Ancient Monuments

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Domed icehouse in Weston Park

A Scheduled Monument in Weston, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9493 / 51°56'57"N

Longitude: -0.1651 / 0°9'54"W

OS Eastings: 526201.901

OS Northings: 229455.718

OS Grid: TL262294

Mapcode National: GBR J7C.M35

Mapcode Global: VHGNV.382J

Entry Name: Domed icehouse in Weston Park

Scheduled Date: 15 July 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020916

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32465

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Weston

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Weston

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


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.

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.

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.

Source: Historic England


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)

Source: Historic England

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