ICE HOUSE

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1396572
Date first listed:
22-Feb-2011
Statutory Address:
ICE HOUSE, BANK HILL

Map

Ordnance survey map of ICE HOUSE
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Location

Statutory Address:
ICE HOUSE, BANK HILL

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

District:
Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Berwick-upon-Tweed
National Grid Reference:
NT 99690 52882

Reasons for Designation

The ice house on Bank Hill, Berwick-upon-Tweed, constructed c1796, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Date: this is a relatively early example of an ice house constructed for the fishing industry * Intactness: it is a relatively intact pre-1840 structure * Historic interest: its commercial scale and shape clearly demonstrates its links to the nationally significant north-east fishing industry

Details

BERWICK UPON TWEED

622/0/10157 BANK HILL 22-FEB-11 (Southeast,off) ICE HOUSE

II An ice house of c1796 constructed for the fishing industry.

MATERIALS Sandstone and brick under earth.

PLAN The ice house is entered via the path to the south-east of Bank Hill, with its entrance tunnel leading north-east.

EXTERIOR This ice house is built into the hillside with a covering of earth acting as an insulating layer. Tapered retaining walls of coursed sandstone with ashlar copings flank the wide approach to the entrance arch with large voissoirs; a modern iron gate has been inserted here.

INTERIOR The entrance tunnel with barrel vaulted sandstone roof and sandstone rubble walls leads directly to the main chamber; this is 11m long and 7.4m wide with a barrel vaulted roof 7.6m high. Although the tunnel indicates there were at least two doorways, there is currently no surviving evidence of the placement of further doors, which would have acted as an insulating airlock. There are, however, five simple metal hooks on the far end of the tunnel to the right, where bags of straw would have been hung. The floor is understood to be cobbled throughout, although the majority was covered with silt at the time of inspection. There is a doorway on either end of the main chamber near the ceiling, however, shadowing is all that remains of the staircases that once led to them. There are small brick partitions projecting from the end wall, presumably relating to its later use as a cellar.

HISTORY For the majority of the C18 salmon was transported from Berwick either pickled or boiled. However, in 1788 the continental practice of shipping fresh fish in ice was adopted. In order to maintain stocks of ice throughout the salmon season (late-summer), a number of ice houses were constructed within the town. Ice was collected from shallow places on the River Tweed and from specially flooded pools (known locally as the 'Stanks') during the winter. In particularly mild years the trade was considered valuable enough to necessitate the importation of ice from Scandinavia and sometimes as far afield as America. This brought new riches to Berwick's already wealthy salmon traders, as fresh fish brought a much higher price than that of pickled or salted.

The ice house on Bank Hill was constructed c.1796. After ice ceased to be used commercially in the salmon trade, it was linked by new doorways and stairs to the properties standing above it for use as basements. It was designated as an air raid shelter during World War II and was later used for storage. It is currently cared for by the Berwick Preservation Trust.

SOURCES Beamon, S & Roaf, S, The Ice-Houses of Britain (1990) English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Step 1 Report: Ice-Houses (Oxford Archaeological Unit, August 1995, unpublished) G McCombie, 'Survey of Berwick upon Tweed'. Unpublished Buildings Report for Northumberland County Council, 2003 Menuge, A, Dewar, C 'Berwick-upon-Tweed: Three places, two nations, one town' (2009) 54-56 Interpretation panel on site, sponsored by Berwick Preservation Trust, Tweed Rivers, Heritage Lottery Fund and Northumberland Coast.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The ice house on Bank Hill, Berwick, constructed c1796, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Date: this is a relatively early example of an ice house constructed for the fishing industry * Intactness: it is a relatively intact pre-1840 structure * Historic interest: its commercial scale and shape clearly demonstrates its links to the nationally significant north-east fishing industry

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
508441
Legacy System:
LBS

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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