The club was formed in 1878 after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street.
Several attendees included members of the local Worsley Cricket Club who wanted to form a football club to occupy the empty winter evenings after the cricket season had finished.
The club was originally called Grimsby Pelham, this being the family name of the Earl of Yarborough, a significant landowner in the area.
The name was changed the following year to Grimsby Town. In 1880 the club purchased land at Clee Park which was to become their ground until 1889 when they relocated to Abbey Park, before moving again in 1899 to their present home, Blundell Park - named after Peter Blundell, whose money enabled Sidney Sussex College to buy the land in 1616. The club brought two stands with them from Abbey Park, although the players had to change at the Imperial Hotel.
New Main Stand
In 1901 a new wooden Main Stand was built on the Harrington St side of the pitch. That was the last improvement until 1925, when a grand committee undertook the task of replacing the Abbey Park Stand with the Barret's Stand
New Osmond Stand
In 1939, the last relic of the old Abbey Park (the Hazel Grove Stand) was replaced by the Osmond Stand.
New Pontoon Stand
Floodlit football was introduced in 1953, and eight years later the Pontoon Stand was replaced by a structure of the same name.
The New Findus Stand
Promotion in 1980 saw the start of further changes. Following the Main Stand was made 'all seating' and the Barrett Stand made way for the Findus Family Stand.
The Findus stand was made all seating in 1995.
Other interesting facts.
The original colours were blue and white hoops, which were changed to chocolate and blue quartered shirts in 1884.
In 1888 the club first played league football, joining the newly-formed 'Combination'. The league soon collapsed and the following year the club applied to join the Football League, an application that was refused. Instead the club joined the Football Alliance. In 1890 the club became a limited company and in 1892 finally entered the Football League, when it was expanded to two divisions. The first game was a 2-1 victory over Northwich Victoria.
The Inter-War Years
This was probably the most suceessful period in the club's history as they played at the highest level. The first full season after the Great War the club was relegated to the new Third Division North. By 1929 they were however back in Division One, where they stayed (with a brief break from 1932 to 1934) until 1939, obtaining their highest-ever league position, 5th in Division One, in the 1934-35 season. In 1925 they adopted the black and white stripes as their colours.
On 25 March 1939, Wolverhampton Wanderers played Grimsby Town, in a FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. The attendance of 76,962 remains Old Trafford's largest ever attendance, though it is likely to be exceeded in the near future.
The Mariners lost the game 5-0 after the second choice goalkeeper George Moulson was injured early on in the match (first choice keeper George Tweedy had caught the flu days earlier).
With the then rules forbidding substitutes for injuries Grimsby had to play with 10 men and an outfield player in goal. It was at this match that the squad wore numbered shirts for the first time, three months before it became official.