Chapter 1


‘The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.’

(Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon)[1]

The phrase ‘boom town’ inspires images of grandeur, wealth, and prosperity, thrust upon an area in a short space of time. The reality, however, is rather less glamorous. Grimsby, Consett and Barrow in Furness are indeed conurbations that experienced substantial growths, nevertheless their brutal development, forged lasting scars, which are still evident today. Until the railway snaked its way towards these peripheral territories, their population was small and sedentary. The town’s modern history is inherently linked to this period of rapid expansion, which coincided with a growth in fishing, smelting, and shipbuilding, thus helping to create the houses and culture in which our communities reside. Hence as we fast forward to the modern day, the towns’ identities have been moulded through adversity, helping to create a complex situation before the decline took place.

In the 1850s our three towns were insignificant, with small and ‘unnoteworthy’ populations.[2] Nevertheless the arrival of the railway transformed the fortunes of their small industries. Simply put, the railway was the umbilical cord that fed labour, skills, and huge numbers of people into the metropolis, whilst exporting the products of these new industrial towns. The ‘booms’ that took place are quite staggering. In Consett, for instance, the town’s population grew from just 195 to 2,777 in the space of ten years. Similarly, Grimsby’s population more than doubled over the same period of 1841-1851. Although Barrow’s expansion occurred at a later decade, it is equally manifest, as it put a significant stress upon housing in the area as the population multiplied between 1871 and 1881(see figure 1).


Table 1.1, 19th Century Population Growths:

Grimsby[3] Consett[4] Barrow[5]
1821 3,064
1831 4,048
1841 3,700* 1841 195
1851 8,860 1851 2,777
1861 11,067 1861 4,953
1871 18,911
1881 42,259

In Grimsby, advertisement campaigns were launched to lure fisherman North, particularly from Brixham and Barking. [6] The effects were astounding. Before 1830 there was only one fishing vessel permanently based in Grimsby. Yet, within forty years, it was the biggest port in the country, with 3,400 men employed as fishermen and another 1,625 who worked in ancillary occupations.[7] Gordon Green, a Grimbarian who entered the fishing industry in the 1950s, researched the growth of Grimsby’s major employer and focussed heavily on the sheer volume of workers that flocked to the town:

Well it’s like the rest of these places. All of the industries relied upon cheap labour, particularly things like the cotton mills in Lancashire, the wool mills of Yorkshire, the coal mine.  It was all cheap labour but a similar thing applied in Grimsby, that Grimsby boomed when the railways came and there was a big demand for labour. They scoured the country for labour, cheap labour, to go on these fishing boats. [8]

Hence the culmination of the advertising campaign, a new dock and the railway, led to a monumental and rapid population growth for Grimsby. Similarly, Barrow-in -Furness, in the space of fifty years, was completely transformed from a small fishing village to a major industrial town.  One historian, perhaps surprisingly, stressed that: ‘No one deemed Barrow of sufficient importance to give it a passing notice in history.’[9] Nevertheless the railway that starts Barrow’s modern history was the death of Ulverston’s, which had been a ship building town throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.[10] With its new port, iron mines and steel making facilities, Barrow grew at an unbelievable rate; after all it was a growth in population unequalled by any other town in the kingdom in the same space of time (1871-81).[11] Surprisingly, therefore, the railway, which was originally introduced to move goods for the iron and steel works, brought huge numbers of workers into the town.[12]

An equally sudden growth was experienced by Consett, which, after 1840 and the establishment of the Iron works, grew substantially. Sid Chaplin, a local author described the works as the ‘pillar of fire on the moorlands’. This poignant and romanticised vision of the forge is noteworthy as it emphasises the problems faced by the town when the fire went out. From the outset, Consett’s future was linked to the steelworks.[13]  As early as 1949, the North East development Area outline plan noted that if the coal supplies were to run out in Consett, it would pose serious problems. The town was, of course, chosen and determined by its geographical position in 1840. As such the study says that the area would face a ‘very serious position.’ The areas would almost certainly have remained as agricultural lands if it wasn’t for Consett steelworks.[14] Uniquely, however, Consett’s housing was provided by the company, again helping to attract the thousands of workers who came.[15] This paternalist model of industrial expansion did, to an extent, help to prevent the terrible overcrowding which took hold in Grimsby and Barrow. Consequently, throughout Consett it was known that the company had a stake in every area of the town. One interviewee remarked that: ‘there is a saying up here: “What Consett Iron company didn’t own, Priestman owned” – Priestman was the managing director of Consett Iron Company.’[16]

