Pinner Hill ice house, 70m north east of Pinner Hill Golf Clubhouse


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Pinner Hill ice house, 70m north east of Pinner Hill Golf Clubhouse
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Harrow (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 10972 91585

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.

Although some sections of the Pinner Hill ice house passage and ancillary chamber have collapsed or been infilled, the structure as a whole survives well. The ice chamber and dome is particularly well preserved and, following a national review of this class of monument in 1998, is now thought to be one of only two exceptional survivals in the Greater London area (the other being at High Elms, Bromley). In addition to serving as a fine example of mid-19th century design, investigation of the Pinner Hill ice house has served to enhance documentary evidence for the ownership of the country house by reflecting the lifestyle of its inhabitants.


The monument includes a brick built ice house with attached passageway and larder located some 70m to the north east of Pinner Hill House, formerly a private residence and now the club house for the Pinner Hill Golf Course.

The ice house is of the `cup and dome' variety and largely subterranean. Only the top of the dome, a brick hemisphere with a tapered central aperture, is visible above ground, standing just proud of the surrounding lawn. The ice chamber (or cup) beneath is cylindrical, 2.79m in width and 3.66m high, and surrounded by a double thickness of brick. The floor is also brick, laid with a slight fall towards a terracotta grating and drain hole at the centre. The passageway enters the ice chamber about half way up the west side, and is approximately 1.8m high with a barrel vaulted roof set just below the present ground surface. The passage has rebates for three doorways and continues westwards for approximately 4m before entering a small infilled chamber measuring some 2 sq m. This is thought to have been the basement of an ornate clock tower erected in 1869 (and demolished in 1961), from which a further passage extended south and west around an ornamental pond to enter the service quarters of the 19th century house. The service passage has collapsed or been infilled. Its precise location remains unknown, and it is not included in the scheduling.

The ice chamber and the short passage to the tower basement were examined by the Pinner Local History Society in 1984, who, once a mass of accumulated silt and modern debris was removed, were able to complete a detailed structural survey.

The ice house incorporates some early 19th century brick. This, however, may reflect the reuse of existing stock since it is believed to be broadly contemporary with the clock tower, one of the many estate buildings commissioned by Arthur William Tooke, owner of Pinner Hill House from 1844 to 1871. A sale prospectus from 1920 makes no reference to the existence of the ice house, and it is therefore probable that it had ceased to function by this time.

The modern concrete plug which seals the dome entrance is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground and structure beneath it 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.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Kirkman, K, A History of Pinner Hill House and Estate, (1993)
Kirkman, K, A History of Pinner Hill House and Estate, (1993)
Clarke, P, Venis, T, 'The London Archaeologist' in Pinner Hill Ice House, (1984), 51
Clarke, P, Venis, T, 'The London Archaeologist' in Pinner Hill Ice House, (1984), 51
Figure 6, Spandl, K, MPP Step I Report: Ice Houses, (1995)


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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