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Victoria Mill in Grimsby ~ The History & Photograph

Victoria Flour Mill in Grimsby, Lincolnshire
A look the the history behind these imposing buildings which still dominate the skyline of central Grimsby Town today and . . .
For once a photograph in the history section which I like !

If you’ve been to the central area of Grimsby then you’ve surely seen two things, The Dock Tower and the Victoria Mills by the river and retail park.
The mill was built in 1889 and 1906, the architect being a Hull man Sir W.A. Gelder and Pevsner describes them as being of ‘the Flemish style’

The mill was built and owned by the Marshall family, wealthy farmers and landowners, and the building seen today, although much is lost, is in fact a replacement.
The original steam-driven Victorian mill was destroyed by a fire in 1888.
They used to have a site further up on the Haven, known as Haven Mill but the opening of Alexandra Dock meant that even bigger ships could now be loaded with sacks of flour direct from the mill so they moved to this dominant site opposite Freeport Wharf and near the Old Grimsby Market.


Marshall's Victorian  Flour Mills in Grimsby

Victoria Flour Mill in Grimsby
See notes at end re photograph

These were the ‘hay days’ for the Marshall family and their flour production and they made flour whilst the sun shone, it didn’t last though, sadly nothing ever does.
In 1909 it was sold to Spillers who ran it for a number of years until it was no longer profitable.
I believe it was still in action in the 1950s, I’d like to establish and end date if possible.

The chimney and clock tower were demolished and the building used by Nickerson’s for a while.

Then came the 1990s and all the grand ideas that decade had. In London, Docklands living was now the thing, people who earned a lot of money now wanted to live in parts of London they’d dare not even drive through a couple of years previously.
If it was good enough for Londinium then it was good enough for Grimsby - plans were in to develop the site into ‘Luxury Apartments’ on the Dockside and also a Marina which would be the envy of all - all that was missing was a Formula One track :roll:

Flats were indeed ‘built’ though I seem to recall it wasn’t a great success initially, there was no tradition of living in flats in the area. Whilst some sold, some did not and ended up being used by the council for welfare housing . . .
That was then and this is now however, I’ve no idea what happens there now but at the time of writing you can buy a 1 bed flat in there for about £60,000 or rent for for about £500 a month.

There was also a pub / club on the first level, promoted as a music club but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it . . .

I hope we can collate some more information on the Victoria Flour Mills in Grimsby, if you can add anything or have any related comments then please do feel free.
All the best
Rod

Notes on photograph:
This is a rare shot for me. I took this as as photograph pure and simple - rather than simply having to photographically record a site of building for an article, makes a nice change to have a photogenic scene.
The photograph was taken using My New Camera and was entirely inspired by two tremendous local artists who have rendered similar scenes - the late Herbert Rollett and the very much alive and well Dale Mackie.
My thanks go to Dale and Herbert for the inspiration

24 Comments »

  1. kaz said,

    December 9, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    Great article Rod
    I can’t believe they turned it into apatments! how sad :(
    It’s such a shame!
    The street i’m living in has just had an apatment block built, there’s another one on the go & plans to build two more!!! Yikes!!!
    I think a move is in the near future!!!!

  2. Rod said,

    December 9, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    Kaz,
    it actually has a lot of potential, the whole area could be great
    Regards,
    Rod

  3. Pete.C said,

    December 10, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    Rod,

    I worked on the development in the 90s when it was turned into flats, the quality of the materials used in the initial construction was 1st class, typical of the victorians. The walls of the larger building are at least three feet thick, maybe more, solid brick.
    The floors of the smaller building were covered with inch thick Canadian maple. I remember them stripping out the flour mill silos, the construction consisted of 6×2 timbers nailed together to form squares to contain the grain. These went all the way to the roof of the building, when the last pieces where pulled out, hundreds of rats ran out of the building into the river, they had been living on the tons of old grain still in the silos. Plans were drawn up to develop the larger building but put on hold because of the high cost. I think at least one builder was bankrupted.

  4. Rod said,

    December 10, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Pete,
    this is wonderful first-hand history, I love this kind of information and really appreciate the comment.
    It’s important we preserve the likes of what you know, this is the history that gets lost
    Best
    Rod

  5. Dave said,

    December 10, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

    Hi Rod.
    Great article on the old flour mill, what a fine old building it still is and should be put to good use today.
    Am I right in thinking the old Palace theatre was somewherw there too, I remember going there to see live theatre shows a a small boy, must be 60 years ago, !!! I also remember a pub on the corner called ” the Palace Boffet ” ? it all seems so long ago but still fond memories.

