Descend into London's Victorian Ice Wells - Atlas Obscura
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Descend into London’s Victorian Ice Wells

article-imagephotograph by Darmon Richter

This underground realm in London is rarely accessible, but Sunday, July 20, it’s opening to the public. No, it’s not some sort of secret druid lair; it’s a marvel of 19th century ingenuity.

The Ice Wells at King’s Cross Station were constructed in 1847 by Italian-Swiss immigrant Carlo Gatti to hold ice imported from Norway. Impressive in size, they stretched 42 feet deep and 30 feet in diameter. At the time, ice was an incredible luxury, and Gatti quickly became rich, dying a millionaire in 1878. The wells continued to be used until 1904, but new technology for artificial ice production then made them obsolete.

Over the 20th century they were built over and forgotten. Now, however, the London Canal Museum has them illuminated and viewable from an observation platform. Once a year they’re opened to visitors. So stop by this Sunday for the annual event, as these are the only ice wells of their kind still in existence. 

article-image
photograph by Darmon Richter

article-image
photograph by Darmon Richter

article-image
photograph by Darmon Richter

article-image
photograph by Darmon Richter

article-imagephotograph by Darmon Richter


The King’s Cross Ice Wells will be open this Sunday, July 20, at the London Canal Museum.