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Ex-Grimbarian Speaks Out!!! (Updated)
Grimsby in General
Member Name: skittle
Grimsby in General
Date: 26/02/01, updated on 22/04/01 (1332 review reads)
Advantages: The people
Disadvantages: The smell
An opinion about Grimsby, now that one’s a toughie! You see, I have to love Grimsby, it’s my home town, the place where I was born, grew up and became an adult (stop sniggering, triplecthegame) but it’s also just an industrial town in the middle of nowhere with high unemployment and a “lovely” aroma whenever the wind is blowing the wrong way (if it’s not the docks that are a wee bit whiffy it’ll be the fish factories, you can’t win!) I left Grimsby in 1994 (I think, the old memory isn’t as good as it used to be) I don't go back to visit very often and a heck of a lot has changed in Grimsby in that time, for this reason mine won’t be a comprehensive guide to the treasures to be found in Grimsby, more an opinion to give you a feel for the place as a whole.
I once heard Grimsby described as “the end of the line” and I believe that this is a name that suits the town very well. It really is the end of the line as far as trains go, well, for 100% accuracy the train line actually ends in Cleethorpes, but to be absolutely honest most people treat Grimsby and Cleethorpes as one town anyway, they are completely and inextricably joined together, most people don’t even know where one starts and the other begins, although the border, I believe, runs right the way down the middle of the road in a terraced street called Park Street. Grimsby Town Football Club is actually in Cleethorpes too.
Grimsby is situated on the banks of the River Humber in the county of North East Lincolnshire, it used to be in the county of Humberside but reverted back to Lincolnshire a couple of years ago after many years of campaigning from local residents who hadn’t wanted the county to change in the first place.
The nearest decent sized cities to Grimsby are Hull, Doncaster and Lincoln, but these are each around an hours drive away, so most people in the surrounding villages tend
to come into Grimsby to do their shopping. The shopping in Grimsby is incredibly good considering it isn’t actually that large a town, but as I said before it does have a very large catchment area. Most of the usual high street shops can be found in Freshney Place, Grimsby’s main shopping centre, including WH Smiths, BHS, Boots, Superdrug, Ottakers and lots more.
I don’t want to harp on about the actual shops in Grimsby, if you would like to read a factual opinion about this and other aspects of Grimsby then I’d recommend Triplecthegame's opinion, which is very thorough indeed. Suffice to say that the shopping has improved immeasurably from when I was a child.
Back then Grimsby town centre was called “the precinct” and was a very unattractive place. There was far too much concrete around, including enormous, ugly planters that never contained any plants (but lots of rubbish) and the place had a generally unkempt and uncared for look about it. Freshney place put an end to all of that. It took a good couple of years to renovate the precinct about ten or so years ago, but the inconvenience was well worth it. The concrete was gone forever, replaced with shiny, clean tiles and a wonderful glass roof, the precinct had always been open to the elements before, but the new Freshney Place shopping experience helped to tempt national companies to trade in Grimsby, Freshney place is an achievement that Grimsby people can really be proud of, and pride in our town is something that we Grimsby people have in abundance!
Grimsby people don’t normally tend to move away from Grimsby. There is, of course, the odd exception to this rule, I’m one of them! Even so, very few of the people that I was at school with have left Grimsby, a lot of Grimsby people buy a house on the same estate, or even in the same street that they grew up in and quite happily spend the rest of their lives living there, and
there’s nothing wrong with that! Grimsby, like many Northern towns is almost like one huge family. Every body knows everybody else and it’s impossible to go out anywhere in Grimsby without seeing somebody you know.
Grimsby people are also, in general, incredibly friendly. I remember hearing years ago that the people in Nottingham were some of the friendliest in the country, well, I’ve lived in Nottingham and I think that Grimsby people beat them hands down. Now that I’m living down South I appreciate this an awful lot more. No offence, Southerners, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people working in shops, etc, in London and the Home Counties wouldn’t know good manners if they jumped up and bit them on the bottom. I was shocked on a recent visit to Grimsby that the lady in the bakers was actually smiling, and had a chat with me, I’d forgotten what it was like to be served by a shop assistant who didn’t act like I was ruining her day by asking her to take my money!
