Icehouse at Clock House, Green Street Green


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016496

Date first listed: 12-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Icehouse at Clock House, Green Street Green
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 14:41:12.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Dartford (District Authority)

Parish: Darenth

National Grid Reference: TQ 58523 70570


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice, usually removed in winter from ponds and used in the summer for preserving food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England since the early 17th century. These were initially built only by the upper level of society, but by the end of the 18th century they were commonplace. They continued to be built throughout the 19th century, when huge examples were established by the fishing industry, as well as for use in towns. Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic refrigerators in the early 20th century. Of the thousands originally built, some 1500 icehouses have been positively identified through a combination of archaeological and documentary research. Although a relatively common class, most recorded examples with surviving remains will be considered to be of national interest and appropriate for consideration for either scheduling or listing. They are also generally regarded as a significant component of local distinctiveness and character.

The icehouse at Clock House is a particularly unusual and elaborate example of an early 19th century icehouse, illustrating the increasing popularity of ice storage amongst the gentry and the professional and merchant classes at this time. It survives well, retaining its original outer door and some internal fixtures.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes an early 19th century icehouse situated within the grounds of Clock House in the hamlet of Green Street Green, around 5km south east of Dartford. The icehouse was constructed in 1812 for the then owner of Clock House, Thomas Edmeades.

The almost entirely subterranean, red brick structure was adapted from two pre-existing deneholes which were enlarged to accommodate the circular ice chamber and its associated cold storage room. The icehouse is entered through an above ground, north west facing wooden door with a classical, ashlar-faced, pedimented surround. On the fascia above the door are the initials TE and the date 1812. A steep flight of stairs leads down to a high-level opening in the ice chamber, allowing access to the ice when the chamber was full. An `L'- shaped, barrel vaulted passageway runs north westwards to the circular cold storage room, used for preserving meat, game and other perishable foods. The passage vaulting is pierced by a ventilation shaft which rises to the ground surface. A small recess in the wall beside the doorway into the cold storage room was designed to hold a lamp. The brick paved, dome ceilinged, circular cold storage room has a diameter of around 3m and is 3.9m high. The walls retain some of their original lime-washed, rendered finish. A band of 38 slots cut radially into the walls held the supports for a wooden shelf, since removed, and high on the wall are iron nail hooks used for suspending game. Further ventilation is provided by an air shaft rising from the centre of the ceiling. A second staircase leads from the passageway down to the floor of the ice chamber. This has a diameter of around 4.25m and is 5.9m high, with an ice loading shaft rising to the ground surface from the centre of the domed ceiling. The partly brick paved chamber floor has a central unpaved area through which the melting ice could drain into the natural Thanet Sand subsoil. Two bands of plain moulding project from the walls, the upper stages of which are rendered. Two large corbels at the level of the lower moulding supported a removeable wooden beam, which has not survived. The position of a now removed, mid-height wooden gallery is indicated by a number of recessed settings in the wall. These features aided access to the ice as it was being loaded and as it melted. Also at around mid-height in the eastern side of the wall is the square headed entrance to an approximately 4.6m long, westward running store room, the brick vaulting of which has partly collapsed. This is interpreted as storage for the wooden access beam. Above ground, the ventilation and loading shafts are capped by iron grilles set in square brick heads which stand around 0.6m high.

Local oral tradition mistakenly identified the icehouse as a prison cell or dungeon, and the now partly collapsed passage as a secret tunnel to Clock House.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 31413

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Caiger, J E L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in An Ice-house at Green St Green, Darenth, (1965), 221-226
Caiger, J E L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in An Ice-house at Green St Green, Darenth, (1965), 221-226

End of official listing