Image 1.2: An aerial view of Barrow circa 1920: [17]

In Barrow, for example, the sheer volume of people placed enormous stress upon the housing infrastructures. Following frequent outbreaks of smallpox and dysentery, the shanty town, where often families of eighteen would sleep in one hut, the old town was replaced with the building of the new brick houses apparent today. These were the brainchild of James Ramsden (1822-96). (see image 1.2). Similarly, in Grimsby, the number of houses had almost doubled in a few years, owing to the sheer numbers of immigrants entering the town. [18] For example, in 1848 there were 1554 houses, 600 of which had been built since 1844.[19] To this day many of these Victorian dwellings remain, as Gordon Green stresses:

Well… all the way from Victor Street to Cleethorpes, all these rows of houses. Terrace houses by the thousand and all were occupied by people involved in the fishing industry. Particularly down the other side of Park Street there was an area: Stanage Street, Wellington Street, and those sort-of places, where the fisherman sort of gelled. It was a sort of ghetto and the people who worked on these fishing boats all lived in the same area. They knew each other and they intermarried and their families knew each other and from that you got strength. [20]

Such were the elements that created Grimsby’s fishing industry: capital, enterprise and labour. By the 1880s a new social pyramid had been created consisting of owners, skippers, fishermen, and apprentices. [21] Yet there were clear divisions within the fishing community, with skippers, owners and investors tending to move to comfortable houses on the outskirts of town. In contrast, the fishermen and apprentices clustered around the docks. There, in the short periods ashore, the workers found what pleasure they could in the ‘bars and bawdy houses’, often to the despair of fellow Grimbarians, who lamented their ‘lack of thrift and morals’.  [22] Thus, Grimsby was not a cosy, twee, village writ large.

Our three towns’ industries, in common with coal or cotton, were the product of hard faced Victorian capitalism.[23] The chocolate box history of Victorian England could not be further from the truth of a working family’s life. The overcrowding led to horrendous disease; lawlessness was rife and burdensome, whilst drinking, gambling and poverty were endemic.[24] But the significance for this project does not lie in the conditions of the Victorian society but in three points that the towns shared from this period of growth. Consequently, the huge expansion of the towns did not continue, although the towns had not reached their zeniths, in terms of populations, the size of the towns remained relatively constant. This has an important consequence. Namely, that our three towns were somewhat sedentary; people born in the area would stay in the area. Harry Knowles, the chief executive of Furness enterprise, who has worked to rebuild Barrow following the redundancies at the start of the 1990s argued that:

I think in Barrow you  – if you are using the word community to describe people who have had a fairly static and stable population for many years who were born, lived and you know, whose parents were born and lived in the area, yes. I mean Barrow was a very stable community there wasn’t a great deal of inflow and outflow, certainly not within recent decades. It may have been during the second world war etcetera when I think the working – the people working in the shipyards was about 30,000, but Barrow has been a very stable population. The great thing you find about Barrow is – and this is where you have to be so careful who you’re talking to – is  that many of the people in this area you know, were born in the area, went to school with people in the area and have worked In the area. So there’s a very, very static situation; it’s not a mobile population, it’s a very static population. And you find that there still is a huge sort of family network in the area. And you still get the expression of people who come to the area, like me were referred to as ‘offcomers’, you know, people who are from out with the area. So I mean it had its strengths and its weaknesses. It can cause a somewhat insular and inward looking attitude; on the other hand it’s a source of great community strength in adversity. [25]

Hence the definition of what Barrow was, had become intrinsically linked to those who inhabited it, and for those people the ship yard was synonymous with Barrow.  David Clarke, a fitter in Barrow echoes these feelings:

