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.

Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organisation in Europe, and the European Investment Bank Institute have included the Grimsby Ice Factory in its seven most threatened heritage sites in Europe for 2018. The Ice Factory was selected from a shortlist of 12 sites named in January.

The Ice Factory shares the list with post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja and Vithkuqi in Albania, the historic centre of Vienna, the Buzludzha monument in Bulgaria, the David Gareji monasteries and hermitage in Georgia, the Constanta Casino in Romania and the Prinkipo Greek Orphanage on Princes’ Islands in Turkey.

Europa Nostra is the pan-European federation of heritage NGO’s which is also supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals. The 7 Most Endangered programme was launched in 2013 by Europa Nostra with the European Investment Bank Institute as founding partner. It was inspired by a successful similar project run by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In announcing the list, Europa Nostra said: “These gems of Europe’s cultural heritage are in grave danger, some due to neglect or inadequate development, others due to a lack of expertise or resources.”

Based on previous successes, Europa Rostra adds: “We are therefore hopeful that the sites included on this new list will be saved for future generations, thanks to a combined public and private support.”

Over the coming months, experts from Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, together with other partners and the nominators will now visit the seven selected sites and meet with key stakeholders. The multidisciplinary teams will provide technical advice, identify possible sources of funding and mobilise wide support to save these heritage landmarks. The specialists will formulate feasible action plans for the listed sites by the end of the year.

Built in 1900, the Grimsby Ice Factory is understood to be the oldest ice factory in the United Kingdom. Grade II* listed, the building is both a prominent physical reminder of Grimsby’s fishing and maritime past, and the 90-year-old equipment it contains is a unique snapshot of the UK’s refrigeration heritage

The Factory has been in a state of serious decline since its closure in 1990. The roof is now severely damaged allowing water into the interiors, and much of its metal work and electrical fittings have been stolen. Moreover, there have been threats of demolition. The Factory has remained in private ownership. A mixed use development proposal initiated by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, estimated to potentially create upwards of 125 jobs, has so far been unsuccessful in securing funding, resulting in the future of the Ice Factory remaining uncertain.

The nomination for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2018 was made by SAVE Britain’s Heritage and supported by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and World Monuments Fund Britain.

“Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE said: “This selection of the Ice Factory shows not only how important this magnificent building is in Grimsby – but it highlights its national and European significance too. The deterioration of the Ice Factory has been going on for too long – and we hope this high level European expertise will help the owners and local groups find new uses for it – and reveal its potential as a catalyst for regeneration of this part of the docks.”

The area surrounding the Ice Factory – known as the Kasbah – was designated a Conservation Area in October last year, following a high-profile campaign led by SAVE in 2016 to save a street of 19th and 20th century buildings there. However the Ice Factory was not included within the boundaries of the new Conservation Area.

Related stories:

Ice Factory is “most endangered” site – 16 January 2018
UK: The Grimsby Ice Factory, with its historic refrigeration equipment, has been shortlisted 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…

Kasbah lifeline for Ice Factory – 27 October 2017
UK: The Grimsby Ice Factory and its historic refrigeration machinery has been thrown a lifeline with the granting of Conservation Area status to the adjacent Kasbah on Grimsby dock. Read more…