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Life in Grimsby Over a 100 Years Ago

Life in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, Over a Century Ago
Don’t miss this !
I’ll offer little in the way of introduction, just that we’re about to be treated to something from Neville Sisson once again, we all know that means something good, if you’re new to the site and don’t yet know that . . . please read on and you soon will.
I’ll now hand you over to Neville who’ll make his own ‘proper’ introduction . . .

Two Grimsby Accounts

Unless you’re an accountant, I guess like me your eyes would glaze over at the thought of reading through a book entitled: “COUNTY BOROUGH OF GRIMSBY - The Accounts“! :?
Not only a volume but 25 of them! :shock:

I find them fascinating, and I’m sure that if you have an historical bent, you will too, especially when I explain that they are for the years 1912 to 1937! These volumes, elegantly printed and bound from up to a century ago may well be the only copies in existence and so I feel that it is imperative that I share some of the content of them with you all via Mine Host’s amazing site. You most certainly won’t find these anywhere on the web, and possibly, not in any archive or library either.

Before I explain how I came to be their guardian, here is part of the front cover of the earliest volume:

Grimsby Borough Accounts

Grimsby Borough Accounts

During the first half of the 1970’s I worked for the Inland Revenue and I was asked to help clear out a store-room which housed a lot of long defunct records which were going to be destroyed. This set of 25 volumes were among the documents so destined but they were saved due to my supervisor who, being aware of my interest in local history, asked if I would be interested in having them.
And so it was, that this dusty bundle of accounts rode pillion on my motorbike back to Roxton :)

So now, after a hundred years in storage, (though nowadays in my ‘Lincolnshire’ bookcase), it is time for an airing. As a taster of the contents, here is the first page of the index.

what was life like in Grimsby and Cleethorpes a long time ago

Grimsby Borough Accounts Index

Rod and I have had a modicum of discussion recently on how to present, not only the morsels from these volumes, but also the absolute gems from a different kind of Grimsby account - the wonderful book; “A Gossip About Old Grimsby” by Anderson Bates.

I feel that Mr. Bates and his book are deserving of a separate Introductory article and this will follow on from this one within the next day or so.

That done, I shall then write, over the following weeks, a series of articles about varied aspects of life in Grimsby during the 19th. and early 20th. centuries using both the Borough Accounts and Bates’ book as seminal sources.


Related Articles:
The Grimsby Police


  1. veronica said,

    November 18, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    Neville ,

    Thanks in advance for all this wonderful work. It sounds just my sort of thing sifting through unknown records for documentary evidence, extrapolating and making reasoned deductions. ( Ha it’s what I do best ! )

    I look forward to the installments Neville but if I seem ‘quiet ‘ now and then it is because we are fully booked until Christmas ( with anti bullying week , Literacy workshops, Vikings, Ancient Egypt, Victorian Christmas , Fire of London , Pirates literacy day , Flo*ence N*ghtingale, history of toys , plus the museum ones all in the next 3 weeks !)
    Thanks again .


  2. Little Brother said,

    November 18, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    As an ex-pat Grimbarian I am looking forward to this, appreciate the effort and trouble you’re going to.

  3. Rod said,

    November 18, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

    This is going to be really good, don’t let Borough Accounts put you off, it won’t be dry and stuffy.
    It’s also worth remembering that some of the most interesting history we come across is based on accounts and court rolls !

    Can’t wait Neville.

  4. Amiguru said,

    November 18, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    V, LB & R,

    Thanks for all your encouragement and confidence in the series which I hope to justify in my usual episodic style!

    I’m currently weaving the second Introduction, which I hope to have with Rod, before bed tonight. Then the series can proceed at a more leisurely pace.


  5. Rod said,

    November 18, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

    I’m sure it will be excellent, not rush for the second intro, proceed leisurely at all times :)

  6. History Hunter said,

    November 19, 2012 @ 12:03 am

    Bl**dy hell Neville,

    when I saw the title of this thread I thought it was just going to be you talking about your childhood !!!!!!!

    S’pose I might have a read. Will be very interested in the accounts for the war years.

  7. Sambo said,

    November 19, 2012 @ 6:10 am

    Veronica, I solved the bullying problem for me when I was 11 or 12. Then I was small for my age and wore thick glasses. This very much larger boy decided that he was going to torment me because of how I looked, I guess. I put up with it for a while then one day I had had enough. Unfortunately for him, it was during a physical education period and we had been playing baseball. When he started up I went after him with a baseball bat. No permanent damage was done, except maybe his ego. He never bothered me again. One of life’s lessons. Stand up for yourself and don’t take crap from anybody. Seems a baseball bat is an excellent attitude adjuster. Worked for me.

    Cheers, Sambo

  8. v said,

    November 19, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    ( Sambo an aside )

    I am glad people left you alone, Sambo.

    Sometimes, it is unfortunate that we have to give off negative vibes to defend ourselves.

    But to think kindly, the bullies are merely weak people themselves. As always, my motto is to be kind to everyone you meet; we are on the earth a short while so let s make it as good as possible for all around us.


  9. Amiguru said,

    November 19, 2012 @ 12:17 pm


    How did you guess!? Now did I tell you about when I was in the Boer War……? Hopefully you’ll catch me up one day…

    Indeed the whole period spanned by these volumes is intrigueing, not only the 1st. World War, but its post war effects on the town and the work force, changing social and work attitudes running on into the Depression. Deja vu? :?


  10. Barry de Graff said,

    November 21, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    As an accountant by profession and a local history lover by hobby, this is fascinating! Love the hint that the Convamore Road Lavatory has two pages of the accounts devoted to it!

  11. Amiguru said,

    November 21, 2012 @ 4:25 pm


    I’ll have to leave the volumes to you in my will! You’re the ideal candidate :)

    Seriously, as you can imagine, 25 years times roughly 160 pages is an awful lot of information to sift through. Then there are the manuscript Tax Inspector’s scribblings and rubrics; all in ‘old money’ of course. Youngsters would be so stumped doing the arithmetic don’t you think?

    If you wish, give Rod permission to pass on your e-mail address and I’ll scan some of it for you.


  12. Barry de Graff said,

    November 23, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Many thanks Neville, that would be wonderful! Very happy for Rod to pass on the address! :-)

    Thank you!

  13. Amiguru said,

    November 23, 2012 @ 7:04 pm


    I await……so far no e-mail…..I guess your comment fell on stony ground and was buried by the religious, (or otherwise), fervour of today’s thread! Perhaps this comment will bear the fruit of patience….. :roll:

    Perhaps I should…observe that one of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.

    Reflectively yours,

  14. Rod said,

    November 23, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

    I’ve sent Barry an email with your address Neville, I’ll try the reverse but it all presupposes the email address Barry has used in the comment above is correct and of course that it gets through and past spamfilters etc.

  15. Amiguru said,

    November 23, 2012 @ 7:16 pm


    Thanks for that - just thought that the comment had drifted a long way down. I’m sure all will come together ….


  16. Faing said,

    November 27, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    Now this is really worth looking forward to, thank you for your efforts,I can’t wait to read the results. Faing.

  17. Amiguru said,

    November 27, 2012 @ 6:14 pm


    Thanks for your encouraging comment. I am currently working on the next ‘cameo’ article to spin off this and the ‘Gossip About Old Grimsby‘ thread. The content is ‘under wraps’ at the moment but I hope to submit it in the next couple of days.


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