Grimsby was a Victorian phenomenon. In the space of 100 years, from 1800 to 1900, its population soared from 1,000 to 63,000 and went on rising. The town was created by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company from nothing and it rose to become the premier fishing port in the world. But, for reasons beyond its control, its importance has dramatically diminished over the last 50 years. During its heyday, Grimsby was a prosperous and thriving community. Its population was composed of fortune-seekers from all over Britain and the world. The town was self-made in the great tradition of Victorian England and it was proud of itself and quite unashamed of its origins. The fish that landed here fed the nation, and ancillary industries that sprang up in the town resulted in "Made in Grimsby" being a byword for quality. But times have changed, and the townspeople have had to make difficult adjustments as the local economy has declined. Peter Chapman's account of Grimsby's remarkable recent history looks at the rise and demise of this Lincolnshire town and the people who made it great and who have now departed the scene.
PETER CHAPMAN was born in Lincolnshire 64 years ago and his family has lived hereabouts uninterruptedly for 400 years. He is former assistant editor of the Aldershot News and editor of Lincolnshire Life. He is the author of a brief history of the Grimsby Chums (the 10th Lincolns), a history of the Grimsby Evening Telegraph and of Images of North Lincolnshire. In retirement, he continues to write a weekly column in the Grimsby Telegraph.