Domed icehouse in Weston Park

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020916

Date first listed: 15-Jul-2003

Map

Ordnance survey map of Domed icehouse in Weston Park
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Location

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

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Weston

National Grid Reference: TL 26202 29456

Summary

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 Weston Park is a rare survival of a 19th century domed form of unusual brick and flint rubble construction. Its association with a square icehouse of slightly later date makes it of particular interest, as together they demonstrate the evolution of icehouse design during the 19th century. The reuse of the icehouse as a pillbox during World War II adds to its interest, graphically illustrating the ingenious utilisation of existing structures for Home Defence during the wartime period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a 19th century icehouse situated in the grounds of Weston Park, 170m north east of Weston Park House, adjacent to an ornamental pond from which ice was collected. The country house at Weston Park was constructed in 1835 and substantially added to in the late 19th century. The domed icehouse is constructed of brick and flint rubble, and partly covered in an earthern mound. The entrance and lower courses of the ice chamber are built of alternating courses of red brick and flint rubble in mortar, whilst the domed roof itself is built completely of red brick. The ice chamber has been partially infilled with earth; however, the top levels of brick arch responds can be seen just above the infill. In the top of the dome is a square chute hole; this is brick with concrete rendering, the latter a result of modifications to the structure during World War II. The ice chamber is fairly small with an internal diameter of 2.8m and a maximum external diameter of 4m. The domed icehouse is one of two at Weston Park; the other is a square structure which forms the subject of a separate scheduling. It would probably have continued in use throughout the 19th century, until the introduction of the domestic refrigerator in the early years of the 20th century made such features redundant. The icehouse underwent a brief period of reuse during the course of World War II when it was modified to serve as a pillbox.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 32465

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
English Heritage MPP Step 1 Report, Oxford Archaeological Unit, Ice-houses, (1995)
Information from the owner Mr John Cherry, (2002)
Tinniswood, K A, Herts. SMR No. 9234, (1998)

End of official listing