GRIMSBY, or Great Grimsby, a municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Lincolnshire, England; an important seaport near the mouth of the Humber on the south shore. Pop. (1901) 63,138. It is 155 m. N. by E. from London by the Great Northern railway, and is also served by the Great Central railway. The church of St James, situated in the older part of the town, is a cruciform Early English building, retaining, in spite of injudicious restoration, many beautiful details. The chief buildings are that containing the town hall and the grammar school (a foundation of 1547), the exchange, a theatre, and the customs house and dock offices. A sailors' and fishermen's Harbour of Refuge, free library, constitutional club and technical school are maintained. The duke of York public gardens were opened in 1894. Adjacent to Grimsby on the east is the coastal watering-place of Cleethorpes.
The dock railway station lies a mile from the town station. In 1849 the Great Central (then the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire) railway initiated a scheme of reclamation and dock-construction. This was completed in 1854, and subsequent extensions were made. There are two large fish-docks, and, for general traffic, the Royal dock, communicating with the Humber through a tidal basin, the small Union dock, and the extensive Alexandra dock, together with graving docks, timber yards, a patent slip, &c. These docks have an area of about 104 acres, but were found insufficient for the growing traffic of the port, and in 1906 the construction of a large new dock, of about 40 acres' area and 30 to 35 ft. depth, was undertaken by the Great Central Company at Immingham, 5 m. above Grimsby on the Humber. The principal imports are butter, woollens, timber, cereals, eggs, glass, cottons, preserved meat, wool, sugar and bacon. The exports consist chiefly of woollen yarn, woollens, cotton goods, cotton yarn, machinery, &c. and coal. It is as a fishing port, however, that Grimsby is chiefly famous. Two of the docks are for the accommodation of the fishing fleet, which, consisting principally of steam trawlers, numbers upwards of 500 vessels. Regular passenger steamers run from Grimsby to Dutch and south Swedish ports, and to Esbjerg (Denmark), chiefly those of the Wilson line and the Great Central railway. The chief industries of Grimsby are shipbuilding, brewing, tanning, manufactures of ship tackle, ropes, ice for preserving fish, turnery, flour, linseed cake, artificial manure; and there are saw mills, bone and corn mills, and creosote works. The municipal borough is under a mayor, 12 aldermen and 36 councillors. Area, 2852 acres.
Grimsby (Grimesbi) is supposed to have been the landing-place of the Danes on their first invasion of Britain towards the close of the 8th century. It was a borough by prescription as early as 1201, in which year King John granted the burgesses a charter of liberties according to the custom of the burgesses of Northampton. Henry III. in 1227 granted to "the mayor and good men" of Grimsby, that they should hold the town for a yearly rent of fill, and confirmed the same in 1271. These charters were confirmed by later sovereigns. A governing charter, under the title of mayor and burgesses, was given by James II. in 1688, and under this the appointment of officers and other of the corporation, arrangements are to a great extent regulated. In 1201 King John granted the burgesses an annual fair for fifteen days, beginning on the 25th of May. Two annual fairs are now held, namely on the first Monday in April and the second Monday in October. No early grant of a market can be found, but in 1792 the market-day was Wednesday. In 1888 it had ceased to exist. Grimsby returned two members to the parliament of 1298, but in 1833 the number was reduced to one.
In the time of Edward III. Grimsby was an important seaport, but the haven became obstructed by sand and mud deposited by the Humber, and so the access of large vessels was prevented. At the beginning of the 19th century a subscription was raised by the proprietors of land in the neighbourhood for improving the harbour, and an act was obtained by which they were incorporated under the title "The Grimsby Haven Co." The fishing trade had become so important by 1800 that it was necessary to construct a new dock.
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