Whole families married families that were within the shipyard culture. Err, and you know you get chatting to somebody that was sweeping up in the compartment in the submarine you were working in and it’d turn out his parents were both cleaners and his grandparents were cleaners and they’d been cleaners, almost like bred to be cleaners.[26]

Thus the length of time that the industries had existed meant they were deeply woven into the town’s identity. For instance, when I posed David Clarke the question of how he found work he smiled and replied: ‘Well it was just straight from school … everybody went to the shipyard’. [27] It was a similar story in Consett, where Alex Watson, a local councillor remembers two options as a boy: one ‘either went down the mines or you worked at the steelworks … they were the two options in effect and the whole town centred around the steelworks in particular, although the mines fed into it.’[28] Consett’s past was intrinsically linked to Steel and Iron making – even before nationalisation it had a long history, which people were aware of owing to the passing of stories from fathers, grandfathers and friends. The town was simply synonymous with Steel.[29] For example, just ten per cent of people had stayed at school beyond the national minimum leaving age. [30]Most simply saw their future in the works.

Similarly in Grimsby, Gordon Green argued that ‘before the first and Second World War people would have simply gone into the fishing industry ‘cos it was the only or, main job in the area.’[31] For Eddie Collins this continued into the 1960s, as where he used to live, ‘close to the docks … fishing was the only thing, fishing and the docks.[32] Rather romantically Eddie’s ‘choice’ to go aboard a ship happened in a flash:

A hot summer’s night, because we used to live in Subich Lane at the time. I was 14 or 15, then we went for a walk down to the beach you know middle of the night because we couldn’t sleep, me mother and father and myself and there were two or three neighbours out because they couldn’t sleep. And then one of them said to me “what are you going to do when you leave school?” and I just see the… I think it was the Wolverhampton Wanderers, coming in- you could see them coming into the docks entrance. And I looked at that and it was just taking its anchor up and then edging up to the docks. I said “I’m going aboard one of them, I’m off to sea” … and that’s how it ended up.[33]

The importance of these stories is vast. It helps to highlight the culture in which the townsfolk grew up. To them, the industries were the places to be employed. People tended to look no further than where their families had spent, and often, enjoyed their employment. When presented with the question: how did you find work, many simply looked bemused, as though the response was obvious. This strongly suggests therefore that the identity of the town itself was indeed perceived as synonymous with the industry, owing to the long history, which families had endured together.

Moreover often, within the interviews, workers would stress the communal aspects outside of the workplace. The public house, for example, was frequently mentioned. In a Made of Steel interview one man commented how, before the decline, he ‘thought the common life was a hell of a lot better than what it is now, like. Because you can go places now where you don’t know anybody, man! You do not know anybody!’[34] For this man, the pubs, which the group agree that there were forty three of, were the locus for their meetings.[35] As such, the public house was, as its name purports, an open house where people could meet, and this appears to have had immense symbolic value. Social drinking, as Seebohm Rowntree wrote, allows a person to belong:  ‘unlike being in the cinema, where a ‘man is individual and passive, in the pub he is part of a group, and active.’ [36] A culture of drinking, nevertheless, was not confined to Consett. In Barrow, similarly, David Clarke, remembered the ‘mass exodus’ at a lunch time of the ship builders into the pub.[37] Rather worryingly David remembers how:

Your average bloke used to chuck four pints down in the lunch hour and then go back to work, and you get the real hardened drinkers that’d manage to squeeze six in, in the hour. Yeah, and you just wonder how anything got done in the afternoon! Or safely. But erm no, so there was on Barrow island itself where the ship building was based, there must have been 6 or 8 pubs, and they’d all be chocka between 12 and 1.[38]

Equally, for Grimsby the pubs seem to have been important in distilling the essence of the town, and the fishing community. Mike Waterson’s song the ‘Three day Millionaire’ encapsulates many of these ideas; here is a poignant section which mentions the fisherman’s drinking habits:

