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Last updated : 09 November 2009 By Peter Muxlow

Grimsby (or Great Grimsby as it is sometimes comically referred to) is a seaport on the Humber Estuary in North East Lincolnshire.

According to legend, Grimsby was first founded by the aptly named Grim, a Danish fisherman. 'By' means 'village' in Old Norse and 'city' or 'town' in the modern Danish language. The town was previously titled "Great Grimsby" to distinguish it from Little Grimsby (which is what the football team are often referred to as), a village, near Louth. People from Grimsby are called Grimbarians, or Codheads.

The town itself has a population of around 80,000, with 100,000 claiming benefits. It is physically linked to the adjoining town of Cleethorpes, which is where Grimsby Town play their home games.. Apparently 22 January is Great Grimsby Day, and is usually the date of the official most depressing day of the year courtesy of the Sun newspaper. This is no coincidence.

During World War II, Grimsby's status as a port made it a focus of the German Luftwaffe, who managed to avoid bombing the dock tower. The tower itself is modeled on a similar structure in the magnificent Italian City of Siena. However the City of Siena is a masterclass of Tuscan renaissance art and class. Grimsby isn’t. In fact the Germans did use the Dock Tower as a landmark and therefore refused to bomb it. In actual fact the British Government discussed its demolition to prevent its use as a navigational aid, but realised by knocking it down they’d do £100,000 of improvements to the area.

It was later revealed that had the German invasion been successful Grimsby would have been one of the first landing points in the north of England due to the combination of its location and its infrastructure. This was probably one reason why the town suffered significantly less bombing raids than neighboring fishing port Hull. Hull however has undergone major development while Grimsby still looks like a recent bombing campaign has been undertaken.

Grimsby is linked with the sea fishing industry, which once gave the town much of its wealth. At its peak in the 1950s, it was the largest and busiest fishing port in the whole world. However as a result of the Cod Wars (!) with Iceland the industry has been in decline for many years. It is still home to the largest fish market in the UK but most of what is sold is now brought overland from other ports.

Today, Grimsby is home to around 500 food-related companies making it one of the largest concentrations of food manufacturing, research, storage and distribution in Europe. That’s why it has been self proclaimed as “Europe's Food Town” for the last 15 years.