Immingham and the Great Central Legacy


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In the first decade of the 20th century a sparsely-populated marshland village, north-west of Grimsby, was invaded by several thousand men and their families.  The great central Railway had decided to build a new port to relieve the congestion at Grimsby and those men had come to build it.  Robert Hollowday was the manager of the main contractor Price, Wills and Reeves and this was to be his last contract after working for them in Cyprus, India, Singapore and Burma.

Three new railways were fed into the new dock area, with over 170 miles of sidings to accommodate the expected traffic in and out of the port.  An entrance gate was built to accommodate any ship that could pass through the Suez Canal and a new graving dock, a power station and a large granary were all constructed.  It was officially opened by the King and his Queen on July 22nd 1912.  Photos of their train and luncheon tickets along with the workers and dignitaries attending that day are included in the many photos in the book.

The success of the new port was instant.  Initially construction of this rapidly growing village took on the look of a western frontier town with a ‘tin town’ of corrugated iron buildings, shops, houses and, most importantly, pubs.  After these came more substantial buildings, including a police station and the County Hotel, and the town began to grow to its present size of about 12,000 people.

The Great Central Railway passed into history in 1923, only 11 years after Immingham opened, but its legacy remains.  This collection of photographs and documents records how the Great Central influenced the lives and landscape of the area and changed the rural village of Immingham into the busy port and town we see today.


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by Brian Mummery and Ian Butler


The History Press


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