Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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

A Scheduled Monument in Pinner, Harrow

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Latitude: 51.6122 / 51°36'43"N

Longitude: -0.3987 / 0°23'55"W

OS Eastings: 510971.405072

OS Northings: 191584.54469

OS Grid: TQ109915

Mapcode National: GBR 4C.04V

Mapcode Global: VHFST.1QKZ

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

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017203

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29441

County: Harrow

Electoral Ward/Division: Pinner

Built-Up Area: Harrow

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Edmund the King, Northwood Hills

Church of England Diocese: London


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

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

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

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

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Source: Historic England


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)

Source: Historic England

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