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Kasbah lifeline for Ice Factory

Grimsby’s Kasbah comprises a network of smoke houses, warehouses and shops and is part of the most important, surviving representation of industrial scale fishing trade in England

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.

The vote to grant Conservation Area status to the Kasbah and its Victorian dock buildings will make it easier for the landowners, Associated British Ports (ABP), to access grant funding from Historic England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other partners in order to conserve and develop or re-use the heritage assets.

Developed in the 1870s on Port of Grimsby dock land, the Kasbah includes a network of smoke houses, warehouses and shops which was recently threatened with demolition.

The move is part of the council’s multi-million-pound Greater Grimsby Town Deal announced last year to regenerate and develop the town and its unique maritime heritage.

In announcing its decision, North East Lincolnshire Council described it as the only surviving area of traditional smoke houses in England. “The Kasbah area also forms an important part of the setting of the grade I listed Dock Tower – perhaps the most iconic image of the town – and the grade II* listed Ice Factory,” it said.

An aerial view of the Kasbah conservation area with the Grimsby Ice Factory just creeping into the picture bottom right

The Grimsby Ice Factory was built in 1900 to support the Grimsby fishing industry. The largest ice factory in the world, it closed in 1990, and has since stood derelict and crumbling in Grimsby docks. The Grade ll*-listed building still contains much of its original refrigeration equipment including four massive, four-cylinder, J&E Hall ammonia compressors installed in the 1930s.

The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT), the group fighting to preserve the derelict Ice Factory, welcomed the news and revealed that it has been working closely with landowners ABP and NELC/Engie on a pilot project that would kickstart a programme of restoration to eventually encompass the whole area.

The Ice Factory contains four massive, 90-year-old, four-cylinder, J&E Hall ammonia compressors

“The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust is delighted that the Kasbah will have the protection of conservation area status at last,” said GGIFT chair Vicky Hartung.

“There are nearly 90 buildings within the historic dock area that have over the years fallen into disuse and disrepair (not to mention the Ice Factory itself), so viewed as a heritage project this is a huge challenge. But GGIFT is ready to play its part in working with ABP, NELC/Engie, and other heritage partners and funders on a long-term plan to reintegrate these buildings into the life of the port and the town,” she said.

Speaking to the Cooling Post, Vicky Hartung said that GGIFT’s involvement was building some strong relationships that would serve them well in relation to the Ice Factory in future. “In the meantime, any improvements within the Kasbah will not only provide a more attractive context for the Factory, but will allow us to build up a portfolio of successful projects to support future bids on the Ice Factory.”

The Cooling Post has long supported efforts to preserve the Ice Factory, publishing a unique three-part history of the building and its equipment: Iconic refrigeration frozen in time , Frozen in time – Part 2  and Grimsby Ice Factory – Part 3 .

Related stories:

Grimsby plan lifeline for ice factory26 July 2017
UK: The group fighting to preserve the Grimsby Ice Factory and its 80-year-old refrigeration compressors has been buoyed by plans for a regeneration of the area. Read more…

Heritage battle closes on Ice Factory1 August 2016
UK: The historic Grimsby Ice factory and its unique 85-year-old refrigeration equipment is more exposed as nearby Victorian buildings on Grimsby docks look set to be demolished. Read more…

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