‘I Sh’ll get meself a suit made,
To show I’m in the fishing trade,
I’ll put me brothel-creepers on,
And swagger when I can,
All me pots are pint-sized,
Watch me getting paralysed,
To show the young buggers who’s a man’[39]

Nevertheless, even though the fisherman’s identity was intrinsically linked to a pub culture, this was not, however, in line with how many other Grimbarians hoped the town would be. In many respects the fishermen were perceived to be outside of the ‘norms’ of society, as they would go away on dangerous fishing trips leaving their families behind. Some saw this as irresponsible and selfish.[40] In particular the drinking habits of the fishermen were scrutinised by the media who would scathingly report that trawlermen were drunk and disorderly in the town.[41]

In spite of this it is important to note that for Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher, the concept of a community is intrinsically linked to a common heritage, and a sense of belonging to a specific time and place.[42] For Heidegger, the most important ideas relating to belonging within a community are those linked to one’s social environment.[43] ‘These mental and emotional constructs form the glue of community life, providing the matrix for neighbourhood identity and interaction.’[44] Thus, for the workers in each town, the public houses and working men’s clubs seemed to provide a locus for their meetings.

Furthermore, many workers stressed how the environment and the landscape also provided opportunities for a ‘community’. In a Made of Steel interview, for instance, a group of former steelworkers in Consett, happily remembered the role that sport played in their lives:

Ah but that’s where you got your entertainment from, there, in them days, or used to say, ‘Somebody’s getting two teams up. Do you wanna play for them or do you wanna for us?’ And it, either cricket or football or owt like that, couple of coats down and that was it, but you don’t get that now. It’s all gone.

-was about fifteen aside, all the kids were playing, and then, a Sunday afternoon, and the club shuts about two o’clock. Didn’t go home for their dinner, they’d come down to play. They’d pull their shoes on, dapper suits, ‘You go on that side’, we would tell them where they had to play in the running. Come home bloody grass stains up their knees and everything, they did! Fifteen aside. [45]

Although this interview is clearly laden with nostalgia, it does give us an indication of the memories of the communities that people saw themselves  part of.  Another aspect, which was repeatedly mentioned, was how everyone knew everyone. The communities appeared smaller and more closely knit. Here, Jan Gouraly remembers her childhood in Consett:

Neighbours were neighbours and you could leave your door open and nip to the shops or, you know… But now you’ve got to keep your door locked even when you’re in the house because you’re frightened somebody will come in. The only time our door was locked was… well, even when you went to bed in the night, you shut it but you didn’t lock it. We only locked it when we went on holiday. I have happy memories of it because everybody was neighbourly and everybody pulled together, and were more friendly.[46]

These stories are ubiquitous across the three towns. People, whether romanticising the past or not, stress the communal spirit of the towns, in contrast to the more individualistic nature of modern society. Moreover, these memories have fused with a pride about the achievements of the town. In Grimsby, for instance, Fish ‘n’ Ships, a book that explores Grimsby’s fishing history, swells with pride as it announces that: ‘the town was universally known as the ‘klondyke of the East’, and was arguably the largest port in the world. It boasted the most ships, the biggest catches, the largest market and, simply put, the best fishermen in the world.’ *[47] Equally, John Foster, a fisherman who was interviewed was delighted to be part of Grimsby’s history:

Close on a 1,000 men landing every day. All the town more or less lived by fishing. And it was a boom town, it really was. You came into a port, and your boat had a job to find a berth, anyhow, there were that many ships. Anywhere from ten to twenty deep water ships, fifty to seventy North Sea ships and middle water as well. Lots and lots of firms, and each one had forty, fifty, even eighty, or ninety ships. You could almost walk right across the dock from ship to ship sometimes.’[48]

Moreover, the perception of what Grimsby was, became a national phenomenon. For example, Phyliss Foster thought that ‘Grimsby meant fish, no matter who you met or where you went. Grimsby, they knew, was the fishing port and had the fishermen. Anyone in Britain, and Europe, and America, somehow seemed to know Grimsby meant fish to the world.’[49]

