Great Grimsby (UK Parliament constituency)

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Great Grimsby
Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Great Grimsby in Humberside.
Outline map
Location of Humberside within England.
County Lincolnshire
Electorate 61,929 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1295
Member of Parliament Austin Mitchell (Labour)
Number of members One
(Two until 1832)
European Parliament constituency Yorkshire and the Humber

Great Grimsby is a constituency[n 1] in North East Lincolnshire represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom since 1977 by Austin Mitchell of the Labour Party.[n 2][n 3]

Current boundaries[edit]

The present constituency follows the boundaries of the old Borough of Great Grimsby, which was abolished when the former county of Humberside was divided into four unitary authorities in 1996. From the 2010 general election new boundaries took effect, but the Boundary Commission's review led only to minimal changes, aligning the constituency boundaries with present ward boundaries so the seat still has electoral wards:

  • East Marsh, Freshney, Heneage, Park, Scartho, South, West Marsh and Yarborough.


The constituency has been represented since the first House of Commons was assembled in the Model Parliament of 1295, and it elected two MPs until 1832. Great Grimsby was established as a parliamentary borough in 1295, sending two burgesses, and has been continuously represented ever since. The town of Grimsby in Lincolnshire, a market town, fishing port and seaport.

Freemen of the town had the right to vote, provided they were resident and paying scot and lot; in 1831 this amounted to just under 400 voters. The town corporation bestowed this status, as today, rarely on those bringing acclaim to the place, but it was routinely acquired through apprenticeship in the guilds and by inheritance; in Great Grimsby, unusually, the husband of a freeman's daughter or widow acquired the freedom.[n 4]

In 1831, when the Reform Bill was being discussed in Parliament, the wives and daughters of the Great Grimsby freemen petitioned the House of Lords to retain their rights to pass on the vote to their future husbands and children. However, their concern to retain these rights may not have been rooted in any their family desiring to help choose the borough's MPs as a vote in Great Grimsby was a valuable commodity in a more mercenary sense, and the contemporary polemicist Oldfield considered that "This borough stands second to none in the history of corruption." At the start of the 18th century it was noted[by whom?] that Grimsby's "freemen did enter into treaties with several gentlemen in London, for sale of the choice of burgess to such as would give the most money". In 1701, the House of Commons overturned the election of one of Great Grimsby's MPs, William Cotesworth, for bribery and sent him to the Tower of London and temporarily suspended the borough's right to representation. Almost every election in Great Grimsby at this period was followed by a petition from defeated candidates alleging bribery, although that of 1701 seems to have been the only one which was acted upon.

Great Grimsby, like most boroughs except for the very largest, recognised a "patron" who could generally exercise influence over the choice of its MPs; at the time of the Great Reform Act of 1832, this was Lord Yarborough. However, the extent of the patron's power was limited in Great Grimsby, and the voters were quite prepared (at a price) to defy his advice. The patron could strengthen his position by providing employment to the freemen, as could his rivals. Jupp quotes two letters, one of 1818 and one of 1819, in which local agents advise the Tennyson family how best to do this in Grimsby so as to encroach on Lord Yarborough's influence:

"Build upon every spot of vacant ground you are possessed of... Thus you would give employment to a great number of freemen... Let Mr Heneage's estates[n 5] be divided into fields of four or six acres; and let these, together with your own estates be placed in the hands of freemen to whom they would be an object of importance. Provide, if possible, small farms for the sons of Lord Yarbro's tenants."
(George Oliver to George Tennyson, 24 November 1818, quoted in Jupp)

On a less extravagant level, it is recorded that after Charles Tennyson was first elected in 1818 he presented a bottle of wine to each of the fathers of 92 local children about to be christened.

The General Election of 1831 in Grimsby was as notorious as in some of the rotten boroughs, the local Tories being accused of using a revenue cutter lying in the Humber to ply the Whig voters with drink and prevent them getting to the polls; the fact of the outcome standing led to a nationally well-known action by John Shelley for libel.

