One of the latest restoration projects, as part of our Higher Level Stewardship Agreement, is the Ice House located within the Park, approximately 1km east of the Palace.
The Ice House was designed for the 1st Duke of Marlborough by Henry Wise, Royal Gardener to Queen Anne and George I, and was built in 1707. The structure of the building consists of a dome three metres high and 20 metres in diameter. The large chamber inside is eight metres deep and was used up until the early 1950s when it was blocked off after sources say a cow fell down into the Ice House having strayed through the door!
The original purpose of the building was for the storage of ice for use in the kitchens at Blenheim Palace. Sheets of ice are said to have been carried from reservoirs on the Estate and stored on racks in the Ice House for summer use.
The main threat to the Ice House was its perilous state of disrepair. The principal aim of the works was to safeguard the building for future generations.
The restoration project took four months and involved the rebuilding of the entrance façade and connecting tunnel, and repairs to the fractured brickwork dome.
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