Docks Academy > History

history of the church

The Church which houses Docks Academy and Docks Beers is one of King Edward Street’s only surviving heritage buildings.

In the late nineteenth century when Grimsby was growing to be the biggest fishing port in the world, King Edward Street was one of the town’s busiest streets. It was at the heart of a network of streets where thousands of the Grimsby dock workers lived.

“St. Barnabas Mission church, King Edward street north, is an iron building, erected in 1874, at a cost, including site, of £1,174.” Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire (1896)”

“Thursday, February 22, 1900 was an overcast day with the threat of rain ever-present – but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowds gathered in King Edward Street, Grimsby. They had turned out for the laying of the foundation stone for the new St Barnabas Church at the corner of Fotherby Street, in St James’s parish.

The new building was to replace an iron church which had hitherto served this district, and of which the first curate-in-charge was the late Canon JP Young, before he became Vicar of Grimsby. The replacement church comprised a nave with aisles, 43 feet wide, 85 feet length, with sanctuary extending 12 feet further at the East end. The front of the building was surmounted with a bell gable, 58 feet above the footpath.

The plans included provision for vestries to be built later. The cost of the building was estimated at £2,000 and the complete scheme £2,600, of which £2,000 had already been raised, much of it among and by the people of the district. Victoria, Countess of Yarborough (the dowager Countess) had the honour of laying the foundation stone. She was accompanied by her husband, Mr J Maunsell Richardson of Healing Manor.

The stone, of Aberdeen granite, was the gift of the contractor. Lady Yarborough was presented with a silver trowel by the architect. The architect was John J Cresswell (Grimsby); builder, H Marrows (Grimsby); stone supplied by WT Green (Grimsby). The religious ceremony was conducted by the Vicar of St James, the Rev Edward Bullock, supported by Canon Hutchinson (Vicar of Clee-with-Cleethorpes), the Rev AW Ballachey (Vicar of All Saints), the Rev H Walker (curate-in-charge of St Barnabas) and the rest of the St James’s parish clergy. Because of the unsettled weather a canvas awning had been erected to protect the official party and the combined choirs of St James’s, St Paul’s, and St Barnabas’s, which were under the direction of Forbes Carter, organist and choirmaster of St James’s. After the ceremony a tea was served in the church schoolroom, on the corner of Market Street and King Edward Street.”

From Bygones – a Grimsby Telegraph special publication, Tuesday, October 7, 2014

St Barnabas Mission Church closed in 1954.
The final service was held on 1st July of that year.

The last wedding took place in June 1954. The bride was Dorothy Shepherd and the bridegroom Terence Alan Pearson. The bridesmaids were Brenda Callas, Patricia Swinburn and Maureen Horrocks.

Order of service for the final service of thanksgiving on the occasion of the closure of St Barnabas’ Church, King Edward Street, Grimsby. 1st July 1954. – North East Lincolnshire Archives Reference: 1491.

The Church was subsequently deconsecrated and leased by a succession of furniture removals company as a storage depot. In August 2017 Docks Beers Director William Douglas purchased the leasehold and the freehold from North East Lincolnshire Council. Under the stewardship of the brewers the building has undergone significant renovations.  Firstly, the installation of a brewery and taproom on the ground floor in 2018 and then the modernisation of the first floor to house the Docks Academy.