STUFFYNWOOD ICE-HOUSE

The mound to the left (south) is the spoil heap from digging out through the limestone rock to build the underground part of the building. It was intentionally placed there to shade the mound to the right, which contains the ice-house. The ice-house was constructed on the northern perimeter of the hall's grounds and extensively planted to provide maximum shade to the area. Running alongside the ice-house is a service road, where carts delivering blocks of ice from local frozen ponds, gained access in winter. I should mention at this point that Victorian winters were much harsher than in modern times. From 1600-1875 the global climate is known to have experienced a 'little ice-age'. Historical paintings of winter scenery in this period, depict people skating on lakes and ponds, there are even records of the Thames at Tower Bridge freezing over, such that it could be crossed on foot!

Large country estates, before the advent of refridgeration in the early 1900's, preserved their fish & meat by having a supply of ice all year round. It was stored in highly efficient, underground, domed constructions, covered by tons of insulating earth. Ice was also stored for medical purposes. The availability of ice was essential to cool anyone fighting a high fever, which was not uncommon before the discovery of penicillin. The ice would be chipped out and transported in lead lined cases to wherever it was needed. The entrance to Stuffynwood's icehouse has been blocked off, however, the typical lofty mound and absence of earth subsidence does suggest that the construction is still intact.

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