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Grimsby Liberal Club ~ Some History & Research

The liberal Club in Great Grimsby
A nice 1800s engraving of the Liberal Club prompted me to look into the history of the Liberal Club in Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Without much success it has to be said . . .

Liberal Clubs, for members of the British Liberal Party (one of the main 3 political parties in Britain along with Labour and Conservative), were very widespread and I’ve found it interesting to look at just how impressive most were as buildings, some really fine ones.

It’s worth looking at the contrasting political fortunes of Political Parties over a century ago compared to today, now they are all in debt with very few members, then they could justify and support buildings such as this in Grimsby . . .

Lord Harlington opened a Liberal Club at Grimsby in October 1885 and was located, I believe, right in the hub of things in the Grimsby Central Market, another image of the Club can been seen on the Central Market article.

I’ve been ambling through the bookshelves here at the Goldeneye Club and sadly they yield nothing, not even a mention have I been able to turn up.
Likewise quick initial searches online bring up surprisingly little so it would be great if we can come up with some history, perhaps even a timeline of what was an important building in the town.

To that end if anybody knows and directly related to The Grimsby Liberal Club or can dig anything up then it would be great to get it recorded here.

Illiberally yours,


  1. v said,

    September 22, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    You are right. There is indeed scant little information on this place. I just ploughed through a few dozen items; no snippets, no golden nuggets, nothing to laugh at all!

    The only things that caught my quirky eye were these.

    Although the Grimsby Liberal Club was opened in 1885, only eleven years later 1896, there was a series of meetings held to discuss terminating the tenancy because there were only 100 subscribers and unless finances improved the premises could not be retained. It was decided that additional subscriptions were needed to keep the occupancy for a further few months.

    December 1899

    Brocklesby Auction house listed considerable property for sale and excitement was considerable because the 4th Lot was the property used by Grimsby Liberal Club in Centralmarket . The building was owned by the late Mr A C Marshall and bidding started at THREE THOUSAND pounds!

  2. jean said,

    September 22, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

    Rod when looking at the picture I could weep at the destruction of Grimsby town centre there are very few building worthy of being called beautiful left,a leftwing council in charge of the town with no love for it. Jean

  3. Rod said,

    September 22, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

    thanks for employing your resources on this one, I know they turn up all sorts of hidden gems, if they’re available to be found that is.

    You have turned up some really nice bits though V - moves us on quite a lot

  4. Rod said,

    September 22, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    indeed, I know what you mean, all too well I’m afraid.

  5. Amiguru said,

    September 22, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

    Sir George Doughty, (knighted in 1904), was first elected to represent Grimsby in 1895 as a Liberal but he became a Unionist in 1898. he must have seen the writing on the wall! He continued to represent Grimsby until his defeat in the 1910 election. He died four years later.

    In 1893, Mr. H. Josse (Gladstonian Liberal), who had resigned the Grimsby seat, was replaced by The Right Hon. Edward Heneage (Liberal Unionist). Talk about confusion for the voters; I guess they had to be really well informed as to which sinking ship the candidates were aboard! ;)


  6. Richard Oliver said,

    September 24, 2013 @ 9:08 am

    I suspect that these clubs went in for lavish premises as they intended to function as much as social as political clubs. Perhaps, with the growth of ‘posh’ houses out towards Bargate and Peoples Park, the Grimsby Liberals misjudged things.

    We blame ‘the council’ for lots of things, but does anyone know when the club was actually demolished? Councils only really got nasty after 1945 - a lot of demolition was bomb-damage or general decrepitude.

    The Liberal/Liberal-Unionist thing is complicated, and was a split inside the Liberal party: a bit like Old Labour and New Labour candidates standing against each other. The Unionists were anti-Irish Home Rule. Most of them did eventually finish up with the Conservatives, but I saw something once in Hansard as late as 1902, in connection with Edward Heneage (MP for Grimsby 1880-92, 1893-5), by then Lord Heneage, which hinted that the Libs and Lib-Unionists might still one day get back together. VERY complicated!

  7. Susan Watkin said,

    October 9, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    Some more information, but perhaps more questions than answers! There is a very good large scale (1:500) map of Grimsby in 1888 at - search by cordinates 527240 409955 to see the Central Market. The Liberal Club is shown at the north east corner of Central Market. 1908 and 1933 maps show a club in the same position. As the building was standing in 1933, perhaps it was destroyed by bombing in WW2? Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire, 1919 lists Liberal Club (Robert Hill, sec) Central Market, but was the building still a Liberal Club in 1933?

    As already said the club building was for sale in 1899. The London Gazette of 30 August 1899 has a notice about the winding up of Great Grimsby Liberal Club Company Limited. There’s probably more to be discovered about what happened in 1899 - but the Liberal Club was still in Central Market in 1919.

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