Cold Comfort
Sunday 05th August 2018

Can you guess what these workmen are doing?

It seems imposable to think that a few generations ago homes had no fridge, but even in Victorian times there was there was ice in the summer in London, and also in various parts of the country all year round.

London had supplies of ice delivered from Norway and theses hardy guys are busy cutting ice there into blocks for export. 19th Century London wanted ice in far greater quantities than the British climate provided. Carlo Gatti an Italian famous for his ice cream brought his first consignment of ice from Norway to London in 1857, all 400 tons of it!

Storage was underground in two huge brick-lined wells thirty feet in diameter, and around 42 feet deep. Ice was packed into these wells in large quantities and could be stored for months on end.

If you visit to The London Cannels museum Kings Cross, you can see the ice wells and discover much fascinating information about cannels and their vital role in the Industrial revolution.. Find out more at; www.canalmuseum.org.uk

Elsewhere various stately homes and mansions had their own means of year round ice. In the grounds of Hampton Court there is a small building that was an ice house. In the winter ice was cut from the Thames, packed tightly in to this building which was naturally mainly underground where ice would last a considerable time.

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