  6. Little Brother said,

    December 11, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    Dave,
    I used to play pool matches at the Palace Buffet. Good sarnies as I recall :)

  7. Rod said,

    December 11, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    Dave,
    the Palace Buffet is within my memory span although the theatre pre-dates me :)
    I remember them knocking buildings down next to the pub, they tiles from one of the walls are still there today!
    Best
    Rod

  8. option911 said,

    December 12, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Rod, sorry not posted for a while but this time you really hit the sweet spot. Victoria mill, or Marshall’s Mill as we know it was owned by my GGGgrandfather William Marshall and sons Charles, Andrew, John, William & Thomas. William started as a landowner and mill owner in lincolnshire and reports of him walking from Scartho to Gainsborough, Snitterby and Cockerington have been recorded. Following some shrewd business ventures and loans, they moved from post mills, to Steam roller mills;owning all the buildings alongside the River Haven as well as Victoria Mill 1&2. This type of mill was one of only two in existance in England at this time, using a Hungarian system it was able to refine flour a lot cleaner and finer than before; so much so, they were sole suppliers to HM Queen Victoria. The family kept the mill for 3 generations although diversity of interest was creaping in. Marshall,Knott & Barker timber yards on the site of Sainsbury’s and the Marshall steam line fishing company being two of them. One of the Brothers went on to become Prussian vice Concule in Grimsby and at least 2 of their sons went into the clergy, with one of them at Holton Le Clay and one at Brigsley. A huge Bible, all gold decorated still exists at Holton le Clay, presented by the family. Another diversion was one Br otherOwned and ran race horses, winning Grand Prix de Paris and Goodwood cup also had horses placed in the St Ledger and 1899 Derby. Alas by 1910, the empire had started to crumble. Technology had moved on past steam, the family refusing to see the writing on the wall; they were declared insolvent shortly after.
    At one time, many of the largest houses in the Town were owned by the Marshall Family, amongst them, spring villa in Bargate, Clayton Mannor and Yarborough Terrace. the family are burried in St Giles Scartho under a large obilisk granite headstone.
    Lots more information, photographs etc available on Family, mill etc.

  9. Rod said,

    December 12, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    Option,
    what a coincidence and what a great comment.
    It’s such a small world but great when things like this coincide
    All the best
    Rod

  10. Faing said,

    December 16, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    Was the pub called The Warehouse?

  11. Rod said,

    December 16, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Faing,
    I think it may well have been, that chimes with me . . .
    Best
    Rod

  12. Rod said,

    December 19, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    The Mill under construction, wonderful shot kindly sent in by Option911
    Many thanks indeed

    blah

  13. Christina said,

    March 1, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

    Hello

    Check out Allen Smith author,producer, and publisher to Herbert Rollet 1872 - 1932 He’s a Cleethorpes artist now living in Lincoln. His work is remarkable; excellently researched. First published in 2005. The front cover to his book is the Victoria Mill painting by Rollet. Oil on canva, 102 x 76cm. I think the origina paintingl maybe in the Welhome Gallery collection.

    I have been told that the Victoria Mills was used in the Batman movie through a local man who was part of the film crew; you’d have to research more on that one.

    How much talent do we have coming out of this town which remains untapped? Why don’t you people all get together for a one of exhibition of art in the park or something of the likes.

  14. Rod said,

    March 2, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    Christina,
    thanks for the information, really appreciated and a warm welcome to the site
    Kind regards,
    Rod

  15. John S said,

    January 24, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

    Hi

    I visited Spillers Mill in Grimsby in August 1961, to view the triple expansion steam engine that once provided the power. It dated from 1905 and was named “Andrew”. I have a photo if you’re interested.

  16. Rod said,

    January 24, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

    John,
    thanks for the information, much appreciated and welcome to the site
    Regards,
    Rod

  17. MR TERRY JACKSON said,

    May 31, 2014 @ 8:29 am

    Hi Rod,
    My name is Terry Jackson and I used to own the Mill and the pub was called The Warehouse.
    If you would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Regards
    Terry

  18. Rod said,

    May 31, 2014 @ 8:33 am

    Hi Terry,
    thanks for the comment and welcome to the site, please do leave further comment especially on the Warehouse as so little is on record about it
    Regards,
    Rod

  19. Martin said,

    July 23, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

    Six cast iron columns were obtained by Great Grimsby Borough Council following their unauthorised removal from the silo building at Victoria Mills. The columns were located on the ground floor and supported the tall timber silos. Four are now inverted and carry the entrance signs to the Great Grimsby Business Park on Laforey Road.

  20. Rod said,

    July 24, 2014 @ 7:55 am

    Martin,
    thanks for the information, really appreciated and a warm welcome to the site
    Kind regards,
    Rod

  21. Janet said,

    November 21, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

    My father worked at the mill from when it was Marshalls cica 1920, until it closed circa 1964. He was transferred to the Hull branch where he became transport manager. His friend Mr Ernest Moody who worked with him, chose to go to the Gainsborough branch. Ernest’s son David now lives in Lincoln. I have various items relating to Spillers and think it’s a shame that we have no proper museum to which I can donate them.

  22. Paul said,

    November 21, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

    Wow! Some really interesting local history here! I especially enjoyed reading the contribution from ‘option911′ - I have a distant family link to William Marshall.
    I can remember visiting the Mill in the very late 70s or the early 80s when Nickersons were bagging up grass seed on beautiful wooden floors.

  23. Dave Farey said,

    March 14, 2016 @ 7:20 pm

    I worked in the screenside in the mill for sometime it was noisy . Excessive hours 12hrs were nothing some people worked 30hours or more when people went sick to cover the shifts ,because the mill had to keep running.It is a shame the machines have all gone because they were the main interest in the mill. it was 1968 that i worked there and we still had to do a fire watch over the weekends.Spillers mill was the place where you could earn money so i never complained but i wonder if the hours worked would be legal in todays world

  24. bonnie r. said,

    September 10, 2016 @ 4:20 am

    Rod, Stunning photo, wonderful history thread….
    yrs., bonnie r. :)

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