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St James Square

WORK has almost finished on the £1.5m transformation of Grimsby’s St James’ Square, with plans that centre on creating a family-friendly space in the heart of the town.

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 Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

The main work involved a new planting scheme to open the Square up, new lighting, CCTV, street furniture, notice boards and planned landscaping with The Fisherman’s Memorial Statue remaining as a key feature.

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.

The project, which started in 2020, 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 be followed later this year 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.”

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