HISTORY: The ice house and vaulted cellars were built as service facilities for Bridge Hill House, completed in 1793 for George Benson Strutt, one of the sons of Jedediah Strutt, founder of the Belper textile mills, industrialist and entrepreneur. The house was demolished in 1938, and the landholding re-developed for housing.
Covered storage ensemble incorporating ice house and vaulted chambers. c.1793, and built for George Benson Strutt as part of the Bridge Hill House estate. Gritstone masonry façade with brick interior walling and vaulting.
PLAN: Linked ensemble of 3 parallel vaulted chambers aligned north-east to south-west, with access passage to integral ice house extending from south-western end.
EXTERIOR: Symmetrical façade of 3 bays in regularly coursed squared gritstone each bay incorporating a wide opening with wooden double doors beneath a shallow segmental arch with stone voussoirs to each bay, and with shallow pilasters defining the bay divisions. The frontage wall is capped by shallow ashlar copings which step gently downwards from the centre.
INTERIORS: the openings to the central and right-hand bays give access to deep, semi-circular shaped brick vaults, which are devoid of original fixtures and fittings or original partitions. There are now concrete floors covering the original earth floors and lightweight C21 inserted partitions in the rear sections of the vaults. The left end bay is unaltered, and comprises a shorter vault with a brickwork partition and opening giving access to a small antechamber and short access passage to a well-preserved hemispherical brick ice house chamber. The entrance to the chamber has stone quoining and a lintel which sub-divided the tall opening, providing access for the loading and emptying of the ice house at upper and lower levels. At the top of the curved dome is a loading opening covered with a pierced metal plate. There is a drain hole in the centre of the ice house chamber floor.
SOURCES: Buxbaum. T. `Icehouses' Shire Publications. 1992.
SUMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The ensemble of vaulted storage cellars or chambers and ice house to the rear of No.34a Lodge Drive, Belper, was associated with the development of Bridge Hill House in 1793 is of special interest in a national context both for its architectural quality and for its historical association with the nationally-significant Strutt family industrial dynasty of the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. It is an extremely well preserved, capacious and carefully detailed structure, which unusually combines different kinds of storage facilities in a single unit and which characterises the ways of storing and preserving foodstuffs prior to the introduction of refrigeration and canning.