A NEW Mayor for a new square – just hours after officially accepting the role as North East Lincolnshire’s new civic head, Cllr David Hasthorpe led the first official walk through of Grimsby’s transformed St James’ Square.
Although there are some final touches to be finished, which will include a showcase piece of artwork on Wilko’s wall, the hoardings have come down and the public can use the rejuvenated public space.
Delighted this has happened in time for the spring Bank Holiday weekend, Cllr Hasthorpe said: “What a way to start my first official day as our Borough’s Mayor. This is fantastic – a tremendous difference. Everyone involved should take huge pride in what has been achieved, work that also shows off the wonderful Grimsby Minster in all its glory.”
His words were echoed by Cllr Callum Procter, Cabinet member for economic growth, who added: “The work to plan and secure the grant funding to bring this to its fruition was long and detailed, but it was worth it when you see what has been achieved. This is a great, family-friendly public space along with infrastructure for outdoor events which we look forward to hosting in the near future.”
The St James’ Square public realm works in the local Heritage Action Zone are part of a wider scheme to unlock the potential of Grimsby town centre, which is being supported with approximately £3.4m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund. This was secured by the former Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
The project, which started just over a year ago with construction firm CR Reynolds as contractors, has seen the Square’s complete reinvention. It has included new Scoutmoor Yorkstone paving, new landscaping and trees, a central labyrinth, and unique lighting which will incorporate a sound system for events. Still to be installed is the lighting for the Minster that will enable visual effects to be projected onto the building.
The work has also included creative and bespoke art installations, made possible as part of the Grimsby Creates programme. This umbrella brand for cultural activity over the next three years has support from the Cultural Development Fund, (CDF), which is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by Arts Council England.
Completed as part of this, is the etched paving, with words and phrases to reflect Grimsby’s past, present and future. Grimsby-based Our Big Picture Ltd commissioned artist Adrian Riley to research and design the two etched pathways that you will be able to see.
This artwork will shortly be followed by a totally unique Murmuration creation. The work of Grimsby-born, Annabel McCourt, is made up of copper silhouettes, which she has created from the pictures of scores of local people – taken over the last year around the town. It will adorn a section of Wilko’s wall, and once installed a formal opening of the Square will take place.
“It has been an inspiring project to be involved with and we were thrilled when both artists came onboard along with the many contributors through the Our Haven engagement project,” said Paula Denton of Our Big Picture. “Adrian had many conversations with local people of all ages – from those with a love of local heritage to Zoom sessions about our future with young people. He researched the legends and myths, asked for memories and stories and collated manifests and historical accounts of the docks, all shown in the path. Local creative writers contributed to work that appears on the new stone benches either side of the path and the project continues with 100’s of local people immortalised in the Murmuration.”
The Team at Grimsby Minster are also delighted by the project’s completion. They said: “We’re so pleased with the results of the work, and really looking forward to the coming months when our new volunteer programme launches and our refurbished coffee shop re opens.”
Meanwhile the Fishermen’s Memorial Statue can once again be visited with the annual Lost Fishermen’s Service planned for the Minster and the square again later this year.