Blaby's 'hidden' Victorian ice house restoration to begin

  • Published
The Ice House as it is todayImage source, Blaby District Council
Image caption,
The ice house has remained closed and is hidden under overgrowth in Bouskell Park

Work on a "hidden" Grade II listed building in Leicestershire, locked up for decades, is to begin.

Dating back to about 1843, the ice house was a storage facility for the Victorian manor house, Blaby Hall.

Before electrical appliances, ice houses helped keep food fresh all year round and, due to their expense, were a symbol of wealth.

A lottery-backed £173,000 project will see repairs and landscaping to the brick and earth structure.

The domed brick structure is about 8ft (2.4m) across and 10ft (3m) tall and covered in a large earth mound.

Image source, Blaby Parish Council
Image caption,
Photos were taken inside the storage space in 1995

A council spokesman said: "As a popular method to store ice from the nearby lake to keep Blaby Hall's food supplies cold, the ice house was an important addition to the estate.

"However, the full historical and archaeological features remain relatively hidden.

"The project to restore the ice house to its former glory will help to preserve its structure and heritage for the future."

The three-month project will see a new retaining wall put in place, repairs to the tunnel entrance including a new door and a new dome cover.

Image source, Blaby District Council
Image caption,
Blaby Hall once stood in landscaped grounds which formed part of the park and is currently being renovated

Once completed, it has been planned the ice house would host guided visits and events such as readings and Christmas celebrations.

A community archaeological dig has also been planned during the work, with both local volunteers and schools.

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