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Alva Woodland Park, Icehouse

A Category B Listed Building in Alva, Clackmannanshire

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Latitude: 56.1572 / 56°9'25"N

Longitude: -3.773 / 3°46'22"W

OS Eastings: 289970

OS Northings: 697470

OS Grid: NS899974

Mapcode National: GBR 1K.J4B7

Mapcode Global: WH5Q7.0HLP

Entry Name: Alva Woodland Park, Icehouse

Listing Date: 21 May 2008

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399922

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51095

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Alva

County: Clackmannanshire

Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire North

Parish: Alva

Traditional County: Clackmannanshire

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Circa 1830. Estate icehouse of rare 7-sided form discreetly sited in bank on ground falling steeply to south. Gated entrance at W leads to low access tunnel (about 4' high) with doorway to gallery with higher ceiling and chamber at right angles. Random whin rubble with sandstone dressings, and red brick.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 7-sided gallery (encompassing chamber) with floor of stone slabs, brick-vaulted ceiling with access hatch, and snecked rubble walls incorporating 6 brick-lined and voussoired segmentally-arched niches with stone shelves. Further door leads to deep brick-vaulted ice chamber with iron-lined access hatch.

Statement of Interest

This rare survival of a once prolific estate building type was part of Alva House Estate. The Estate has been divided and the house itself (which had been re-fronted by Robert and John Adam) has been demolished. The walled garden now contains a large house of 1998-9, but a large south facing woodland area has been retained for community use. The icehouse, concealed within a steeply sloping hillside, is sited within this area close to the fine listed stable block and cottage (HB1995). There are a number of channelled watercourses in the locality and a pond, probably man made, a short distance to the north. The icehouse is a key component part and contributes significantly to the surviving estate ancillaries here, forming an important group with the walled garden and stable block.

Estate icehouses were commonly freestanding, and covered with either turf or thatch. Buxbaum quotes Sylvia Beamon and Susan Roaf writing in 1990, "In Britain some three thousand were built, the majority in the period 1750-1875. They were often sited near the stable block or walled garden". In spite of such popularity, intact survivors are surprisingly rare.

Architecturally the 7-sided (heptagonal) ambulatory design is rare in icehouse terms, as well as being functionally refined with easily accessed, good-sized shelved areas. The floor of the ice chamber is filled with debris and mud but it is presumed to be of standard design with a drainage hole.

The Alva Estate was sold in 1775 to John Johnstone of Westerhall. In 1789 he commissioned Robert and James Adam to make alterations to Alva House and to prepare drawings for a sophisticated circular block for stables and offices which was never built.

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