1848 the Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company extended the line to Grimsby, and in 1852 the Royal Dock opened. In the second half of the 19th century Grimsby's prosperity grew rapidly and it became one of the foremost fishing ports in the world. In 1912 a new commercial dock was opened at Immingham to relieve the congestion in the docks at Grimsby. A new fish dock was opened in 1934. During World War II Grimsby was a naval base.
Origin of the name Grimsby According to the anonymous 13th-century poem ‘Havelock the Dane’ (c. 1272), Grimsby's name has Danish origins. The poem tells how a Danish fisherman named Grim (or Gryem) had been ordered to murder Havelock (or Hablock), the baby heir to the throne. He fled instead to England with the boy, who eventually married an English princess. As king of both England and Denmark, he rewarded Grim for his faithfulness and, according to the poem, the fishing settlement of Grimsby became an important town. Another variation made Grim a Lincolnshire fisherman who rescued the baby from a drifting boat; the child was later recognized as the son of the king of Denmark. His grateful father loaded Grim with riches, and he returned to Lincolnshire to found Grimsby.
The town seal of Grimsby, dating probably from Edward I, shows a large figure of Grim with Havelock and his queen. Grim is also commemorated in a statue in the grounds of Grimsby College.
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