Website of the Laceby History Group

The Laceby By-Pass

On October, 10th 1961 Sir Weston Cracroft Amcotts, the Chairman of Lindsey County Council fired a gun and work on the construction of the Laceby By-Pass began. Many people from West Yorkshire re and the midlands would have been relieved to hear news of this event, as Laceby was the scene of tremendous traffic congestion at summer weekends. But their relief was minor compared to that of the people of Laceby, who for over 60 years had suffered the effects of main road traffic.

As early as the 1890's a parish magazine recorded the opening of the rectory gardens to the villagers so that they could escape from the thick dust being thrown up by cart traffic. Relief was to be a long time coming.

TARMACADAM - In 1920 the road was taken over by Lindsey County Council from the Grimsby District Council. The road itself was in a sorry state, being full of pot holes. After filing up holes and re-shaping it was decided to experiment with tarmacadam, it being the first time it had been used in this district. This material was brought by rail to Grimsby and then laid out by contractors. This entailed a lot of work before it got laid on the road, as there were no tipping lorries at that time. Tickler's Corner was the most dangerous part of the road, with accidents happening frequently, some of them fatal. In 1926 a part of Tickler's orchard was purchased and a cutting made which eliminated the corner altogether. Chalk from local pits was used as a foundation instead of the usual big slag, this proving to be a success.

PRINCE OF WALES - In 1928 Grimsby Borough Council had its boundaries extended to Cottager's Platt. The Prince of Wales on his way to open the new Corporation Bridge was met at the new boundary by officials of Grimsby Corporation and Lindsey County Council, where he performed a short ceremony to mark the occasion. On the Prince's return he passed through Laceby on his way to spend the night at Brocklesby Hall.

BLACK SMOKE - All this time traffic was increasing and causing holdups at weekends. Also the surface of the road was causing problems. It only needed a hot summer to make the tar boil up, with the result that by the end of the summer the road would be smooth and shiny. This necessitated tarring and chipping again to make it rougher and safer for the winter months. Of course this situation led nowhere, and eventually in the thirties a burning off machine had to be brought in to get rid of the excess tar. This caused havoc through the village because of thick black smoke.

EARLY PLANS - As early as 1932 the Council were making plans to bypass the village and approval was given to a proposed plan in 1933, but the Ministry of Transport grant was withdrawn because of the economic situation. It was probably a good thing that this particular plan was was abandoned as it proposed that the dual carriageway should come much closer to the village that the present one, and that Caistor Road as far as Pawson's Corner would form one of the carriage ways. However, arrangements got as far as completing transactions for land and appointing the engineer.

TRAFFIC CHAOS - Traffic through the village became a nightmare, especially at weekends. The average traffic in 1938 as 3300 vehicles a day and counts at over 1000 an hour were recorded at weekends.

You often had to wait a long time to cross Grimsby Road and Caistor Road. The traffic jams were so bad that a passenger could leave the car, buy fish and chips and rejoin the car before it left the village. Certainly on Sunday evenings in the Summer for two or three hours cars from Cleethorpes used to travel nose to tail at a snail's pace for over a mile till they reached the crossroads where the police were in control. Such was the situation when war clouds appeared on the horizon and so any big project such as road improvements were cancelled.

WAR AND PEACE - The war brought peace to Laceby as far as traffic was concerned. Petrol rationing was soon introduced and so traffic dropped off. Life was probably safer in Laceby during the war than before it. Even after the War it did not increase much owing to petrol restrictions, but in the 1950's it began to increase rapidly, the average daily traffic reaching 8,700 vehicles a day by August 1961. The authorities began to revise the pre-war plans. The main benefits to the village was that the line of the by-pass was to be further away. So at least 20 odd years on they were ready to start again, but on a much bigger and better scale.
By late 1958 some preliminary work had been done and by the start of 1963 the work was completed, 30 years after the first drawings were made, and reduced the dust, noise and smoke and danger that Laceby had endured for so long.