Icehouse 110m south west of Burton Manor College main building


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Icehouse 110m south west of Burton Manor College main building
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 31407 74061

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 Burton Manor College is an important example of a late, rock cut icehouse with all its original features intact with the exception of the doors. The inclusion of gas lighting is a rare feature and the fittings survive well. Also unusual is the presence of a food preparation area incorporated in the design.


The monument includes an icehouse with a food preparation chamber atttached in the grounds of Burton Manor College. The former hall with its gardens was built in the years after 1805 by the Congreve family and the icehouse was constructed in this period. The icehouse is approached by two sets of stairs leading down into the entrance passage on the south side, constructed of drystone walling and revetted back to the stone built entrance archway which is mortared, There is a second entrance on the north side, leading directly into the ice chamber. This consists of a revetted sunken way leading down from the garden. The southern chamber has an entrance passage 1.8m long, 1.25m wide and 2m high. This opens onto a rock cut chamber with a stone vaulted roof. This is 5m long, 3.5m wide and 1.3m high. The floor slopes into the middle where there is a stone-lined drainage channel. This area seems to have been for the preparation of foodstuffs to be stored in the ice chamber. On its north side a short passage leads into the ice chamber, 5.4m long, 0.8m wide and 2.25m high. It is also rock cut with a stone vaulted roof, 3m wide, 5m long and 3.5m high with a stone-lined well in the centre which has a soakaway drain. In the roof, on the south side of this chamber is a ventilation aperture 0.75m square with a steel grid. From this a short passage leads out to the angled entrance pathway. In the roof of the ice chamber is a gas light fitting with four arms. Ice was probably brought for storage from the mere 180m to the south of the icehouse. Later there are records of ice being brought from the docks at Liverpool. The post and wire fences to the north of the entrance passage and the wooden fencing to the south of the southern entrance are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 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.

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Books and journals
Booth, P H W, Burton Manor, the Biography of a House, (1978), 32
Oxford Archaeological Unit, MPP Icehouse Assessment, (1997)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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