In Victorian London, ice was normally gathered in the winter from frozen lakes, ponds and streams, and then stored underground for the summer.
Being such a scarce commodity, it was a luxury enjoyed only by the very wealthy and London elite.
In the 1840’s a Swiss Italian called Carlo Gatti came to London and changed all that, when he begun importing large quantities of ice from Norway and delivered the blocks to restaurants and fishmongers across the city.
He constructed two large ice wells in 1857-8 and 1862-3, each of which were 13 metres in depth and could hold up to 750 tons of ice.
Both wells remained in use until 1902, when the site was turned into stables and the wells used for dumping rubbish.
Today, the wells are located at 12/13 New Wharf and reside under the London Canal Museum.
Access is via the London Canal Museum. Please visit: http://www.canalmuseum.org.uk