Old Grimsby

Back in medieval times Grimsby was an important port but when the port began to silt up it lost its raison d’etre and slowly began to lose its population. By 1790 the people who lived there numbered something between 900 and 1500 souls, of which 300 hundred were Freemen, who held all the power. It still was able to elect 2 members of parliament, this at the time when Manchester, a thriving city had none. Grimsby had become a rotten borough.
Situated on a corner of the Lincolnshire coast with the wide river Humber to the north, it was at the end of the line. A toll road was opened around 1765 which gave better access to its rural hinterland but in 1766 John Wesley visited the town recalling that it had once been one of the largest town in Britain but was now no more than a middling village. A village where starvation was the biggest killer.However, there were also signs of optimism; a new town hall had been built in 1780 and new docks were being planned.

This is the setting of my new novel which begins in 1798. I have no title as yet and would welcome suggestions. The story is about a boy plucked from poverty and illiteracy to live a life where stern religious principles guide him but then threaten to destroy his family. The backdrop is Grimsby, how a starving village in 1780 became the largest fishing port in the world one hundred years later.

About Rosemary Noble

Writer, author, amateur historian and traveller
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3 Responses to Old Grimsby

  1. indigomember says:

    You’ve intrigued me and I want to read your story. It made me wonder what sparked off your desire to write this young boy’s story. I see from your personal description that you are an ‘amateur historian’…whenever you visit somewhere, are you always intrigued by social history? Have you even written anything about the area where you are living at the moment? I’d love to help with a title but I would need to read some of your book first! Any chance of you posting a couple of passages that you have written so far? The word ‘rotten’ leapt out at me in your description…and the phrase “rotten to the core” came to me. However, that may or may not have absolutely anything to do with your story…


  2. indigomember says:

    I am Angela, by the way (indigomember)


  3. Rosemary N says:

    Yes, I am always intrigued by social history. Had my A levels been good enough I wanted to study history at uni’ but now I can indulge my interests as the mood takes me. I first wanted to write this particular story from the point of view of the way railways changed the lives of women. I have read lots of books on the history of railways but they scarcely mention women. However, my protagonist is male and based on my 3 x great grandfather, who lived to see Grimsby change from a poor village to a busy, wealthy town, all because of railways. At the time the story opens Grimsby is certainly rotten to the core but I don’t think it can be said of later on. But thanks for the suggestion.


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