Icehouse and ponds at Hanbury Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019500

Date first listed: 05-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Icehouse and ponds at Hanbury Hall
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 12:54:17.


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

County: Worcestershire

District: Wychavon (District Authority)

Parish: Hanbury

National Grid Reference: SO 94010 63862, SO 94113 63830


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 and ponds at Hanbury Hall survive as a well-preserved 18th century example of this class of monument. The ability to provide the house and estate with its own ice was of both economic importance and a measure of social status, providing an insight into the lifestyle of the occupants of the house. The survival of the associated ponds and ice freezing pool is unusual and will increase our understanding of domestic ice production and the relationship between production and storage. In addition, the ponds will be expected to preserve waterlogged remains which will provide environmental and artefactual evidence relating to their use.


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


The monument includes the standing, buried, and earthwork remains of the 18th century icehouse, associated ponds and ice freezing pool, at Hanbury Hall. The icehouse and ponds are within two separate areas of protection. The icehouse, which is a Listed Building Grade II, consists of an 8.4m long by 1.8m high brick lined and barrel vaulted entrance passage with a drain. An iron grille serves as an entrance to the passage, which leads to a large brick lined conical chamber with a central drain at its base. The ice chamber is 3.5m diameter at its flat base, and 4.8m in diameter at the springing point for the domed roof which rises to 6m from the base. The chamber is partly subterranean with its base some 3.5m below ground level. The entrance passage slopes from ground level down 0.5m where it joins the chamber. The roof of the chamber contains a centrally located loading hatch. The entrance passage and chamber are covered by an earthen mound of oval plan, measuring up to 20m long by 10m wide, and up to 4m in height over the dome, sloping to 2.5m high over the entrance passage. It has been calculated that the icehouse could contain between 24 and 33 tons of ice. Approximately 50m to the west of the icehouse and lying within a separate area of protection is a series of three ponds. The two upper ponds are still water filled and the lower, shallow ice freezing pool is dry. These ponds run in a slight arc to the north west and are terraced into the slope with the upper pool to the south and the lower pool to the north. The ponds are retained by substantial dams, which are believed to retain the remains of timber sluices and iron filter grilles. Water could be let down from the upper two pools to fill the lower, shallow ice freezing pool. The upper pool measures approximately 40m by 40m by up to 2m deep and is sub-rectangular in shape. The middle pool measures approximately 45m by 35m by up to 2m deep. It is rectangular in form and is approximately 2m to 3m below the level of the upper pool. The dams are approximately 1m to 2m above water level by 1m to 2m wide. The lower pool measures approximately 60m by 40m by up to 1.5m deep and is defined by external banks and a dam. To the immediate north of the icehouse, and between it and the ponds, is a walled enclosure containing a number of brick outbuildings and a keeper's cottage. The enclosure, outbuildings and cottage are not included in the scheduling. All modern fencing and surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 31978

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing