All towns need a focal point around which it grows, and as anyone who has even heard the name 'Grimsby' can guess, Grimsby became established because of its easy sea access, which is sheltered from rough North Sea waters by the spit of land known as Spurn Point on the north bank of the River Humber.
Grimsby was founded in the 9th century AD by a Dane known as Grim, (Grimsby literally means "Grim's Village") and as a lifelong citizen of Grimsby, I can attest that at times Grimsby lives up to its namesake quite well.
After its founding it remained a very small fishing town for hundreds of years, until the Industrial Revolution and the advent of the Steam Engine, when the fishing industry in Grimsby really took off.
Grimsby is located on the south bank of the estuary of the River Humber, on the east coast of England. Nearby towns and cities include Hull, Lincoln, Scunthorpe and Doncaster. Grimsby has an array of dormitory villages, the largest of which being Humberston, Waltham and the rapidly developing New Waltham. Cleethorpes is directly next to Grimsby, and the two towns have grown into each other so much over the years that it can be very hard to distinguish which of the two you are actually in.
Historically, Grimsby was always a part of the county of Lincolnshire until the 1960s when Humberside was founded. (the administrative centre of which was the city of Hull, on the North bank of the River Humber) Since 1996 and the dissolution of Humberside, Grimsby has in fact been in a county of its own, North East Lincolnshire.
Since the mid-20th century, Grimsby has very much been a town in transition. Greatly reduced stocks of fish in the North Sea have caused the previously large and prosperous trawler fleet to be down to just three ships.
While Grimsby's famous fish market still operates, only ten per-cent of the fish it sells is actually locally caught. The bulk of the fish is imported from other EU nations. Nevertheless, the Fish and Chips sold in Grimsby are simply divine, especially since delicious haddock is served as standard as opposed to rubbery cod. Also everything comes battered by default. (why anyone would go to a chip shop for unbattered sausage is beyond me)
The estuary of the River Humber, further towards the outskirts of Grimsby, is home to the factories of several chemical manufacturers, Tioxide, Conoco and ICI to name a few. Grimsby and neighbouring Immingham also have harbours that are popular with car importers.
Further into the town, the main industries are food (mainly vegetable, with the odd fish) processing and the cold storage of said foodstuff. Indeed, the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area is one of the most densely populated with cold storage facilities in the UK. Relatively well-known company names to look out for include Bird's Eye and Christian Salvesen.
Surrounding Grimsby is the vast Lincolnshire countryside, which, rather predictably, contains large areas of farm land, notably containing potatoes, peas, broad beans, sheep and pigs that are harvested and mainly processed in Grimsby itself.
These primary and secondary industries within the food industries give Grimsby its quite well-deserved title of Europe's food town.
Grimsby town centre has a moderately-sized shopping precinct, called Freshney Place, (as Grimsby town centre is built around the head of the River Freshney) which was built in the eighties. It contains most of the major names one can expect in a typical city centre, albeit on a quite smaller scale in most cases. Also featured as part of Freshney Place is a traditional-style market, which typical market products such as fruit, vegetables and meat. Whilst not as large as the shopping centres in relatively nearby Hull, Lincoln or Sheffield, it provides quite well for the shopping needs of the locals when combined with the regular supermarkets that can be found all around Grimsby.
Older shopping areas around Grimsby include Freeman Street and to a quite lesser degree these days, Pasture Street.
The Night Life
Sadly Grimsby itself doesn't have much in the way of a nightlife, (you'd have to go into Cleethorpes for anything even approaching a good one) however there are one or two places, the newly-built block of establishments on the head of the River Freshney containing members of the J. D. Wetherspoon, Walkabout and Yates chains of bars, with a late bar called Chicago Rock Cafe. Even though these are all just bars, they suffer from what many 'bars' suffer from in smaller towns and cities, and become a sea of rude and unpleasant bouncers as soon as the clock strikes seven o' clock.
Other than these bars, the River Freshney itself hosts my favourite pub of all time, The Barge (which is actually a moored canal boat) and back on dry land, my favourite night club, Gullivers, (or 'Gullies' as it is known to the locals) both of which I heartily recommend.
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