Tag Archives: Grimsby

The UK Cod Wars with Iceland

In 1958 Britain went to war again – this time with Iceland.  The First Cod War lasted from 1st September until 12th November 1958 and began in response to a new Icelandic law that tripled the Icelandic fishery zone from four nautical miles to twelve to protect its own fishing industry.

The British Government declared that their trawlers would fish under protection from Royal Navy warships in three areas, out of the Westfjords, north of Horn and to the southeast of Iceland.  All in all, twenty British trawlers, four warships and a supply vessel operated inside the newly declared zones.  This was a bad tempered little spat that involved trawler net cutting, mid ocean ramming incidents and collisions.  It was also a bit of an uneven contest because in all fifty-three British warships took part in the operations against seven Icelandic patrol vessels and a single Catalina flying boat.

Eventually Britain and Iceland came to a settlement, which stipulated that any future disagreement between the two countries in the matter of fishery zones would be sent to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Icelandic Minister Bjarni Benediktsson hailed the agreement as “Iceland’s biggest political victory.“  And it wasn’t the end of Cod Wars either because there was a second in 1972 and a third in 1975 when on both occasions Iceland further extended their territorial fishing waters and continuing to protect these is what keeps Iceland from joining the European Union even today.

I originally wrote this post about four years ago after visiting Iceland which was at a time when it never occurred to me that one day I would move home and live in the fishing town of Grimsby which by coincidence had a high profile role in the Cod Wars.

Grimsby was once recognised as the largest and busiest fishing port in the world. The wealth and population growth of the town was based on the North Sea herring fishery but this collapsed in the middle of the twentieth century and so diversified to distant water trawler fishing targeting cod, which because of the concessions that Britain made to Iceland as a result of the war destroyed the fishing industry in the town. It is said that many men who survived the sea came home without jobs and drowned in beer.

Today Grimsby is dominated by the fish processing sector rather than the catching sector. Processors are mainly supplied by over-landed fish from other UK ports and by a harsh twist of fate containerised whitefish from Iceland.

There is a National Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby which is a museum including a visit on board a real Grimsby Trawler – The Ross Tiger.  It’s a museum well worth visiting and the last time that I went I learnt from the guided tour that ironically Grimbarians don’t particularly care for cod anyway and have a preference for haddock which they consider to be a superior fish!

Garibaldi and the Unification of Italy

At university I studied Italian Unification and one of the heroes of this achievement was Giuseppe Garibaldi, who died on June 2nd 1882.  He was an Italian military and political figure.  In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and afterward returned to Italy as a commander in the conflicts of the Risorgimento.

This handsome swashbuckler, with the regal bearing, long hair, full beard, burning eyes and trademark red cape cut a swathe through European politics during the mid-19th century.  For three decades, Giuseppe Garibaldi was involved in every major battle in Italy, provoking revolution in Sicily, bringing about the collapse of the Bourbon monarchy, the retreat of the Austrian empire, the overthrow of the Papal States, and the creation of the Italian nation.

After the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 the state worked hard at making sure Garibaldi would be remembered and the number of streets, piazzas and statues named after him makes him probably the most commemorated secular figure in history.

Such was the romance of his story that Garibaldi was at one point possibly the most famous man in Europe.  In London in 1864 people of all classes flocked to see him as he got off the train. The crowds were so immense it took him six hours to travel three miles through the streets. The whole country shut down for three days while he met the great and the good.  Literary figures including the poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott lauded him as the “Italian lion” and “the noblest Roman of them all“.

The English historian A.J.P. Taylor made the assessment that “Garibaldi is the only wholly admirable figure in modern history.”

Statues of his likeness stand in many Italian squares, and in other countries around the world.  A bust of Giuseppe Garibaldi is prominently placed outside the entrance to the old Supreme Court Chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC, a gift from members of the Italian Society of Washington. Many theatres in Sicily take their name from him and are ubiquitously named Garibaldi Theatre.

Five ships of the Italian Navy have been named after him, among which a World War II cruiser and the former flagship, the aircraft carrier Guiseppe Garibaldi.

The English football team Nottingham Forest designed their home kit after the uniform worn by Garibaldi and his men and have worn a variation of this design since being founded in 1865. A school in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire was also named in his honour. The Garibaldi biscuit was named after him, as was a style of beard. The Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy has been awarded annually since 2007 within the Six Nations rugby union framework to the victor of the match between France and Italy.

Other places and things named after Garibaldi include:

Mount Garibaldi, British Columbia

Garibaldi, Oregon

Garibaldi, Victoria Australia

Garibaldi, Brazil

Hotels in Naples, Palermo, Venice, Milan, and a bed and breakfast in Rome

In England, streets and squares in London, Scarborough, Grimsby, Bradford and St Albans

A station on the Paris metro

A cafe in Madrid

An area in Berlin

A restaurant in Vienna

A Street in Moscow

A Museum in Amsterdam

and

A block of high-rise Council Flats in Grimsby

A Life in a Year – 2nd June, Garibaldi and the Unification of Italy

At university I studied Italian Unification and one of the heroes of this achievement was Giuseppe Garibaldi, who died on June 2nd 1882.  He was an Italian military and political figure.  In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and afterward returned to Italy as a commander in the conflicts of the Risorgimento.

This handsome swashbuckler, with the regal bearing, long hair, full beard, burning eyes and trademark red cape cut a swathe through European politics during the mid-19th century.  For three decades, Giuseppe Garibaldi was involved in every major battle in Italy, provoking revolution in Sicily, bringing about the collapse of the Bourbon monarchy, the retreat of the Austrian empire, the overthrow of the Papal States, and the creation of the Italian nation.

After the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 the state worked hard at making sure Garibaldi would be remembered and the number of streets, piazzas and statues named after him makes him probably the most commemorised secular figure in history.

Such was the romance of his story that Garibaldi was at one point possibly the most famous man in Europe.  In London in 1864 people of all classes flocked to see him as he got off the train. The crowds were so immense it took him six hours to travel three miles through the streets. The whole country shut down for three days while he met the great and the good.  Literary figures including the poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott lauded him as the “Italian lion” and “the noblest Roman of them all“.

The English historian A.J.P. Taylor made the assessment that “Garibaldi is the only wholly admirable figure in modern history.”

Statues of his likeness stand in many Italian squares, and in other countries around the world.  A bust of Giuseppe Garibaldi is prominently placed outside the entrance to the old Supreme Court Chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC, a gift from members of the Italian Society of Washington. Many theatres in Sicily take their name from him and are named Garibaldi Theatre.

Five ships of the Italian Navy have been named after him, among which a World War II cruiser and the former flagship, the aircraft carrier Guiseppe Garibaldi.

The English football team Nottingham Forest designed their home kit after the uniform worn by Garibaldi and his men and have worn a variation of this design since being founded in 1865. A school in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire was also named after him. The Garibaldi biscuit was named after him, as was a style of beard. The Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy has been awarded annually since 2007 within the Six Nations rugby union framework to the victor of the match between France and Italy.

Other places and things named after Garibaldi include:

Mount Garibaldi British Columbia

Garibaldi Oregon

Garibaldi, Victoria Australia

Garibaldi, Brazil

Hotels in Naples, Palermo, Venice, Milan, and a bed and breakfast in Rome

In England, streets and squares in London, Scarborough, Grimsby, Bradford and St Albans

A station on the Paris metro

A cafe in Madrid

An area in Berlin

A restaurant in Vienna

A Street in Moscow

A Museum in Amsterdam

A block of high-rise Council Flats in Grimsby