Nevertheless this pride is evident in both Consett and Barrow as well. The steel produced in Consett was used in the construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Blackpool Tower and the Queen Mary, for instance, and this was mentioned by countless interviewees. [50] In addition, many workers on the Made of Steel interviews argued that the highlight of a day would be producing an impressively moulded piece of metal, which was rewarded by being placed in the ‘leader board’ for the best products. [51] Furthermore, the steel produced at Consett was delivered to Barrow, to help produce many of the ships, something which was recalled with a great sense of achievement.[52] Similarly, workers and their families in Barrow would gather to watch a ship being launched:

Inch by inch it went, at first, to a slow solemn rumbling of props falling away from the under sides, and the silky squealing of a heavy iron mass moving on greased wood. Then fast and further, till the falling props had almost the rhythm of a boy’s stick on a pailing. With this came the clamour uncoiling of great chains, which, with their ends fastened to the ships’ brows and sides lay in heaps by the way nicely ranged so as not to foul. They rattled and jumped, and then grovelled unwilling along after the ship, threw up a cloud of dust in their writhings.

The suspense of the launch was over. A breathless suspense it is in the case of so big and heavy a ship. There was shouting and a hat waving from the crowds on either side of the slipways, on the roofs to the left on the raised platform at the top of the ways, on Walney Island beyond and on Walney bridge away to the right, and even from out at sea, where a shoal of craft – sail, steamer and oars – were lying, anxious to see the warship dip her head. The people stood up in their boats and waved, notwithstanding that their crafts were bobbing about on the waves the Vanguard had sent rolling along. The day had been made a general holiday, nearly all schools had been shut.[53]

Thus, a large number of the memories of the workers were ones of pride at what the town had produced. These memories often took centre stage and were reeled off at speed, yet there were also elements within the town’s past that suggest a more complex history before the decline took place. In Consett, in particular, the red dust produced by the steel working process was an annoyance:

The main thing is the red dust.[…]  The red dust. And the heat when you were going through was just like a furnace, and you had to go through on the bus. It used to be really, really hot. And even when it snowed, the snow was red.[54]

In a private interview with Made of Steel, one interviewee did concede that the closure of the works was definitely the best thing for the environment, whilst wives and daughters were thankful that their washing would remain white, not turn pink.[55] The lack of immediacy in these concerns, however, has clearly dwindled over time. The red dust is, strangely enough, remembered with a glint of happiness.

In Barrow, similarly, many workers were reluctant to sing the praises of life before the decline. For David Clarke, an apprentice at the ship yard, the work was not enjoyable: ‘it wasn’t really my bag, getting cold and wet, and struggling.’[56] Similarly Ken Standing, a trawlerman in Grimsby remembers how difficult the work was:

I mean it was ruddy hard work firing a trawler. About fifteen tonne a day, the big ships, and there’s only two men. I mean the poor devils, from leaving the docks to getting back they worked a minimum of twelve hours – that’s not including meals – and seven days a week, there were no days off. […] They had to have a bridge, the fish room was the most important thing. The crew just used to sleep in the bows and they never […] [The] only… thing they made to safety was to put an old rope up there to hold on to, some of them wouldn’t even let you put the deck lights on. Any petty thing too … they never had any wirelesses for – they’d only tell you what they wanted to.[57]

This bitterness expressed by Ken is widespread amongst fishermen. Although many enjoyed their jobs, and spoke with great pride about the conditions they had endured, the trawler owners were viewed scathingly. Ken went on to describe how the trawler owners refused to provide any of the necessary equipment that the trawlermen needed. For instance, they were asked to bring their own bedding and mattresses onto the boat. Understandably, this angered many fishermen who believed they were being exploited by the trawler owners. Moreover, being a trawlermen was immensely dangerous. For Gordon Green, an accountant who worked at Grimsby docks for his whole life, being a fisherman was a ‘terrible job and the loss of life was colossal. I think it is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country.  More so than mining.’[58] Gordon went on to explain how:

One of the biggest tragedies of the sea was death, where people went to the sea and then never came back. The only way to overcome that was to lean on your family. Well of course a lot of these people their grandmothers lived next door and they could gel together, which gave them the strength. And, as I say, they had no money so they couldn’t go anywhere, the government weren’t interested, the people who employed them weren’t interested. They relied upon their own initiative.’[59]

