Waugh Thistleton submits plans to retrofit Grimsby’s historic Ice Factory

The application for the iconic red-brick complex, which has lain empty since the factory closed in the 1990s, also includes substantial space for flexible exhibition, conference and live performances, though the proposals have moved away from earlier concepts, which focused on a major 1,400-capacity theatre within the building.

The facility was once the UK’s largest ice factory, providing ice for the storage and transportation of fish around the country by train at a time when Grimsby was the world’s largest fishing seaport.

Several plans for the site have fallen through, and the Ice Factory was named among Europe’s top seven most endangered heritage sites in 2017 by Europa Nostra, which represents heritage across the Continent. The monumental building in the historic Kasbah part of the port of Grimsby, has also been Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register since 2008.

Waugh Thistleton had already submitted a listed building application to make the building wind- and watertight.

The plans are being brought forward by developer and entrepreneur Tom Shutes, who bought the site from Associated British Ports in 2021.

Shutes initally commissioned Waugh Thistleton to masterplan the wider site and design office, conference, leisure and leisure space together with the ‘sensitive restoration’ of the Ice Factory.

Shutes described the application as a ‘significant moment’ for the building, saying: ‘Our planning submission demonstrates our ambitions around high-quality placemaking – to create a leading site for the UK’s renewable energy sector that can also contribute significantly to the town’s ongoing redevelopment.

‘Our vision has always been that The Ice Factory, which was conceived as a brilliant and radical piece of engineering in its day, should continue, 100 years later, as a home for engineering excellence and we hope to attract other like-minded businesses to join us.’

Vicky Hartung, chair of the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, added: ‘Grimsby’s Ice Factory is recognised worldwide as a remarkable and endangered survivor of the Victorian industrial age.

‘[Its] repurposing will support the regeneration work that we and others are carrying out in the Kasbah and the Trust is particularly pleased to see the continuity of focus between the innovation of early refrigeration technology and current advances in producing renewable energy.’

A future timescale for the project is not yet known.

Project data

Local authority North East Lincolnshire Council
Type of project Retrofit/listed building refurbishment
Client IF1900
Architect Waugh Thistleton Architects
Landscape architect TBC
Planning consultant DP9
Structural engineer Waterman Structures
M&E consultant Cundall
Quantity surveyor WT Partnership
Principal designer IG9
Main contractor TBC
Tender date TBC
Start on site date TBC
Completion date TBC
Gross internal floor area 7,672m²
Annual CO2 emissions TBC
Total cost TBC

Source: (required by the license) David Rogers / The Grimsby Ice Factory

The Grimsby Ice Factory on Fish Dock Road