A derelict Grimsby Ice Factory is on a list of Europe’s seven most endangered heritage sites and its future remains uncertain.
The Grade II* listed red brick industrial building within Grimsby Docks dates from 1900 and is understood to be the earliest surviving ice factory in the UK and the sole survivor, with its machinery, of this building type from this period.
Grimsby was the world’s foremost fishing port at the turn of the 20th centre and this factory commenced operation in 1901 to supply the ice for fish packing and onwards transportation.
It has been in a state of serious decline since its closure in 1990, with no maintenance work carried out after that time.
The factory has remained in private ownership and there have been threats of demolition due to the building’s continuous state of deterioration – the roof is severely damaged allowing water into the interiors and much of its metal work and electrical fittings have been stolen.
Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust was founded to aim to restore and reuse the building, located in the Kasbah, which has national and international importance as it was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch List.
The development proposal it initiated estimated to potentially create over 125 jobs, but it has so far been unsuccessful in securing funding, leaving the future of the factory uncertain.
The nomination for the seven Most Endangered programme 2018 was made by SAVE Britain’s Heritage.
Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, Henrietta Billings, said: “This selection of the Ice Factory shows not only how important this magnificent building is in Grimsby – but it highlights its national and European significance too.
“The deterioration of the Ice Factory has been going on for too long – and we hope this high level European expertise will help the owners and local groups find new uses for it – and reveal its potential as a catalyst for regeneration of this part of the docks”.
Director of the Associated British Ports in the Humber, who own the Ice Factory, Simon Bird, added: “We welcome this news. The Ice Factory has long been regarded with nostalgic affection by the people of Grimsby but it has declined over decades due to being a particularly challenging building to find ideas for suitable future use.
“We welcome the involvement of Europa Nostra and look forward to working with them on their ideas for a new future for the Ice Factory”.
The other six structures on the “most endangered” list are in Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey.