Great Grimsby

On Friday morning, as I watched the election results coming in, I remembered some of my family history.

Great Grimsby had been won by a Conservative candidate for the first time in 74 years. The Conservatives had held the seat until 1945 when Labour won it and they then retained it at every election until now.

My Grandfather, Alderman Charles William Hewson, contested the seat in the October 1951 parliamentary election but lost to the Labour candidate. Famous Labour MP’s in the constituency in the subsequent years were Tony Crosland and Austin Mitchell.

Grandfather was an interesting man. As I recall it, both his parents were tenant farmers in Tetney, near Grimsby. Charles inherited the tenancy at a young age, both his parents having died before he was 21.

He built up a number of businesses. A haulage firm – CW Hewson – which had branches in towns up the north east coast, a butchery business with a number of butchers shops in Grimsby and Immingham, dairy farms in the area between Grimsby and the coast and a Ship Chandlery and Postmastership in the docks at Immingham.

He was married to my Grandmother Eliza Catherine Hewson and they had 4 children including my Mother, Lucy Winifred Smith.

Grandfather was a Grimsby Town Councillor, was made an Alderman of the Town and in 1944/45 was elected as Mayor.

I will continue with some of my Grimsby memories when I get a chance!



Mention of my grandfather, Charles William Hewson and the town of Grimsby prompted some of you to ask why I ended up living in Southampton. It is stunning, exciting stuff.

Next door to Grimsby is the seaside resort of Cleethorpes. I was born there. That word appears in my passport. I used to keep quiet about it because Cleethorpes was regularly the butt of music hall comedians. I’m not clear why that was, except that I can recall that you could be sitting on the promenade and, if the tide was out, you couldn’t see the sea.

As a young boy I was taken out in a horse and cart to see the sea. And if you were far out, at the water’s edge, when the tide turned, the horse had to move at quite a pace to keep ahead of the incoming tide.

When I first went abroad in a school group, the lads saw that Cleethorpes was my place of birth and they thought that was enormously funny, without really know why. But I survived the banter.

When I was about one, my parents moved to Southampton as my father had been assigned to the original Queen Elizabeth on the Southampton – New York run.

But as all my relatives lived in Grimsby and surrounding villages, my sister Liz and I had to go to Grimsby at least once a year. It was usually in the Easter school holidays and if father was away, mother would drive us there. She didn’t like having to overtake large lorries, so that if we were stuck behind one, she would pull into a lay-by and give the lorry time to get well away ahead of us before she set off again.

I remember that one year mother announced that we would not do the trip in the usual one day, but would stay the night in the George Hotel, Kettering to break up the journey. We arrived there well before lunch and could easily have covered the rest of the 120 or so miles before tea but we had to mooch about in Kettering killing time.

I wrote this some time ago and had so much more to say, but I was unable to publish anything. Sam is investigating the problem but while he is working on outgoing I will try again!