Equally Linda Tislon whose father was a fisherman, was keen to emphasise that she did not ‘think people know what the fisherman went through to put fish on the table. If a ship went down, most of the time all hands were lost. If at a coal mine there was an accident, help was on hand, if a ship went down it was on its own.’[60] To the women of the town, the cost of fishing appears to have been a constant worry. Mike Connor, for instance remembers his mother’s reaction to a news story in the Grimsby Telegraph:

She used to take us down Freeman Street, six of us in tow, and on the placard you’d read, “Grimsby Trawler lost”. Her face would turn pale and white and she’d be shaking. She’d buy a newspaper and then she’d feel relief that it was some other bugger’s husband they’d lost. I remember that happening on two or three occasions.[61]

Deaths were commonplace in the fishing industry. John Vincent, a former trawlerman who gives tours for the Fishing heritage centre argued that: ‘this port, Grimsby, has lost over 5,000 fishermen, in its fishing era …. which is too much to pay for fish and chips.’ It is understandable; therefore, that fishermen became superstitious, fearing that this trip might be their last, whilst their families would often utter the fisherman’s prayer:

Dear God, be good to me;

The sea is so wide,

And my boat is so small.[62]

Hence the dangerous nature of the industry makes assessing the impact of the decline difficult, as the relationship between the workers, their families and the industry is complicated by numerous factors. To worsen the situation, many of the trawlermen were blatantly aware of the dangers of fishing but simply saw them as a part of the job description. Eddie Collins, a skipper for many years, described his decision to get a member of his crew to go to bed:

I could see him, yeah I was looking out the window if he’d been on deck a long while to say to him “John!” I said, “go turn in”. And the crew used to say to me “what you sending him to bed for?” I said, “I can see him flagging” “He’s pulling your leg” “no he bloody well isn’t!”[63]

This comment from Eddie is important, firstly because it alludes to the obvious dangers that fishing had, but also the way in which the dangers were just seen as par for the course. One sociologist argued that the deepest bonds within an occupation are forged through industries where workers experience a common threat and work as a team through hardship and danger.[64] Consequently, it could be assumed that the crew had a close relationship, however, this was not always the case. Ken Standing remembers that there was a clear difference in class, between the skippers and the trawlermen:

We was on a ship called the Boston [… ], if we made ten thousand [pounds] on there the… He’d [the skipper] make a double bond, at a guess he’d walk off with thick end of a thousand pounds. Well getting on for a thousand pounds. But compared to sixty… can you see the division?[65]

This division in class, which highlights a level of exploitation, is also noticeable in both Consett and Barrow, but not to the same extent. Similarly, within the towns themselves, the workers at the shipyard and the steelworks were, on the whole, viewed positively by the rest of the town. In contrast Grimbarians could be scathing about fishermen. Ken Standing, for instance, remembers how:

Where I lived with my mam when I was a lad. There was back to back houses, except there was a back yard, there were no taps inside the house, the tap was outside, the toilet and all that, no bathrooms. And terraces down Garden street they were built specifically for fishermen you know, shall we say low quality work men […] But if you got to Grimsby just after the war it was so stereotyped, you could divide the housing into classes, completely different now. I mean […] it’s a well-known fact that some vegetable grower put an advert in the paper – potatoes have failed, fit for fishermen and pigs![66]

As such, the relationships within our towns, before the economic downturns were less than simple. Diasporas of class remain to complicate our investigation. Far from having one distinguishable identity, our three towns have a plethora of different dynamics acting in conjunction.

