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Mentioned Part 19

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 26/03/2001

Home > Features > Mentioned > Mentioned #19


"No disrespect to the likes of Grimsby..."

monday 26th march

Why Grimsby's Great

From The Daily Mail

It was once famous for its fishing fleet and went on to turn itself into the frozen food capital of Europe.

Now Grimsby has reinvented itself again and has been recognised as Britain's boom Town, with more companies making a profit than anywhere else in the country.

A survey, based on the country's biggest 50,000 businesses in 150 towns and cities, found that 88.5 per cent of the Lincolnshire Town's major firms made a profit in the last year.

Grimsby's midas touch stretches to a wider area - North and North East Lincolnshire, once considered a rural backwater, has the second most profitable area, with 85.9 per cent of large companies making money, according to the survey of business information people Dun & Bradstreet.

Grimsby's success is partly down to geography - it has good links to European markets while, because it is in the North, it has less congested roads and is a cheaper place to live than the South.

It has also become a centre for chemicals, oil, fertiliser, shipping and businesses with more than 50,000 tons of cargo handled a year.

Philp Mellor at Dun & Bradstreet said: "Our survey has picked a town with excellent communication and trading links by road, rail, air and sea.

"It has proved to be a magnet for world class chemical and food processing companies, particularly as North East Lincolnshire has one of the lowest rates of staff turnover or days lost through disputes, illness and absenteeism of any region in the UK."

It is the second time Grimsby has topped the table. It came first in 1995, but had dropped to 30th by 1998.

However Grimsby also has the second highest rate of unemployment, and the lowest wages of any region in the Yorkshire and Humberside area.

Business is flourishing but some in the town are benefiting little from the financial prosperity.

Helen Wilson, head of economic development for North East Lincolnshire, said: "This is an example of Grimsby's two speed economy. On the one hand we have large, very successful businesses.

"On the other, we have in Grimsby large areas of social deprivation. The challenge facing our community is to get the wealth generated by the vibrant large business sector into the local community."

Ten tales of wonderful "Winsby"

  • Grimsby is Britain's luckiest lottery town. There have been 11 major wins in the area since the first draw in 1994, earning it the nickname "Winsby". Experts believe the population of 110,000 is two-and-a-half times more likely to land a fortune than the rest of Britain.
  • People who hail from Grimsby are known as Grimbarians.
  • The name Grimsby originates from the days of the Vikings when the town was called Grim - taken from the name of one of it's inhabitants.
  • Some visitors complain about the smell of the town which apparently has more to do with food processing than with fish.
  • Grimsby claims to have the highest concentration of food production and cold storage in Europe. Bird's Eye and Ross Young are two of the food companies located there.
  • Grimsby is home to the Euro-sceptic Labour MP and television broadcaster Austin Mitchell. He once compared Tony Blair's leadership to that of maverick North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.
  • Norman Lamont's mother, Irene, who lived in Grimsby, broke the story of her son's ousting as Chancellor to a trainee reporter on the Grimsby Evening Telegraph in 1993.
  • Sir Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin once wrote a called Grimsby which included the line: "Oh, Oh, Grimsby a thousand delights couldn't match the sweet delights of my Grimsby."
  • Allan Smethurst the postman who sang "Have you got a light boy?" hails from the town.
  • Grimsby has a first division football team, nicknamed The Mariners.

    Spotted by Neil Blackburn.

    From The Financial Times

    Better known for its docks, fishing fleet and chemical plants, Grimsby is also the most profitable place to do business in Britain, according to a study by Dun & Bradstreet, the business information company.

    It says the Humberside port has the highest concentration of successful companies. Grimsby came top out of 150 towns and cities with 88.5 per cent of its largest businesses making a profit.

    The town has a remote, rundown image, making its poll position surprising, but Grimsby has benefited from rapid growth in the food processing industry, the report says. The success of its biggest businesses springs from modern eating habits. The town is home to the humble fish finger, ready-made Chinese meals and frozen gateaux. It is the frozen food capital of Europe.

    Philip Mellor, senior analyst at Dun & Bradstreet, said low rates of staff turnover, few labour disputes and an available workforce made the town a magnet for big businesses seeking low overheads, cheap land and good transport links. Last year, its port became the country's busiest, handling 50m tonnes of cargo. But the town also has the second highest rate of unemployment in Britain and the lowest wages of any area in Yorkshire and Humberside. Textiles have suffered from the high pound and cheap Asian imports. Acordis, formerly Courtaulds, is to close its plant on the Humber in May, after a presence of more than 40 years.

    Helen Wilson, head of economic development for north-east Lincolnshire, said: "This is a two-speed economy. The challenge is to get the wealth generated by the vibrant big business sector into local communities."

    The survey showed towns in the south of England, particularly those dominated by service industries, were more likely to report high levels of profitability.

    Brentwood, Essex, came second, with Bury St Edmunds and Exeter equal third. The only other northern representative in the top 10 was Preston, Lancashire.

    Towns in the north and the Midlands dominated the list of least profitable places to do business.

    Spotted by Andy Lumbard.

    If you see a "mention" mail them to and we'll put them up here.

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