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Government backs new Ice Factory study

UK: The threatened historic Grimsby Ice factory has received government assistance to part fund a new feasibility study to assess its current condition and how it can be best preserved.

The unique ice factory, with its 90-year-old refrigeration equipment still in place, is one of 25 coastal projects to be awarded grants under the government’s Coastal Revival Fund. It is also one of six winning projects which are classed as “at risk” by Historic England.

The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT), which has been battling for years to save this grade- ll*-listed building, says the £40,000 grant will be match-funded through the Heritage Action Zone. It hopes that the study will be completed by early in 2019.

Deborah Lamb, deputy chief executive of Historic England, said: “We welcome news of funding to help save at-risk historic buildings and places in our seaside towns and villages, so that they can be brought back into use for the benefit of local communities.

“Restoring local gems can attract investment and help to tackle the deprivation that is a problem in a number of our coastal areas. There are great examples of restoration projects in our seaside towns, often bringing together the private, public, voluntary and social enterprise sectors. This funding will inspire more.”

The J&E Hall compressors in their heyday

The Grimsby Ice Factory was built in 1901 to provide ice for the town’s flourishing fishing industry and, at one time, was the largest such facility in the world.

The factory closed in 1990 and is now derelict but the significance of this Grade II* listed building is that it is the last surviving example of industrial-scale ice-making with its equipment still in-situ. Amongst the surviving refrigeration equipment are four huge J&E Hall ammonia compressors from the 1930s. It is the only remaining building of its type in the UK with the refrigeration equipment still largely intact. It is a unique and irreplaceable testament to a golden age of refrigeration.

A feasibility study was carried out by North East Lincolnshire Council in 2010. It came up with a number of different options ranging in cost from just over £1m for minimum essential works to shore-up the main building to £4.75m for a full repair of the both the main building and its 1910 extension.

An options appraisal in 2013 placed the irreplaceable refrigeration equipment as the centrepiece of of a £12m development of the site to include include a cinema, art gallery, micro-brewery, restaurant and retail units. The subsequent bid for £11m of Heritage Lottery funding was unsuccessful.

Related stories:

Iconic refrigeration frozen in timePart 1 – 1 March 2014
In this first part, we take a general look at the history of the Ice Factory and its refrigeration systems. In part 2 we will explore in more detail the workings of the 1930s J&E Hall equipment, much of which still remains within the building, and then, in Part 3, delve further back to information that has been unearthed on the first and original refrigeration system that has long since been lost to history. Read more…

Frozen in time – Part 2 – 10 March 2014
In Part 2 of our special feature on the Grimsby Ice Factory, the Cooling Post takes a more in-depth look at the 80-year-old refrigeration system still contained within this historic building. Read more…

Grimsby Ice Factory – Part 3 – 23 March 2014
In Part 2 of this series on the Grimsby Ice Factory we looked at the 1930s J&E Hall refrigeration installation which replaced the original steam-driven compressors. In this article we look at that original equipment and how it worked within the Ice Factory. Read more…

Ice Factory thrown heritage lifeline – 15 March 2018
UK: Efforts to save the historic Grimsby Ice Factory have been thrown a major lifeline by being named as one of the most endangered heritage sites in Europe. Read more…

Ice Factory denied lottery funding – 27 May 2014
UK: The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT) has been unsuccessful in its bid for £11m of Heritage Lottery funding. Read more…

Grimsby Ice Factory on Monuments Watch – 8 October 2013
UK: The Grimsby Ice Factory, with its historic, irreplaceable Grade ll* listed refrigeration equipment, has been selected as one of the World’s most treasured places by the New York based World Monuments Fund. Read more…

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