The town itself has improved beyond measure in recent years. Grimsby town council do an excellent job of maintaining and improving the town, better than anywhere else I’ve lived. Not only do Grimsby people now have a great shopping centre, but an enormous project has recently been completed to convert a disused railway line into a much needed direct route through the town.
Grimsby council also deserve much credit for work carried out on the multi-storey council flats in the town. They had always been a complete eyesore, in a terrible state of repair, nobody wanted to live there, but rather than tear them down the Council had them gutted and completely renovated. They are all sought after residences now! In one of the blocks the flats are only available to elderly residents, the top floor has been converted into a restaurant and community area, and the lobby is manned 24 hours a day, non residents are not allowed in
without authorization from the resident they’re coming to visit. The elderly residents feel safe and secure but still retain their independence. This housing project is envied and copied across the country!
It could all have been so very, very different though! Back in the ‘90s Grimsby pronounced itself “Europe’s Food Town”, but with the declining fish stocks meaning that Grimsby is now a shadow of the thriving fishing port it once was, this title could have had a very hollow ring. Not only have several large fish processing companies pulled out of Grimsby, but so have KP Foods, who until recently had an enormous snack food factory in the town. Having said that, there are still several very large fish product manufacturing factories in the town, and many smaller ones which are growing all the time. There are also vegetable processing factories and a thriving population of enormous factories along the banks of the Humber Estuary including Tioxide, which is the owner of the infamous chimney known locally as “Titans chimney” which is incredibly tall and something of a local landmark, along with the Grimsby Dock Tower. Both of these can be seen for miles around when approaching Grimsby by train, by road or by boat and even from the air! It's rumoured locally that pilots flying into Manchester Airport and the nearby Humberside Airport use these landmarks as a point of reference when approaching the coast!
Grimsby is also making a name for itself on the tourist map. Not that I can imagine that many people pondering where to go on holiday would suddenly say “do you know, I’ve always wanted to go to Grimsby” but Cleethorpes is quite a popular holiday choice, especially with Yorkshire people, for some reason. Most people whilst visiting Cleethorpes spend a day or two in Grimsby during their stay, and perhaps surprisingly, there is quite a lot to do. Grimsby is very proud of it’
s fishing heritage museum, which is quite similar to the Jjorvik centre in York in that it displays models of everyday Grimsby life in years gone by with “authentic” smells to accompany them. Docked close to the heritage centre is the Lincoln Castle, now a bar and restaurant but in years gone by, before the completion of the Humber Bridge, it was a passenger ferry, shipping people from the South side of the Humber to Hull on the North side. The shopping, naturally, is quite a draw, but there is also a leisure centre, an enormous swimming pool and a cinema which has three screens, if my memory serves me correctly!
Night life in Grimsby is also something to be experienced! I must admit that most people, especially those that my friends and I used to refer to as "townies" go out to one of the numerous bars and nightclubs in Cleethorpes. Cleethorpes has much more credibility than Grimsby for nightlife. Personally, I never took to Cleethorpes, my local was the "Barge" which is docked just outside Freshney Place in Grimsby Town Centre and in my day used to be the only place to be seen for metal-heads, glammies, goths and the like! I also used to frequent what I believe to be the only decent nightclub in Grimsby, which is just across the road from the Barge and is called "Gullivers". It's been there for as long as I can remember and in all of that time it hasn't changed one little bit. Inside it's very small and very dark, the dancefloor is about the size of the average postage stamp and the carpets haven't been changed in so long that whenever it gets hot and sweaty inside (which is often) your feet stick to the floor because of all of the drinks that've accumulated there over the years!
Oh dear, I'm so sorry, I must apologise for subjecting you all to such a long opinion, well done if you made it this far, I never intended for this opinion to be such an epic! It's just t
hat all in all, I’ve got an awful lot of affection for Grimsby, and I’m proud to tell people that I’m Grimsby born and bred, True, it’s not the prettiest of towns, but Grimsby people more than make up for that as they are some of the nicest and most honest people I’ve ever met. If that’s not enough for you, Grimsby has also spawned some excellent Dooyooers, Triplecthegame, Grimsbygal and jenniferd to name a few that I’m aware of, and who knows how many others are lurking in the Dooyoo closet! What more could you ask for from a town?!!! Grimsby is truly great, go Grimsby, go Grimsby….