Industrial ICe production Timeline


Grimsby’s fishing industry is growing rapidly, with an insatiable demand for crushed ice to preserve the catch on its way to shore on the fishing boats, and on the fish trains which send it all over Britain.

This image shows fish ready to be auctioned on the pontoon


The Grimsby Ice Company is formed to build an Ice Factory which will meet the needs of the trawler owners and merchants.

The outside of the original Grimsby Ice Factory today.


The Ice Factory was designed with the help of Pontifex and Wood, an early manufacturer of steam-driven industrial refrigeration plant.

This image shows the Pontifex and Wood steam-driven refrigeration compressors in use.


The Ice Factory produces about 305 tonnes of ice per day, equivalent to roughly 12 million domestic ice cubes.

It employs men to manually handle blocks of ice weighing 127 kg each (3 cwt in those days)


An extension to the factory is built to increase the output to the equivalent of 20 million ice cubes per day. By adjusting the process, this equipment eventually produces the equivalent of 29 million ice cubes per day.

This image shows the 1910 extension.


The world-famous industrial manufacturer, the J&E Hall company, upgrades all the refrigeration plant to the latest electrically-driven equipment, increasing production to 1118 tonnes/day equivalent to approximately 44 million ice cubes.

Here we see the new compressors installed by J&E Hall Ltd.


Mr Brown as employed as an electrical engineer at the Grimsby Ice Factory.


This cartoon shows how ice was made at the Grimsby Ice Factory. Click on the image to see it full screen. Image drawn by Graham Bleathman


The Grimsby Ice Factory was the largest factory producing mechanical ice in the world, as large as a modern superstore. But from the 1960s onwards the fishing industry and catches declined, meaning less demand for ice. The Ice Factory only operated efficiently at full output. It eventually closed in 1990 and since then has remained empty

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