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Ice Factory is “most endangered” site

The Grimsby Ice Factory seeks significant funding. Photo: Andy Marshall/WMF

UK: The Grimsby Ice Factory, with its historic refrigeration equipment, has been shortlisted as one of the most endangered heritage sites in Europe.

The Ice Factory is one of just 12 sites selected as the “most endangered” heritage sites in Europe by Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organisation in Europe, and the European Investment Bank Institute.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage nominated the Grade II* listed Ice Factory in 2017. It is the only UK building on the list. Other threatened buildings and sites include the historic centre of Vienna, the Castle of Sammezzano in Tuscany, Italy and post-Byzantine churches in Albania.

The aim of the list is a public call to action – to act as a catalyst to bring together public and private partners at local, national and European level to join forces to save these threatened heritage sites.

The shortlist was announced at the opening of 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The final list of 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe will be unveiled on 15 March 2018.

Announcing the shortlist, Europa Nostra’s executive president, said “This shortlist is, first and foremost, a call to action. We urge public and private stakeholders at local, national and European levels to join forces to rescue the heritage gems which tell our shared story and which must be saved for future generations.”

Francisco de Paula Coelho, dean of the European Investment Bank Institute, said: “Saving these 12 sites will not only benefit the cultural heritage monuments alone. The investment will also generate socio-economic benefits at the local, regional and national levels. Well prepared and well implemented investment in cultural heritage pays off in terms of social, economic and cultural development, and it is important to spread this message during the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.”

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE said: “We’re delighted that the importance of Grimsby’s fishing heritage has been recognised on the European stage. The Ice Factory joins a group of high profile sites and buildings across the continent singled out for their historic importance and vulnerability. We hope this call to action will focus minds on the immediate challenge of halting the on-going deterioration of this magnificent building, and finding new uses for its future.”

Mike Fox, deputy director of SAVE, said: “Today’s announcement recognises that the Ice Factory is one of the most at-risk historic buildings in Europe, and we’re really pleased to be working with Europa Nostra in highlighting it and working towards finding a successful solution for restoration.”

SAVE’s submission to Europa Nostra was officially supported by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and World Monuments Fund Britain.

The four J&E Hall ammonia compressors from the 1930s. Photo: Andy Marshall/WMF

The Ice Factory dates from 1900 and is a substantial industrial building within Grimsby Docks, once the world’s foremost fishing port. The factory supplied ice for fish packing and onwards transportation around the UK to Europe and beyond. It was the largest ice factory in world.

The factory has been in a state of serious decline since its closure in 1990, with no maintenance or repairs. The roof is severely damaged allowing water into the interiors and exposing the magnificent machinery – much of which is still in place. The centrepiece of the remaining equipment is the 1930’s plant room containing four huge J&E Hall four-cylinder ammonia compressors.

A mixed use development proposal initiated by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT), 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.

Related stories:

Heritage battle closes on Ice Factory – 1 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…

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…

Iconic refrigeration frozen in time
The Cooling Post has uncovered a huge amount of new information, photographs and drawings of  the historic Grimsby Ice Factory, enough to begin a new three-part feature on the history of the Grimsby Ice Factory and the unique refrigeration equipment it contains. Read more…

Frozen in time – part 2
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
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…

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