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town, unitary authority of North Lincolnshire, historic county of Lincolnshire, eastern England. Scunthorpe is an industrial community dominated by steel making. The town sprang up after 1870 with the establishment of ironworks using local low-grade ironstone worked at the neighbouring village of Frodingham (now part of Scunthorpe). Steelmaking operations, now based on imported ore, have expanded, and the community is heavily dependent on the single highly integrated industrial complex. Scunthorpe's shops and other central services draw population from the surrounding villages of an extensive, very rural area. Pop. (2001) 72,660.