We’ve just replaced our fridge-freezer after more than 20 years. Technology has moved on again as, to my amazement, the freezer section is self-defrosting as well as the fridge, though it wheezes like it’s got a bad chest! So no longer will I have to wait for hours for that lump of accumulated ice to melt away because I’ve left it too long again. That was the principle of London’s ice trade in the nineteenth century when blocks of Norwegian ice were shipped up the Thames, then dragged on barges along the Regent’s Canal by horses to be stored in two huge ice wells near King’s Cross train station. They were so enormous that the stored ice kept itself cold and lasted months. Traders came by horse and cart to collect what they needed. You can see what remains of them at the London Canal Museum. As I’ve recently been researching how they made ice-cream pre-electricity, I took the opportunity of a recent trip to London to visit. The first of these wells was built for ice-cream king Carlo Gatti in 1863!
Susan Leona Fisher : an author's progress.