Armistice Day in Grimsby, 1918

Inspire Blog |

The first unofficial news that an armistice had been signed reached Grimsby in the early hours of 11th November 1918. Flags soon began to appear on buildings and the Palace Theatre on Victoria Street was bedecked with banners and bunting by 10.30am. Workers from the Co-operative Engineering Works on the opposite side of Victoria Street added the finishing touch by fixing a string of flags between their factory and the theatre.

By 11am the official news had been received by the Mayor and the Union Flag was raised over the Town Hall. Just after 11am the bells of St James’ Church began to peel and other churches soon added their chimes.

Palace

As soon as the news drifted round to the workshops – and it was wonderful to see how soon it spread – work was out of the question and in nearly every case it was stopped for the day. The enthusiasm among the people was tremendous. Nobody seemed able to proceed with the common daily task and the streets were full of people. A party of work-girls in mauve caps and white aprons boarded a tram and sang at the top of their voices. Bands of children marched about with flags, beating old tins and anything handy.

Grimsby Telegraph, 11th November 1918

The Grimsby Telegraph also reported that many shops did a roaring trade in flags, but some businessmen also made generous gifts to add to the festivities. One of these was John Michael Tierney, the owner of a chain of tobacconist’s shops, who authorised the distribution of 500 free packets of cigarettes to men in uniform.

At the request of the Mayor of Grimsby, Frederick Moss, the schoolchildren of the town were given the afternoon off to mark the armistice. At Holme Hill School the teacher from the Girls’ School who was keeping the logbook felt sufficiently moved by the day’s events to use red ink instead of her usual black: “Half day holiday this afternoon on receiving word of the Armistice between the Allies & Germany, which spells “Victory” for us.”

Lincs Regt (Two Horses)

Written by Archivist Adrian Wilkinson, using resources from North East Lincolnshire Archives