BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites

Contact Us


You are in: Humber > Features > Fun > Great Grimsby Day

Grimsby docks and the Dock Tower.

Great Grimsby Day

A day to celebrate all things Grimsby. But how much do you know about the town?


The town was founded by Viking settlers in the 9th Century who found its natural harbour a useful base. Indeed, the town’s name is thought to derive from the founder Grim. Grims-by being “Grim’s Village” in ancient  Danish.

Grimsby Dock Tower

Grimsby Dock Tower

The Domesday Book of 1085 puts the town’s population as 200. It developed as a fishing area and received its Charter from King John in 1201. The sea brought great prosperity over the years until the approaches to the town silted up causing a decline in fortunes from the 15th Century onwards.

The decline was reversed with the improvement of the local waterways and the building of the docks from the 1790s onwards.
The town had a massive boost with the arrival of the railway in 1848. This led to the town becoming a major port, busy with trade between Europe and the UK.

The mid-Victorian period was probably Grimsby’s greatest period with a number of docks being built crowned by the town’s most famous monument the Dock Tower erected in 1851.

Although the fishing industry saw steep decline after World War Two the town is still heavily involved in food production, with major manufacturing plants located in the area.

Famous Grimbarians

Rod Temperton
Song writer who has penned tunes for Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock and George Benson. Most famous for his collaborations with Michael Jackson on the multi-million selling albums Off The Wall and Thriller.

John Whitgift

John Whitgift

John Whitgift
Born sometime in the 1530s he was the eldest son of a Grimsby merchant. Whitgift studied at Cambridge and then took holy orders. He rose to become Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. A favourite of the Queen, he attended her on her deathbed and crowned her successor James I.  He was a controversial figure who used his considerable powers to persecute Puritans who he deemed to be heretics.

Haydn Taylor
A long distance swimmer who was the first man to swim the Humber. He went on to swim the English Channel in 1935.

Allan Smethurst
Achieved fame in the 1960s as the Singing Postman with novelty hit Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boi?, which knocked the Beatles off the number one slot in 1966.
Although hailing from Norfolk, Smethurst was working as a postman in Grimsby when fame beckoned. He returned to the town in the 1980s where he spent the last 20 years of his life as a resident in the Salvation Army hostel.

John Hurt

John Hurt

John Hurt
He came to the area when his father, a clergyman, moved to St Aidan’s Church, Cleethorpes. He often attended plays at Grimsby Repertory Theatre. His parents tried to dissuade him from becoming an actor so he enrolled at Grimsby Art School with the intention of becoming an art teacher. His teaching ambitions were abandoned when he won a scholarship to RADA in 1960.  He has performed on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as becoming an international star with leading roles in The Naked Civil Servant, Alien, The Elephant Man and many other films.

Amy Monkhouse
Grimsby P.E teacher who has won numerous titles in the world of bowls; including two Commonwealth Games bronze medals.

Patricia Hodge
The daughter of a hotel manager, Hodge was a pupil at Wintringham Girls' Grammar School. She went onto appear in numerous plays, films and TV dramas.
Played opposite fellow Grimbarian John Hurt in the Naked Civil Servant and the Elephant Man.

Vivean Gray
Born in Cleethorpes in 1924 Gray emigrated to Australia where she appeared in TV shows such as the Sullivans and Prisoner Cell Block H. She achieved her greatest fame as Mrs Mangle in Neighbours.

Freddie Frinton
A comedian who was born in Grimsby in 1909. He worked in a fish-factory in the town before getting fired for joking around. He took to the comedy circuit, often playing an amiable drunk.
Almost forgotten in the UK, Frinton is a household name in Germany.
It stems from a sketch he recorded for German TV in 1963 called Dinner For One. In the show he plays a butler to an old lady in a large house. The lady throws a dinner party but none of the guests turn up. To keep up the illusion Frinton rushes around pretending to be the various guests. For some unknown reason this black and white sketch has become an annual part of Germany's New Year’s Eve celebrations. It is repeated up to a dozen times on various TV channels in the run-up to midnight.

Michele Dortrice

Michele Dortrice with Michael Crawford

Michele Dotrice
Cleethorpes born actress who is best remembered as Frank Spencer’s long-suffering wife Betty in the hit 70s sitcom Some Mothers Do Ave Em

Duncan McKenzie
Footballer whose career included spells at Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Anderlecht, Everton, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers.

Steve Currie
Bass player in seventies glam rock band T-Rex

last updated: 21/01/2008 at 13:42
created: 21/01/2008


You are in: Humber > Features > Fun > Great Grimsby Day

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy