“Time Team” Dig Reveals Ice House In Middleton Woods

An archaeological dig over the bank holiday weekend has unearthed an “ice house” in Middleton Park woods.

Ice house dig 02The Time Team style dig was undertaken by South Leeds Archaeology who have previously helped to uncover the mining history of the park.

They have uncovered a round brick and stone structure at the foot of a north facing scarp slope in the woods. It is thought this was the ice house for Middleton Lodge, the house built by Charles Brandling in 1760 which stood near the rose garden until 1992. Brandling was the Lord of the Manor and invested in coal mining on his estate and was behind the building of Middleton railway to move the coal to Leeds city centre.

Ice houses were necessary in the years before refrigeration so that the kitchen would be able to make ice creams and sorbets. Co-incidentally the shape of these buildings resembled an ice cream cone, with a cone shaped hole in the ground covered by a dome. The structure was built of two brick skins with a gap in between to increase insulation, there was then a stone outer layer.

Ice was collected from the lake every winter to top up the supply, which could last up to three years in the ice house.

Volunteers explain the finds to passing walkers. Photo by Jeremy Morton
Volunteers explain the finds to passing walkers. Photo by Jeremy Morton

One Reply to ““Time Team” Dig Reveals Ice House In Middleton Woods”

  1. I visited the site on Saturday, good work team. Some ice houses were also used for keeping game in, was anything found to suggest that this might be the case here? I can’t imagine eating ice cream made using ice from the lake nowadays. Which reminds me, thank you on behalf of myself and all the other people who do use the litter bins to the team out last week dragging the lake with rakes to retreive some of the rubbish that had been thrown in over the winter.

Comments are closed.