Here you will find a list of the questions we are most frequently asked about the Grimsby Ice Factory.

Who are you?


The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT) is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee (Company No. 07990488 | Reg.Charity No. 1146988). It was set up in 2010 as a result of public meetings organised by Grimsby Cleethorpes and District Civic Society. GGIFT was created for those people who believe the Ice Factory has a sustainable future.

David Ross

Vicky Hartung (chair)
Graeme Bassett (secretary)
Tom Dannatt (treasurer)
Roy Horobin
Chris Lester
David Pitcher
Susan Pitcher


Why do you want to save the Ice Factory?


The Ice Factory is one of the most important buildings in Grimsby.  Because of its capacity to produce up to 1100 tonnes of ice per day, Grimsby became the busiest fishing port in the world in the mid-20th century. [see a brief history of Grimsby Docks]

We believe the building can once more play a role in the prosperity of the town by acting as a catalyst for regeneration in the East Marsh.

Why not just knock it down and create more jobs on the docks?

We don’t how many – if any – new jobs would be created by opening up another acre of storage space on the docks.   On the other hand, the Options Appraisal we completed in 2013 indicated a mixed-use scheme for the Ice Factory could generate over 90 full-time equivalent jobs, in various sectors.

[See a summary of the Options Appraisal here]

(Also, regarding demolition, see next question below:)

Why is the Ice Factory so special?

The Grimsby Ice Factory is a Grade II* Listed Building. This puts it in the top 7% of buildings within the UK, and it cannot be demolished without the consent of Historic England and ultimately the Secretary of State.  The Ice Factory is significant because it is the sole surviving example of a type of industrial ice-making equipment which remains in its original surroundings. The combination of the building, the machinery, and its location near the Kasbah area of Grimsby Docks – described by Historic England as the most important example of industrial scale fishing in the UK – makes it unique.  [see a brief history of Grimsby Ice Factory]   link to technical information/resources page]

Couldn’t you remove the machinery to a museum?

No. The building is effectively a shell for the machinery. Historic England may agree to some of the machinery being removed to create space for new business, but a representative sample must remain in place. There are two other, empty, ice factories in the UK. [link to info about other ice factories] It is the combination of building, machinery and location which makes the Grimsby Ice Factory unique. It would also be difficult to remove the machinery without damaging it – even if a large enough home could be found to house the restored equipment.

Isnʼt the building about to fall down?

A structural survey in 2010 concluded that the design and construction is of above average quality producing a robust structure. However, the fabric is degrading rapidly due to neglect and the weather (particularly rainfall through the roof). Some people say the building is an eyesore, giving the town a bad image, and deterring trade. Doing nothing means the building will just stand there looking worse.  [see the structural report here]

Who owns the Ice Factory?


The Ice Factory is owned by Associated British Ports which operates Grimsby Docks.


If you don’t own the Ice Factory how can you preserve it?

GGIFT’s intention is to inspire a partnership between private and public bodies which will regenerate the building, giving it a sustainable future.  ABP has indicated that if we can find – and fund – a sustainable solution, they will give us a long lease on the building.

What sort of uses are you talking about?

In 2013 GIFT completed an Options Appraisal which concluded that the best use for the building would be a mix of heritage, commercial, cultural and leisure activities. We already have a number of potential tenants interested in being involved in the project.  [link to abridged Options Appraisal report on resources page]

Isn't the population of Grimsby too small to sustain a big project in the Ice Factory?

Yes. That is why we have emphasised uses which will attract visitors from outside of the region. The Ice Factory, in the context of a revived Kasbah [link to history of Grimsby docks] area, with its smoke houses and other listed buildings, could become an international tourist destination which will enhance the existing offers in Cleethorpes and the Lincolnshire Wolds.

How can you ensure this regeneration won’t result in another “white elephant”?

The building has 78,000 square feet of interior space, with ample scope for a balance of different uses – tourism, commercial, leisure, community.  By not putting all our eggs in one basket we will ensure that the overall project is sustainable year on year.

If the Ice Factory is on the docks, how can it be a commercial proposition?

The Ice Factory is on the edge of the docks, very close to Riby Square. It would be possible to create public access which does not interfere with port activities.  Also, certain businesses on the docks, such as the Renewables companies, would be supported by facilities in the Ice Factory.

We believe that community and business interests can come together to ensure the survival of the Ice Factory, and that a working dock can – as in other coastal towns –  accommodate past, present and future.

How much will all this cost?

Costings based on the recommended scheme in the 2013 Options Appraisal amounted to c. £12 million.  Subject to further feasibility  studies and development work, we will aim to raise up to £15 million for the final project.

Where will you get the money from?

We aim to attract grant money through funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, private trusts and the Local Enterprise Partnerships.  We also intend to follow the example of other projects which have seen commercial investment in regenerated buildings.

Are you asking for Council Taxpayers to pay for the building?

No, we do not foresee the Local Authority taking responsibility for the building.

Weren’t you turned down by the Heritage Lottery Fund?

In November 2013 GGIFT submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for over £11 million to help fund the project.  Unfortunately, in April 2014, this bid was rejected.  Since then we have been reviewing our options, including the possibility of phasing the project, in preparation for submitting revised funding bids to various bodies, including the HLF.

Why is this taking so long?

This is the nature of these kinds of projects.  We are a volunteer community group, with no regular income.  Every time we need to pay a professional to help further our aims, we have to raise the funds to do so.  Funding cycles can range from three months to one year, which means we can spend many months waiting for a response before we can move forward. 

Is anybody helping you?

We have received tremendous help and support, both financial and otherwise, from numerous individuals and organisations, including:

The David Ross Foundation [open website in new window]

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust [open website in new window]

North East Lincolnshire Council [open website in new window]

The World Monuments Fund [open website in new window]

The Architectural Heritage Fund [open website in new window]

The Council for British Archaeology [open website in new window]

SAVE Britain’s Heritage [open website in new window]

The Victorian Society [open website in new window]

The Pilgrim Trust [open website in new window]

Historic England [open website in new window]

Heritage Lincolnshire [open website in new window]

The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology [open website in new window]

The Enrolled Freemen of Grimsby [open website in new window]

The Institute of Refrigeration [open website in new window]

North East Lincolnshire Communities Together [open website in new window]

Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire [open website in new window]

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