Rock the Kasbah
THE historic fishing docks at Grimsby, Lincolnshire— known as the Kasbah and made up of old warehouses, smokehouses and shops dating back to the 1870s, when Grimsby was ‘the greatest fishing port in the world’—have finally been granted conservation-area status (see Property comment, page 110).
The news follows inclusion in the World Monuments Fund’s 2014 Watch list and a long-running campaign for the docks’ preservation by SAVE Britain’s Heritage, which came to a peak last year, in a high-profile protest against demolition.
Sadly, the street in question, the Cosalt Buildings, was lost, but the campaign did draw the public’s attention, as well as that of the Court of Appeal and national heritage organisations, to this neglected docklands, which is one of the most important surviving examples of industrial-scale fishing trade in England. There are 80-plus buildings in the Kasbah that have fallen into disrepair and eight remaining listed buildings, including a Grade Ii*-listed ice factory (not included in the conservation area), two traditional smokeries, still operating, and a Grade I-listed dock tower (left) modelled on the Palazzo Publico in Siena. ‘SAVE salutes North East Lincolnshire Council for taking this important decision to change the fortunes of Grimsby’s fishing dock,’ says Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE. ‘We look forward to a new chapter of investment and celebration in the historic Kasbah buildings. There are examples across the country, such as the Albert Dock in Liverpool and Gloucester Docks, that show that heritage can be a prime driver for regeneration and for the local economy. It is encouraging to see the Council and owner of the docks Associated British Ports now recognise this.’ Marcus Binney, SAVE’S president, adds: ‘Just across the Humber, Hull has achieved a renaissance of city architecture during its year as City of Culture. Grimsby must follow suit and help revive the smokeries, which make the Kasbah such a special place.’