Ancient Monuments

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Quarryhead, icehouses 210m north east of

A Scheduled Monument in Troup, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.6807 / 57°40'50"N

Longitude: -2.1564 / 2°9'22"W

OS Eastings: 390774

OS Northings: 865663

OS Grid: NJ907656

Mapcode National: GBR P81F.6TD

Mapcode Global: WH9N5.V6BQ

Entry Name: Quarryhead, icehouses 210m NE of

Scheduled Date: 29 September 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11122

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: farming, food production; Secular: ice house

Location: Aberdour (Aberdeenshire)

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Troup

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument consists of the remains of two commercial icehouses overlooking Quarry Haven, a small inlet which functioned as a fishing station probably from the late 18th/early 19th century through into the 20th century. Nearby is the ruin of a fisherman's cottage.

The icehouses may relate to the commercial salmon industry which developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, and which was the first to exploit ice to allow the transportation of fish, specifically salmon, to distant markets such as London. During this phase of the industry, naturally occurring ice from rivers, lochs and specially constructed pools, was collected and then stored in specially built icehouses to ensure its availability throughout the season. It is unclear where the ice would have come from to supply these specific icehouses. However, they may have been served by a small artificial reservoir some 800m to the SE of the fishing station which was in existence during the 19th century but which had been evidently drained by the early 20th century, when industrially produced ice had become readily available.

The icehouse are semi-subterranean structures, built into the coastal slope. Both are almost completely covered by earthen mounds, which would have provided insulation, preserving the ice. The smaller of the two lies to the S of the site and is aligned perpendicular to the slope. It has a masonry barrel vault with entrances through both gables, although the original doorways appear to have been robbed out and repaired in brick. The larger of the icehouses is aligned with, and built into the slope. It has a brick vault (which is now showing signs of structural distress) and its N gable is constructed in granite rubble. The gable has a single entrance which shows evidence of once having an inner and outer door. The ice itself was loaded through an opening in the vault. An antechamber was later attached to this gable, and is now in ruins. This chamber would have probably been used to pack the fish in ice before it was dispatched.

The area to be scheduled consists of the two icehouses and an area surrounding them in which associated activities took place. The area has maximum dimensions of 30m due E-W by 40m due N-S transversely as marked in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as two well-preserved, early examples of commercial icehouses associated with the fishing industry. As such, it contributes to an understanding of Scotland's fishing industry during the 19th century, an industry which is of national significance but which was and still is, of particular importance to the north east coast of Scotland. The setting of the monument with the associated fisherman's cottage, the path to the site and boat haven below, all add to our understanding of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ96NW 32



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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