Thus, this chapter has stressed the similarities of the three towns’ Victorian developments. The implication of these booms is manifest as it established the industry’s importance to the town’s identity from the outset.  The populations in these towns also tended to live in the shadow of these industries, accepting that their families would follow the tradition and enter into the same occupation, signifying, of course, how deeply embedded the industries had become in daily life. In remembering these times, before the decline of the industry, there have been two clear observable patterns. Firstly, the interviewees tended to emphasise how happy their lives were before the decline. In moments of jubilation, many respondents enjoyed sharing their memories of their lives. Particularly noteworthy, were the attitudes towards public houses and sport where the reader tends to sceptically presume that some nostalgia had taken hold. Nevertheless, these opinions of the past are important as they tended to over shadow elements of the hardship. This suggests that people look back fondly on the past, towards the ‘good old days.’ In Grimsby and Consett these reflections are complex. The latter by the presence of troublesome red dust which consumed the environment and the former by the treacherous conditions that fishermen were expected to endure. In essence the towns were established around these three industries, which were about to experience a dramatic change. Unlike many other industrial cities they were vulnerable, owing to their dependence upon one industry. [67] The lives of the workers, before the decline, were not an idyllic montage, yet they were established and engrained. In many ways the reaction to the decline concerns a response to change.

[2] The phrase ‘unnoteworthy populations’ was used by J. Richardson concerning the history of Barrow before industry: J, Richardson, Barrow-In-Furness its History, development, commerce, industry and institutions (J Richarson, London, 1881) introduction

[3] E. Gillet, A History of Grimsby (Hull University Press, Hull, 1970) pp212-219 * The population in Grimsby fell from 1831-1841 owing to an outbreak of smallpox. This is discussed in most detail in A history of Grimsby p212

[4] K. Warren, Consett Iron 1840-1980: A Study in Industrial Location (Oxford University press, Oxford, 1990) p53

[5] J. Wyatt, Cumbria: The Lake district and its County (Robert Hale, London, 2004) p110

[6] J. Goddard, R. Spalding, Fish ‘n’ Ships: The Rise and Fall of Grimsby – The World’s Premier Fishing Port (Swannack Brown, Hull, 1987) p11, These Campaigns were also mentioned by Gordon Green, yet posters or advertisements depicting the ‘happy life at sea’ are hard to come by. The plethora of different stories suggesting an advertising campaign however, does suggest that it did indeed take place.

[7] Ibid. p12

[8] Gordon Green, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  5/04/13, see appendix for transcript

[9] J, Richardson, Barrow-In-Furness its History, development, commerce, industry and institutions (J Richarson, London, 1881) introduction

[10] J. Wyatt, Cumbria: The Lake district and its County (Robert Hale, London, 2004) p39

[11] J, Richardson, Barrow-In-Furness its History, development, commerce, industry and institutions (J Richarson, London, 1881) introduction

[12] J, Richardson, Barrow-In-Furness its History, development, commerce, industry and institutions (J Richarson, London, 1881) p97

[13] J. Holmes, Consett: A Case Study of Education and Unemployment (Further Education Unit , London, 1985) p2

[14] K. Warren, Consett Iron 1840-1980: A Study in Industrial Location (Oxford University press, Oxford, 1990) p4

[15] Ibid. p7

[16] J. Holmes, Consett: A Case Study of Education and Unemployment (Further Education Unit , London, 1985) pp.8-9

[17] W. McDowell, circa 1920, Painting on negative glass plate, depicting an aerial view painting of the shipyards in Barrow-in-Furness, 303mm x380mm, Barrow museum.

[18] Although many of the fishermen came from Brixham and Barking, many also came from ports in East Anglia. Nevertheless, immigration, as we know it today, was widespread with many families coming from the Scandinavian countries, Iceland and Ireland.

[19] E. Gillet, A History of Grimsby (Hull University Press, Hull, 1970) p215

[20] Gordon Green interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  5/04/13, see appendix for transcript

[21] J. Goddard, R. Spalding, Fish ‘n’ Ships: The Rise and Fall of Grimsby – The World’s Premier Fishing Port (Swannack Brown, Hull, 1987)  p17

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] For an apt literary description of Victorian life in an industrial city Dickens is often highly praised, yet Hardy’s harrowing works are equally manifest.

[25] Harry Knowles, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  19/06/13, see appendix for transcript

[26] David Clarke, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  19/01/13, see appendix for transcript

[27] Ibid.

