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St Barnabas Mission Church in Grimsby ~ History

St Barnabas Mission Church in Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Another very interesting snippet from a fascinating 1896 map of Grimsby . . .

St Barnabas Mission Church, as seen below in 1896, was located by King Edward Street near the Fotherby Street junction and interestingly the map even gives us the height of the building, 15 feet to the eaves and 25 feet to the ridge so a fairly modest building I would suggest.

In 1867 a James Peter Young came to Grimsby in order to take over the St Barnabas area of Grimsby, coming here after hearing tales of loose morals and lack of religiosity in Grimsby!

He worked in the community, around the area above, but it was another 7 years before the funds were available to build the church shown on the map and in 1874 the church was erected - a ‘Tin Church’
The building was replaced shortly after this map was produced, entirely rebuilt in 1900, I presume with a more formal or robust building?

I look at these maps with real fascination as they are truly a joy for those interested in Social History.
There you see the streets, which still exist today, on them a Tin Church and a Lodging House, even more intriguingly a Common Lodging House, it’s a tantalising glimpse into Victorian Grimsby.

As always, these types of articles are meant as a catalyst and to that effect I’ll be very keen to amass as much information related to St Barnabas’ Mission Church in Grimsby or for that matter as a side issue, anything on or about the ‘Common Lodging House’



  1. Andrew said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 2:18 pm

    Dear Rod, if possiblecould you put some map to the same scale showing lower burgess street from the BT building down as far as queen street please?


  2. Rod said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

    I’ve not seen that part I’m afraid as it’s all in small sections Andrew, I’ll do so if I find it though

  3. Peter Mullins said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

    The building is still there, is now used as a furniture store, and I was once let in to have a look around - those who collect post from the Royal Mail office pass it on their right as they drive down the short entrance road there which is all there is of Fotherby Street.

    The area had a large population in closed packed housing and so was one of those places in which the then Grimsby Parish Church built a ‘daughter’ churches in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to cope with the needs of its rapidly growing parish - St Paul’s on Corporation Road (since demolished) and St Hugh’s (still in use) were two other examples at the same period on the West Marsh.

    The population declined in the 1950s and the strategic decision was made to close it and open a new church instead on the rapidly growing new part of Nunsthorpe. The dedication of the new church in 1960 was symbolic of this passing on to a new generation - St Mark is traditionally said to have been St Barnabas’ nephew.

  4. v said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

    1/ I have decided that Grimbarians must like their food very much indeed! Accounts of processions, meetings, events always seem to include the fact that everyone enjoyed a lavish or sumptuous tea or indeed give accounts of all that was eaten.

    The St Barnabas Mission Sunday School was no exception. At prize giving in 1919, 29 teachers sat and had their tea first before the 149 children could come in and did good justice to their tea.

    2/ Which King Edward is the street named after? Can’t be Edward 7th as he wasn’t king until 5 years later . Is it a King himself or an olde, olde pub ? a school ? or a library ?

  5. Amiguru said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 4:59 pm


    The area you are interested in is not really covered in detail in this series. It designated ‘Area 2′ which was a lower fire risk being mainly residential.


  6. Rod said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

    this is fantastic, many thanks indeed. it’s a great thing to get information like this collated in an easy to find place - so much is known yet so little ‘recorded’
    Thanks and regards,

  7. Rod said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

    every time I do one of these I wonder what slice of wonderful social history you may dredge up which isn’t generally available - as always it doesn’t disappoint
    In appreciation,

  8. Amiguru said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 5:33 pm


    As usual a good and pertinent question, to which I don’t have an immediate answer. I would surmise that it relates to one of the Kings Edward I - IV as they had various dealings with the town. For now, I will put my money on Edward II due to his charter of 4 June 1319 granting to the Freemen of the borough immunity from Minage, Pavage, Pontage, Stallage, Lastage, Hausage, Anchorage, Terrage, Keyage and Passage. q.v. However, no doubt someone will correct me. ;)

    Guest Guessed

  9. DavidE said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

    you need to start taking those memory pills again:-

    DavidE said,
    November 22, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    Surprisingly the mission church of St Barnabas which served the area of Central Market still exists at the corner of King Edward Street and Fotherby Street, although it is now a warehouse.

    Rod said,
    November 23, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    now that’s something worth knowing, many thanks indeed

  10. DavidE said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

    your map shows the original ‘tin church’ built in 1874 which was replaced around the turn of the century by the brick building still standing, which occupies a slightly different location on the actual corner.


  11. v said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 8:26 pm


    Regarding King Edward Street; I have done a very quick scan of the online census and King Edward Street seems to appear in and after the 1871 census. It seems an unusual choice of street name unless as you say it is eponymously Edward 11, which makes sense.

  12. Karen said,

    January 6, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

    King Edward Street is where Josphine Gibney was born on August, 31st 1924, in 8 Ladymans Builing, in her own words:
    “To any local that address spoke volumes as it was the worst dockside slum in the town.”

    I suppose most of the clever readers and commentators of this website know about ‘Josie’ Gibney as she was fondly known. She became a Conservative councillor and a magistrate and as such she was known to be strict with young offenders: ‘ Don’t you dare tell me you had a difficult childhood, you have come to the right address here with me.’ (Or words to that effect.)

    A good report on social history is Gibney’s very interesting, touching, and in parts hard to swallow autobiography ‘Joe McGarrigle’s Daughter’ published in 1977 by The Roundwood Press Limited, Kineton, County of Warwick. I am sure I remember her mentioning the Mission Church.

    I believe it is difficult to find a copy of the book, it is certainly no more for sale in bookshops now. Myself I have a signed copy, would lend you it, but I am too far away ;-)

    I bought mine after I read an article in ‘The Grimsby Evening Telegraph’ about Josephine Gibney and her book early in 1977 titled ‘The Kid from King Edward Street’ when I lived in Grimsby, then wandered the streets she described. When I read passages from the book to my mother-in-law who was born in 1900 I received first hand confirmation that all that was said was true, mother knew some of the people mentioned in the book.

    Josephine Gibney died in February 2013.


  13. Andrew said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 8:05 am

    King Edward as in potato? Being near the new central market, the area may have been all warehouse to supply the market and also as a providor/chandlers for ships docking in alexander dock/riverhead? Apparently the area of burgess street and queen street had many houses of ill repute to service men of the maritime trade also seems to have had a turkish bathouse.

  14. Rod said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    I forgot to take the pills :)

  15. Rod said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 8:07 am

    many thanks, very interesting indeed - a nice connection
    Thanks and regards,

  16. Richard Oliver said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 9:22 am

    I think the King Edward potatoes are named after Edward VII (1901-10). Did Edward VI (1547-52) have any connection with Grimsby?

  17. V said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 11:37 am

    Regarding “Common Lodging House ”

    I had a look through the newspaper archive and “common lodging house” appears fairly frequently in relation to Grimsby. It is always, however, preceded by “a ” being the indefinite article and not “the”. So it would appear that there were several “generic” Common Lodging Houses in Grimsby. The reports though are usually of burglars residing there or crime- related incidents so maybe they were fairly insalubrious!

  18. Rod said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

    there’s an Edward VI school I believe, that’s the only thing which come to my mind

  19. Rod said,

    January 7, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

    thank you, always appreciated

  20. History Hunter said,

    January 8, 2014 @ 12:53 am

    Maybe if we look only a matter of several metres either way from King Edward Street, we may be able to get some sort of era of said King Edward, when one side we have Victoria Street, and the other side, albeit a shortened road, Prince Albert Gardens.

  21. Amiguru said,

    January 8, 2014 @ 4:25 pm


    I see what you are hinting at but I’m afraid that the street was definitely not named after Edward VII, either as king nor as a princely heir apparent, the reason being that there is a map in Grimsby Library entitled “Plan of the Town and Harbour of Great Grimsby in the County of Lincoln” which was surveyed by Hollingsworth in 1801.
    The plan shows “King Edward Street” in situ, albeit as a shortened version, running from Grime St. to just beyond Market St., (running off Central Market). ‘King Edward VII - to be’, was not born until 1841.

    Further, there is also the MS&LR plan entitled “Plan of the Town and Port of Great Grimsby” surveyed by James Meadows Rendall and John Fowler, the Docks and the MS&LR engineers respectively, and dated 1848, which shows the road fully extended from Cleethorpe Rd. to Grime St. and renamed “King Street North - King Street South“.

    More evidence to come later but the above surely pushes it back to being named after King Edward VI (Henry VIII’s son), at the very latest.


  22. Amiguru said,

    January 9, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    Prior to the Public Health Act of 1848; even Grimsby’s turnpike road, know at that time as ‘Loft Street‘, (after Major General Loft, M.P. For the town), soon to be re-named ‘Victoria Street‘ to honour The Queen’s visit in 1854; had open ditches at the roadside, which were in fact used as sewers with roadside properties having footbridges over them for access and egress! Many a resident, having had a well-oiled night out, on returning home on these unlit streets had reason to protest to the mayor and aldermen the next day…

    Anderson Bates in his excellent and trust-worthy tome, ‘A Gossip About Old Grimsby‘ informs us further that:

    …. Burgess St. And King Edward Street were simply set out, with drains cut on either side to separate the footpaths from the carriage road, and left for grass to grow on them. In winter they were almost impassable, the ruts being so deep that carts with difficulty could pass along. The crossings, [i.e. junctions with intersecting side streets], had stepping-stones placed on them for the convenience of foot passengers…….Such houses as were built on these two streets were poor and scattered, the vacant spaces being occupied as gardens.


  23. Rod said,

    January 9, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

    that really gives us a flavour of the place, fantastic find, many thanks indeed

  24. Peter Mullins said,

    March 4, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

    The Order of Service for the final service at St Barnabas’ in 1954 has the following introduction.

    In 1874, the East Marsh was very different from what it is to-day. The ‘New Market’ was a real shopping centre with the main Post Office and some of the chief shops in the town; it was also a desirable residential area, close to the docks, for the merchants and others. Victoria Street was ‘Main Street’; Burgess Street ‘Middle Street’; and King Edward Street, ‘Back Street’ – and they lived up to their reputations! The East Marsh was the earliest of the additions to the old town round the Haven and the Parish Church. In one decade, Grimsby’s population doubled: no wonder the area rapidly become overcrowded and insanitary. That was the situation which faced Peter Young, who had been curate of the famous John Keble, when he came to work in the district in 1867. There were numerous chapels and missions, but Young, at first in the schoolroom and then in the old Iron Church, laid his foundations well. His selfless devotion in the small-pox epidemic of 1871 is still recalled.

    With the years, St Barnabas’ became established as a true part of its district. In 1900, Bishop King dedicated the new church. Those who remember the mounted police in the lock-out of 1901; the soup kitchens and the extreme poverty of some of the people; the widespread drunkenness and immorality; may well choose to doubt the phrase ‘the good old days’. The first world war saw the loss of 54 of the men of St Barnabas’, but she was fortunate to have the leadership of one of her most-loved priests – ‘Father John’ Edington. The years between the wars were years of depression for Grimsby and in those times the association between the church and the church Army, who occupied the New Market schools, became increasingly valuable. In the 30s, a beginning was made to the clearance of the worst of the slums, but this was halted by the outbreak of war in 1939. The process of demolition was continued by bombs.

    In 1954, the East Marsh presents a new face. At present a scene of desolation, it is in transition from a residential to an industrial area and with the compulsory removal of its people, the need for the Church has gone. Yet the tradition begun by Peter Young still lives, and we pray that the inspiration which made this church may, by the grace of God, live on in its members in their new surroundings.

  25. Rod said,

    March 5, 2014 @ 8:13 am

    thanks for this, really appreciated.

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