I met Louise Brennan and David Walsh from Historic England to discuss historic buildings here in Great Grimsby and how to harness their full potential. Historic England have had an interest in Grimsby for a number of years, but until now much of their focus has been on buildings around the outskirts of the town and I believe we need their support to prioritise our town centre historic buildings – many of which are important in telling our town’s history and are architecturally valuable and need to be nurtured and saved.
Buildings we discussed in detail were the former Art School and Design on Eleanor Street, and the Holme Hill School, both Grade II Listed buildings. I explained to Louise and David that many people in Grimsby have fond memories of these buildings in their years at college or, as its previous life as Winteringham school. Louise recognised that the former Art College, due to its location. Heritage and state of repair, would be a priority for Historic England, but that they must act fast as the condition of the building – as many local people know – is poor.
David gave reassurance that the brickwork of the building is in sound condition, and areas where it is deteriorated are isolated spots – though, the timber throughout the building is mostly unsalvageable.
Louise said: “The condition of that building does look scary. But, in my experience, it will be doable…. it’s not too scary. These buildings are the character of Grimsby, they are what makes it special.”
We also discussed the regeneration of the Kasbah area of Grimsby Docks, which is home to a partnership between ABP, Historic England and North East Lincolnshire Council. I added that, whilst the heritage of our docks is vital and important to Great Grimsby, we need to start seeing investment in buildings closer to our town centre – investment that will affect the day-to-day lives of our people, to prove to them that all of Grimsby is worth investing in.
The Ice Factory was discussed during this discussion, and I was assured that projects are under way to preserve the Ice Factory, with work beginning in June to repair the roof.
Louise agreed with me that If we can get something happening it will change people’s attitudes. The public want to see visible change.
Louise commented, “There’s good stuff all over Grimsby - when I got here, I was blown away because everywhere you go there’s something. A lot of it isn’t in great condition so that is our problem, finding somewhere to start when all of it is so important. We wouldn’t still be trying to work in Grimsby after so many years if we didn’t believe in it.”
I would like to thank Louise and David for their enthusiastic approach to Great Grimsby’s heritage, and I really look forward to working with them to secure a great future for our historic buildings here in Grimsby.
If you have any thoughts about the regeneration of these buildings, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office with your ideas. Similarly, to anyone wishing to invest in Grimsby’s rich heritage and history, please contact me.