In 1831, the population of the borough was 4,008, and contained 784 houses. The Boundary Act in concert with the Reform Act enlarged the borough to include eight neighbouring parishes[n 6], brought the population up to 6,413 with 1,365 houses but the landed property aspect to the franchise was not reformed so this increased the electorate only to 656 so Great Grimsby lost one of its two seats. However, Grimsby's population and housing continued to grow and, unlike most of the boroughs that lost one seat in 1832 it has retained its existence, without taking up large swathes of the county.

The constituency underwent further significant boundary change in 1918 and 1950. In 1918, parishes that had joined, (Bradley, Great Coates, Little Coates, Laceby, Waltham, Weelsby and the adjoining neighbourhood/parish of Scartho) were detached to join Louth county constituency, and the seat [n 7] consisted of the county borough of Grimsby and the urban district (later borough) of Cleethorpes. In 1950, Cleethorpes was moved into the Louth county division, leaving the borough once more Grimsby alone. More recent boundary changes have only been adjustments to conform to changes at local government level.

Since the 1950 boundary changes that removed Cleethorpes,[n 8] results since 1945 have returned Labour MPs, many suggesting a safe seat and others with a marginal majority presenting the picture of a Labour-held marginal seat.

The present MP Austin Mitchell won the seat in a 1977 by only 520 votes in a by-election caused by the death of the Foreign Secretary Tony Crosland; but on the same day that Mitchell held Grimsby, Labour lost Ashfield, in Nottinghamshire and media-tipped to be equally impregnable,[citation needed] on a 21% swing. At the 2010 election Mitchell's majority was again reduced to three figures after a swing of over 10% to the Conservatives.

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1295–1660[edit]

Year First member Second member
1330 Edmundus Rayner Robertus Keilby[2]
1341 Johannes de Grymesby[3]
1346 Peter de la See[4]
1355 Johannes de Grymesby[5]
1365 Willielmus Grymesby[5]
1372 Johannes de Grymesby[5]
1377 Willielmus Wele[6]
1379 Willielmus Grymesby[5]
1382 Willielmus Grymesby[5]
1383 Petrus de Gryesby[5]
1385 Willielmus Wele[7]
1386 John Newland William Elmsall[8]
1388 (Feb) Robert Burton William Paule[8]
1388 (Sep) Geoffrey Askeby Richard Barber[8]
1390 (Jan) Richard Misen Walter Slotheby[8]
1390 (Nov)
1391 John Hesilden William Welle[8]
1393 Robert Burton John Kelby[8]
1394 Robert Burton Walter Slotheby[8]
1395 Robert Burton William Elmsall[8]
1397 (Jan) Robert Burton John Kelby[8]
1397 (Sep)
1399 Walter Slotheby William Elmsall[8]
1402 Richard White John Kelby[8]
1404 (Jan)
1404 (Oct) William Hosier John Miles[8]
1406 William Lele John Kelby[8]
1407 William Fosse Simon Grimsby[8]
1411 William Fosse John Thoresby[8]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) Gilbert Keremond Richard Duffield[8]
1414 (Apr)
1414 (Nov) Roger Dale Richard Duffield[8]
1416 (Mar) Roger Dale Gilbert Keremond[8]
1416 (Oct)
1420 John Lufford Richard Duffield[8]
1421 (May) Simon Elkyngton Roger Grainsby[8]
1421 (Dec) Roger Dale Richard Duffield[8]
1448 Willielmus Grymesby[5]
1472 Willielmus Grymesby[5] Hugo Eden[4]
1483 Hugo Eden[4] Peter de la See[4]
1485 Stephen de la See[9]
1485 John Saynton Thomas Pormard[10]
1487 John Saynton John Moigne[11]
1494 Hugo Eden[4]
1496 John Heneage[12]
1509 Sir Robert Tyrwhitt[4]
1510 Sir William Tyrwhitt Sir Robert Wingfield[13]
1512 George Barnardiston Robert Vicars[13]
1515 Philip Hamby William Hatcliffe[13]
1523 John Heneage Robert Lord[13]
1529 Sir William Askew John Heneage[13]
1536  ?
1539  ?
1542 Richard Goodrich  ?[13]
1545 Thomas Hussey Richard Goodrich[13]
1547 Richard Goodrich John Bellow[13]
1553 (Mar)  ?
1553 (Oct) George Heneage John Bellow[13]
1554 (Apr) Ambrose Sutton John Bellow[13]
1554 (Nov) John Bellow Thomas Constable[13]
1555 John Bellow Thomas Constable[13]
1558 John Bellow Marmaduke Tyrwhitt[13]
1558/9 Sir Edward Warner John Bellow[14]
1562/3 Christopher Wray Edward Fitzgerald[14]
1571 Thomas St Poll John Thymbleby[14]
1572 Thomas Moryson Thomas Grantham[14]
1584 (Nov) William Wray Thomas Moryson[14]
1586 (Oct) Tristram Tyrwhitt Thomas Moryson[14]
1588/9 Thomas Moryson Tristrsm Tyrwhitt[14]
1593 William Barne Nicholas Saunderson[14]
1597 (Sep) Thomas Hatcliffe Thomas Ellis[14]
1601 (Oct) Thomas Clinton alias Fiennes, Lord Clinton Edward Skipwith[14]
1604 Sir William Wray Sir George St Paul
1614 Sir John Wray Richard Toothby
1621 Henry Pelham Sir Christopher Wray
1624 Henry Pelham Sir Christopher Wray
1625 Henry Pelham Sir Christopher Wray
1626 Henry Pelham William Skinner
1628 Henry Pelham Christopher Wray
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned
April 1640 Christopher Wray Sir Gervase Hollis
November 1640 Christopher Wray Sir Gervase Holles
1645 William Wray Edward Rossiter
1654 William Wray One seat only
1656 William Wray One seat only
1659 William Wray Edward Ayscough

MPs 1660–1832[edit]

Year First member[15] First party Second member[15] Second party
1660 Edward King William Wray
1661 Gervase Holles Adrian Scrope
1666 Sir Henry Belasyse, killed in duel, 1667 Royalist
October 1667 Sir Philip Tyrwhitt
November 1667 Sir Frescheville Holles
1673 William Broxholme
1675 Sir Christopher Wray
1679 George Pelham
1685 Sir Edward Ayscough Sir Thomas Barnardiston
1690 John Chaplin
1695 Arthur Moore
1699 Thomas Vyner
January 1701 William Cotesworth
March 1701 Seat vacant[16]
December 1701 Arthur Moore
1702 John Chaplin
1705 William Cotesworth
1710 Robert Vyner
1713 William Cotesworth
1715 Robert Chaplin[17] Joseph Banks
1721 Arthur Moore
1722 Benjamin Collyer Charles Pelham
1727 John Page George Monson
1734 Sir Robert Sutton Robert Knight
1741 William Lock
1747 John Gore
1761 Hon. Henry Knight Joseph Mellish
1762 Robert Knight, 1st Baron Luxborough[18]
1768 Colonel Anthony St Leger
1774 Francis Evelyn Anderson
1780 John Harrison Francis Eyre
1784 Dudley Long[19]
1796 Ayscoghe Boucherett William Mellish
1802 Colonel John Henry Loft[20]
March 1803 William Mellish
July 1803 Hon. Charles Anderson-Pelham
1806 Hon. George Anderson-Pelham
1807 William Ellice
1808 Colonel John Henry Loft
1812 John Peter Grant Sir Robert Heron, Bt
1818 John Nicholas Fazakerley Charles Tennyson
1820 William Duncombe
1826 Charles Wood George Fieschi Heneage
1830 George Harris
May 1831 John Villiers Shelley Tory
August 1831 Henry Fitzroy Lord Loughborough
1832 Representation reduced to one member

MPs since 1832[edit]

Election Member[15] Party
1832 William Maxfield Whig
1835 Edward Heneage Whig
1852 The Earl Annesley Conservative
1857 Lord Worsley Whig
1859 Liberal
1862 by-election John Chapman Conservative
1865 John Fildes Liberal
1868 George Tomline Liberal
1874 John Chapman Conservative
1877 by-election Alfred Watkin Liberal
1880 Edward Heneage Liberal
1886 Liberal Unionist
1892 Henri Josse Liberal
1893 by-election Edward Heneage Liberal Unionist
1895 Sir George Doughty Liberal
1898 by-election Liberal Unionist
Jan 1910 Thomas Edward Wing Liberal
Dec 1910 Sir George Doughty Liberal Unionist
1914 by-election Thomas George Tickler Conservative
1922 Tom Sutcliffe Conservative
1924 Sir Walter Womersley Conservative
1945 Kenneth Younger Labour
1959 Tony Crosland Labour
1977 by-election Austin Mitchell Labour


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

Since the 2010 election there have been opinion polls conducted within the constituency, ahead of the next election.

General Election 2010: Great Grimsby[21][22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 10,777 32.7 -14.4
Conservative Victoria Ayling 10,063 30.5 +6.7
Liberal Democrat Andrew de Freitas 7,388 22.4 +3.1
UKIP Henry Hudson 2,043 6.2 +2.4
BNP Stephen Fyfe 1,517 4.6 +0.5
Independent Ernie Brown 835 2.5 N/A
People's National Democratic Party Adrian Howe 331 1.0 N/A
Majority 714 2.2 -21
Turnout 32,954 53.8 +2.1
Labour hold Swing -10.5

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 15,512 47.1 -10.8
Conservative Giles Taylor 7,858 23.8 +0.7
Liberal Democrat Andrew de Freitas 6,356 19.3 +0.3
BNP Stephen Fyfe 1,338 4.1 N/A
UKIP Martin Grant 1,239 3.8 N/A
Green David Brooks 661 2.0 N/A
Majority 7,654 23.2
Turnout 32,964 51.7 -0.6
Labour hold Swing -5.7
General Election 2001: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 19,118 57.9 -1.9
Conservative James Cousins 7,634 23.1 +1.0
Liberal Democrat Andrew De Freitas 6,265 19.0 +0.9
Majority 11,484 34.8
Turnout 33,017 52.3 -13.8
Labour hold Swing -1.4

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Great Grimsby[23][24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 25,765 59.8 +8.8
Conservative Dean Godson 9,521 22.1 −14.1
Liberal Democrat Andrew De Freitas 7,810 18.1 +5.3
Majority 16,244 37.7 +22.9
Turnout 43,096 66.3 -9.0
Labour hold Swing +11.5
General Election 1992: Great Grimsby[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 25,897 51.0 +5.5
Conservative Philip Jackson 18,391 36.2 +7.8
Liberal Democrat Mrs Pat Frankish 6,475 12.8 −13.3
Majority 7,506 14.8 −2.2
Turnout 50,763 75.3 −0.0
Labour hold Swing −1.1

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 23,463 45.5
Conservative Francis Robinson 14,679 28.5
Social Democrat Paul Walter Genney 8,387 17.1
Majority 10,083 20.6
Turnout 46,529 74.7
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1983: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 18,330 36.3
Conservative C.A. Hancock 17,599 34.9
Social Democrat P.W. Genney 14,552 28.8
Majority 731 1.5
Turnout 50,481 73.8
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 26,282 52.03
Conservative R. Blair 20,041 39.68
Liberal D.M. Rigby 3,837 7.60
Independent J. Lennard 214 0.42
National Front J. Hayes 137 0.27
Majority 6,241 12.36
Turnout 75.79
Labour hold Swing
Great Grimsby by-election, 1977
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Austin Mitchell 21,890 46.9
Conservative Robert Blair 21,370 45.8
Liberal Andrew de Freitas 3,128 6.7
Socialist Workers Michael Stanton 215 0.5
Sunshine Party Peter Bishop 64 0.1
Malcolm Muggeridge Fan Club Max Nottingham 30 0.0
Majority 520 1.1 {{{change}}}
Turnout 46,989 {{{change}}}
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Tony Crosland 21,657 47.10
Conservative K.C. Brown 14,675 31.91
Liberal D.M. Rigby 9,487 20.63
Independent Labour J. McElrea 166 0.36
Majority 6,982 15.18
Turnout 69.36
Labour hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Tony Crosland 21,585 42.83
Conservative K. Brown 15,914 31.58
Liberal D.M. Rigby 12,084 23.98
Independent Conservative P.H. Kale 816 1.62
Majority 5,671 11.25
Turnout 76.73
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1970: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Tony Crosland 23,571 52.52
Conservative M.F. Spungin 17,460 38.90
Liberal D.J. Hardwinge 3,850 8.58
Majority 6,111 13.62
Turnout 68.38
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election February 1966: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Tony Crosland 26,788 58.94
Conservative P.T. Cormack 18,662 41.06
Majority 8,126 17.88
Turnout 74.18
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1964: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Tony Crosland 26,675 54.34
Conservative Wilfrid Pearson 21,577 45.66
Majority 4,098 8.67
Turnout 75.89
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election October 1959: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Tony Crosland 24,729 50.10
Conservative Wilfrid Pearson 24,628 49.90
Majority 101 0.20
Turnout 76.70
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1955: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Kenneth Younger 24,926 53.80
Conservative Lord Worsley 21,404 46.20
Majority 3,522 7.60
Turnout 73.33
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1951: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Kenneth Younger 29,462 56.58
Liberal National C.W. Hewson 22,611 43.42
Majority 6,851 13.16
Turnout 82.01
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1950: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Kenneth Younger 28,906 56.24
Conservative J. Hall 22,494 43.76
Majority 6,412 12.47
Turnout 82.73
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election October 1945: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Kenneth Younger 28,484 60.10
Conservative Sir Walter Womersley 18,841 39.81
Majority 9,643 20.38
Turnout 68.39
Labour gain from Conservative Swing

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election October 1935: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Walter Womersley 25,470 51.75
Labour H. Brinton 23,743 48.25
Majority 1,727 3.51
Turnout 69.27
Conservative hold Swing
General Election October 1931: Great Grimsby
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Walter Womersley 33,725 67.65
Labour GE Farmery 16,124 32.35
Majority 17,601 35.31
Turnout 69.33
Conservative hold Swing

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ A borough constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
  2. ^ Between 1918 and 1983 it was known simply as Grimsby.
  3. ^ As with all constituencies, the constituency currently elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years.
  4. ^ Not only were sons of freemen considered freemen
  5. ^ See three MPs which that name, in 1496 and throughout the 19th century including one elevated to Baron Heneage
  6. ^ Including Cleethorpes and Great Coates
  7. ^ From 1918 Grimsby rather than Great Grimsby
  8. ^ See Cleethorpes in most years that town has elected Conservative councillors
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 109. 
  3. ^ Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 110. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 115. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 112. 
  6. ^ Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 113. 
  7. ^ Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 113. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  9. ^ Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 118. 
  10. ^ Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504. 
  11. ^ Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504. 
  12. ^ Shaw, George. Old Grimsby. p. 119. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  15. ^ a b c Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "G" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
  16. ^ On petition, the Commons resolved that William Cotesworth "has been notoriously guilty of bribery and other indirect practices", that he had not been duly elected and that his offences he should be committed as a prisoner to the Tower of London. They also resolved that no new writ for Great Grimsby should be issued for the remainder of the session, leaving the seat vacant
  17. ^ Expelled from the House of Commons in 1721 for his role in the South Sea Bubble
  18. ^ Created Earl of Catherlough (in the Peerage of Ireland), 1763
  19. ^ Long changed his name to North in 1789
  20. ^ On petition, which accused both Loft and Boucherett of bribery and treating, the result of the 1802 election was overturned. The committee amended the result of the voting, so that Loft who had been placed first was placed third, and declared Mellish duly elected in Loft's place.
  21. ^ Great Grimsby UKPolling
  22. ^ "UK > England > Yorkshire & the Humber > Great Grimsby". Election 2010. BBC. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "UK General Election results May 1997". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Politics Resources. 1 May 1997. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  24. ^ The 1997 swings are calculated relative to the actual 1992 result as there were no boundary changes to this constituency in 1997. C. Rallings & M. Thrasher, The Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies, p.89 (Plymouth: LGC Elections Centre, 1995)
  25. ^ "UK General Election results April 1992". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 


  • Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) [1]
  • Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) [2]
  • F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  • Peter Jupp, British and Irish Elections 1784-1831 (Newton Abbott: David & Charles, 1973)
  • T. H. B. Oldfield, The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816)
  • Edward Porritt and Annie G Porritt, The Unreformed House of Commons (Cambridge University Press, 1903)
  • J Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Robert Walcott, English Politics in the Early Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol II (London: Royal Historical Society, 1991)

Coordinates: 53°34′N 0°05′W / 53.56°N 0.08°W / 53.56; -0.08