[28] Alex Watson, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 13/02/13, see appendix for transcript. Paul Fail – interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  19/06/13, see appendix for details – echoes these views arguing that ‘you either went to the steelworks or you went to the council to get work’, see

[29] K. Warren, Consett Iron 1840-1980: A Study in Industrial Location (Oxford University press, Oxford, 1990)  p.7

[30] J. Holmes, Consett: A Case Study of Education and Unemployment (Further Education Unit , London, 1985) p.42

[31] Gordon Green, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  5/04/13, see appendix for transcript

[32] Eddie Collins, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 9/07/13 see appendix for transcript

[33] Ibid.

[34] Made of Steel, ‘Better back in the day, Strangers and Public Houses’ available online at: [] accessed 3/04/2013

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] David Clarke, Interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 8/2/13, see appendix for transcript.

[38] Ibid.

[39] M, Waterstone, ‘Three Day Millionaire’ in For Pence and Spicy Ale (Waterstone ltd, London, 1965) available online: [] accessed 13/04/13

[40] Goddard, J, Spalding, R, Fish ‘n’ Ships (Dalesman Books, Lancaster, 1987) p.62

[41] ‘Deckie Learner’ (1965) [TV Documentary – VHS] Grimsby, directed by Michael Grigsby

[42] Ibid. p1341

[43] Ibid. p1342

[44] A, Mayne, S, Lawrence, ‘Ethnographies of Place: a new urban research agenda’ Urban History, 26/3 (1999) p332

[45] Made of Steel, ‘Better back in the day, Strangers and Public Houses’ available at: [] transcript see appendix, accessed 03/04/2013

[46] Jan Gourlay, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 21/06/13, for transcript see appendix.

[47]* In the 1950s:  J. Goddard, R. Spalding, Fish ‘n’ Ships: The Rise and Fall of Grimsby – The World’s Premier Fishing Port (Swannack Brown, Hull, 1987)p29

[48] Ibid.

[49] Ibid. p30

[50] J. Holmes, Consett: A Case Study of Education and Unemployment (Further Education Unit, London, 1985) p7

[51] Made of Steel. 2013. [DVD] Consett: Andrew Hagan, Tom Kelly. mins. 22.45-26.20

[52] L. Johnman, M. Murphy, British Ship Building and the State Since 1918: A Political Economy of Decline (Univeristy of Exeter Press, Exeter, 2002) p172 and Made of Steel. 2013. [DVD] Consett: Andrew Hagan, Tom Kelly.

[53] J, Wyatt, Cumbria the Lake District and its County (Robert Hale, London, 2004)  p112

[54] Jan Gourlay, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 21/06/13, see appendix for transcript.

[55] Made of Steel. 2013. [DVD] Consett: Andrew Hagan, Tom Kelly. mins 36.00-36.35

[56] David Clarke, Interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 8/2/13, see appendix for transcript.

[57] Ken Standing, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 3/6/13, see appendix for full transcript.

[58] Gordon Green, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller,  5/04/13, see appendix for transcript.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Linda Tilson was unwilling to be interviewed about her father’s role in the fishing industry, but did respond to a number of questions about fishing, which she wrote answers to. These can be found in the appendix.

[61] N. Triplow, S. Bramhill, J. Shepherd, The Women They Left Behind (Fathom Press for CPO Media, Hull, 2012) p89

[62] J, Goddard, R, Spalding, Fish ‘n’ Ships: The Rise and Fall of Grimsby – the World’s Premier Fishing Port (Swannack Brown, Hull, 1987) p.54

[63] Eddie Collins, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 9/07/13 see appendix for transcript

[64] Wilmot (1989) in G. Crow, G. Allan, Community Life: An Introduction to Social Relations (Simon and Schuster, Hempstead, 1994) p.20

[65] Ken Standing, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 3/6/13, see appendix for full transcript

[66] Ken Standing, interviewed by Alasdair Fuller, 3/6/13, see appendix for full transcript

[67] S, Parker et. al., The Sociology of Industry, 3rd edition (George Allen and Unwin,  London, 1980) p66


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