Ice cool Norway

Starting in the 1800s large volumes of ice were shipped commercially from  Norway to London where it was stored in deep wells in warehouses before being distributed by horse drawn vehicle to local businesses such as fishmongers and cafe/restaurants. It revolutionised food preservation – as well as providing affordable ice cream!  One shipper was an Italian speaking Swiss, Carlo Gatti, who constructed an ice warehouse on the Regent Canal at Kings Cross.

That warehouse still stands  and now serves as London’s very engaging Canal Museum. The story is well told on the Museum’s website here.  The website even has a  user (ie you) controllable webcam to view one of the two wells- give it a try!

Once electricity became available,  ice could be produced locally and so imports ceased.




One of the two ice wells – now partly excavated.

Lots more about ice houses here, if you’re keen.

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