Local History Library

The Local History library is situated in Grimsby Central Library and can be accessed via the lending library. It provides a wealth of information for researchers into the history of the area and for those who have a general interest in the past.

The opening hours are the same as for other Grimsby Central Library departments. All items are for consultation only within the department and cannot be borrowed. It is possible to photocopy from most of them, subject to condition and copyright restrictions.

The geographical areas covered are the historic County of Lincolnshire from the Humber to the Wash prior to 1974, and the Counties of Humberside and Lincolnshire and their component districts 1974 - 1996. Since 1996 the collection has focused on the area covered by the North East Lincolnshire Unitary Authority with a limited coverage outside the area South of the Humber.

Additional local studies materials are available at the North East Lincolnshire Archives Office, situated at the rear of the Town Hall.

The stock consists of:

  • Books
  • Pamphlets
  • Maps and plans
  • Newspapers on microfilm
  • Newspaper cuttings
  • Photographs - including an online collection where images can be purchased. 

Browse more specific information below:

You can view digitised images of rare and fragile pamphlets dating from the 1640's in the Grimsby Reference Library (The originals are preserved at North East Lincolnshire Archives). The pamphlets, which relate to the English Civil war, all have a local connection.

These documents are extremely rare and give a revealing insight into the political life of 17th Century Lincolnshire. One pamphlet highlights: "a discovery of the Arbitrary, Tyrannicall (sic), and illegal (sic) Actions of some of the Committee of the County of Lincoln." (1647).

Digitised versions of the pamphlets can be viewed in the Local History Library at Grimsby Central Library. For more information contact (01472) 323635.

Cleethorpes 1974-1996
Grimsby 1904-1996
Humberside 1974-1996
North East Lincolnshire 1996-Date

A broad range of material covering the birth of the Grimsby fishing industry through to its status as the world's leading fishing port and subsequent decline including photographs of Grimsby trawlers.

Enclosure Maps
Pre and post enclosure maps for most villages in the area. These are useful for showing the original boundaries of the settlements before Ordnance Survey maps to a constant scale in the 1880's.

Ordnance Survey
OS maps of Lincolnshire in various scales from 1 : 50,000 (1" to 1 mile) to 50" to a mile for built up areas from 1888 to the present day. We also keep a large range of historical maps from the pre-1888 era but these are not to a constant scale.

Street Plans - Historical and Modern
An extensive collection of street maps and plans which are useful for tracing the development of a particular area, and when used in conjunction with the Directories they can be used to trace the location of now demolished buildings.

A selection of Local Landmarks with a brief history about them is available to view from the local landmark section on this website.

An alphabetical card subject index giving the title of articles, date, page and column is available for most local newspapers for the latter part of the 19th century.

Microfilmed newspaper reels start from 1793, (Lincolnshire, Rutland and Stamford Mercury), with various local newspapers being available, such as the Grimsby News, from 1876, and the Grimsby Telegraph, from its infancy, in 1897. 

Since the 1960's cuttings are kept on a wide range of subjects classified by place and then subject.

The main local history periodicals are:-


Time Frame

Coast and Country

1979 - 1981 (incomplete)

East Coast Digest

1972 - 1977 (incomplete)

East Midlands Bibliography

1970 -

East Midlands Geographer

1970 -

Epworth Review

1976 - 1986

Grimsby Parish Gazette

1974 -

Humberside Church Magazine

Oct 1964 -

Lincoln Railway Society Journal

1985 - 1986

Lincolnshire and Humberside Transport Review

1973 -

Lincolnshire Family Historian

1981 -

Lincolnshire Historian

1947 - 1965

Lincolnshire Life

1961 -

Lincolnshire Past and Present

1990 -

Lincolnshire Transport Review

1963 - 1973

Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society

1967 -

Lincolnshire Writers

1966 - 1974

Mercian Geologist

1964 -

Midland History

1971 -

North Midlands Bibliography

1963 - 1969

Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society

1898 - 2000

Transcriptions of the Lincs Naturalists Union

1905 - 1992

There are about 100,000 local historical photographs in the Local History Collection including approximately 17,000 images which make up the Hallgarth collection. Most of the photographs are black and white and provide an insight into how the Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the surrounding area looked over a century ago and in more recent times. There is also a comprehensive collection of Grimsby trawler photographs.

The Library provides a photographic reproduction service subject to condition and copyright. Please call the Local History Library on (01472) 323603/323635 for more information. 

Explore a huge selection of Lincs Inspire Libraries local history photograph collection online, covering the whole of historic Lincolnshire from the earliest days of photography up to the modern day.

Browse the images by searching the albums ranging from ‘Trawlers’, ‘Schools’, ‘Docks’, ‘Pubs and Hotels’ and ‘People’.

Order prints of your favourite images directly from the site, ranging from postcard size to large framed canvases.

Digital Photography Collection

The digital collection website has been made possible thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of a wider project called ‘Streets and Their Stories’.

From 2020 to 2022, Lincs Inspire and partners called on local people to share their stories of our area to record and document memories for future generations.

The digital photography website is part of this project, which holds over 10,000 images from the local history collection.

More photographs from the collection of around 77,000 images will be added to the site over time.

A collection of all items printed by William Skelton of Grimsby between 1824 and 1861. The collection portrays the social history of the town during the middle years of the nineteenth century and includes:-

  • notices of elections
  • notices of regattas
  • temperance meetings
  • theatre bills
  • auctions

To be negotiated with the librarian before commencing, based on first half hour free of charge, then £25 per hour or part of an hour plus cost of photocopies at 20p per sheet and postage.

For more information contact the Local History Library on (01472) 323635/ (01472)323603.