Great Grimsby Day 2023

For those who don’t know, Dataplan Payroll is headquartered in Grimsby. So, although it has teams dotted around the country, the majority of our specialists call this famous fishing town home.

That means today is special for us: it’s Great Grimsby Day.

Yes, that’s right. Our town - so good its MP changed his name to Austin Haddock in solidarity with its trawling traditions - gets its own date on the calendar.

We asked our Dataplan staff to pick some of the things that make this town special. Here’s what they chose.


There’s no missing this one… It was by far the most mentioned by our staff.

That’s unsurprising: it’s fair to say most people in the country probably know the town as an important epicentre for the fishing industry. The town was a famous hotspot for trawlers departing for weeks in often very cold, dangerous weather to haul fish for dining tables around the country.

Our team pointed out that in present times the town has adapted to changing technologies, with its seafood processing cluster being the largest in Northern Europe.

Speaking of fish…

Grimsby claimed to once have the biggest fishing port in the world

By the time the first two fish docks were completed to complement the Royal Dock in 1858, the number of vessels in the town had jumped from 22 to 112 – including the first two legitimate steam trawlers in Britain.

The success of the town kept gathering momentum until, by 1900, one in every ten fish consumed in the UK had originally been brought into either this port or those close by.

All of which led to the town’s claim to have the biggest fishing port in the world. And the size of these facilities is still industry-leading: coupled with Immingham (as the Port of Grimsby & Immingham), it was the largest port in the UK by tonnage as of 2019, with 54.1 tonnes passing through that year.  

Of course, a big port needs a major landmark…

Grimsby’s million-brick dock tower

In its 200-plus years, the 309 ft Grimsby Dock Tower has become an unmissable landmark you can spot from miles away.

Constructed to power hydraulic machinery, this red-brick titan had to be high enough to create the right pressure for the contraptions it served. Wanting to add some flair, designer James Wild based it on the Torre del Mangia in Siena.

When it came to constructing this impressive town icon, workers had to use about one million bricks dug from the marsh next to the dock.

And, as we’re still talking about sea-related claims to fame, we must mention one very special person...

The town was home to a record-smashing long-distance swimmer

Brenda Fisher shattered the record for swimming the English Channel back in 1951. She made it across in 12 hours and 42 minutes; her predecessor (Florence Chadwick) previously held the top spot with 13 hours and 20 minutes.

When Brenda came home, she was greeted by a crowd of 60,000 Grimbarian well-wishers.

Brenda later won the 29-mile River Nile Swim and the 32-mile Lake Ontario swim, both in 1956. She achieved the latter in 18 hours and 50 minutes, 2 hours and 6 minutes faster than the previous record. It also made her only the third person in history to complete the swim.

Grimsby is a major centre for renewables

If you’re worn out after all that swimming, here’s some energy… renewable energy, that is.

As of 2016, the town generated more electricity from renewable solar, wind, biomass and landfill gas than anywhere else in England. According to The Independent, the area generates 28 per cent of its power from green sources.

Grimsby also houses the world’s largest offshore wind operations and maintenance centre for massive wind farms constructed off the coast. Thousands of people in the area now work in this field.

The Cliftons and Cliftons Dance Academy

Who could possibly forget the Cliftons when talking about the area? Dataplan didn’t in our survey. Kevin and Joanne Clifton were the latest members of the famous dance family to get global recognition after both got to lift the trophy on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing… as well as being West End and Broadway stars.

But mum and dad, Judy and Keith, are major names too – taking the crown as World No. 1, European, United Kingdom and four times British Latin American Champions.

Locally, the Cliftons are famous not just for being on the TV but for teaching the children in the area (including some of our Dataplan staff’s kids) how to dance. The school regularly puts on performances for the children’s families at the local Auditorium.

…and here are some other famous names from Grimsby (and down the road!)

There are some famous alumni that live in the town or are just a brief bus ride away.

These luminaries include Elton John’s songwriter, Bernie Taupin. The jury’s out as to whether Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting is based (in part) on the songwriter hanging out in our town… but our Dataplan team was keen to point out that the song Grimsby on Elton’s album Caribou undoubtedly has its links.

Speaking of songwriters, Thriller scribe Rod Temperton lived down the road from the Dataplan offices in nearby Cleethorpes. Temperton was born in the town and became a go-to creative mind for record producer Quincy Jones.

Before climbing to these dizzying musical heights, however, Rod worked as a fish filleter in Grimsby.

It’s not just songwriters for the stars, but the stars themselves who hark from the town. Ella Henderson, X Factor winner and chart-topper, hails from Grimsby.

Lastly, let’s move away from music to the movies. Thomas Turgoose, a memorable lead in This is England thanks to his outstanding performance, also comes from the town. Meanwhile, fellow actor John Hurt, whose appearance in Alien is remembered for that scene, harks from Cleethorpes and went to Grimsby Art School.

Here’s one more for the list… Dataplan (of course!)

Needless to say, we think Dataplan helps make Grimsby special too.

We help businesses and schools across the UK when it comes to all things payroll. We can give you advice or offer complete outsourcing solutions – call us now and have a chat with our team.

Written by Alison Clynes
Published on January 19, 2023

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