The Ice Factory, Grimsby

Grade II* listed industrial heritage site on the Building at Risk Register, in an area in need of regeneration. 

Demand for ice fell in Grimsby in the latter half of the 20th century when its fishing industry went into sharp decline, and ice production stopped entirely in 1990. This vast Victorian building now stands derelict on Grimsby’s skyline, symbolising the area’s wider economic deterioration.

The Factory
The Ice Factory was built in 1900 and consists of two large red brick buildings complete with well-preserved ice making machinery. It has slated and glazed roofs, copper domes and a chamfered blue brick plinth.

Situated in Grimsby Docks, it is adjacent to the Kasbah, a time-capsule historic fishing neighbourhood with several architecturally fine buildings. An ambitious reuse project for the Factory has the potential to be a catalyst for the regeneration of the adjacent neighbourhood to the north and to make the historic docks a visitor attraction. 

Working with Great GIFT
We are supporting a highly competent local community group, The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (Great GIFT) in this project. 

At the start of the project we organised a community consultation event, which was the first time community representatives and all major stakeholders had come together to discuss the building’s future. The event raised local awareness and galvanised the community group to transform from a campaigning body into a project-delivery body. Afterwards the group registered as a charity and raised sufficient funds to undertake an options appraisal.

The options appraisal identified the preference for a combination of commercial, cultural and leisure uses for the Factory. This included ideas for an art gallery, restaurant, café, cinema, climbing wall, conference suite and creative business units. As well as helping with the developing strategy, we provided guidance during negotiations with key stakeholders including the owner (Associated British Ports), English Heritage, the council and potential funders. 

Great GIFT is now applying to major funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund, so they can commission further technical development work and purchase the site. The £13.5m project would not only save an extremely rare and important building, it would help transform the area by creating jobs, developing business workspace, boosting the visitor economy and creating local facilities.

After getting rejected by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant, Grimsby is still hopeful to achieve preservation and reuse for The Ice Factory. In June 2016, an enthusiastic heritage activist met with PRT to further discuss plans to save this site and regenerate the town.