Ice House gets Lottery boost

Blaby Ice House pictured in 1992

More than £155,000 has been awarded to Blaby District Council by The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of an exciting project to restore and explore the history of the Ice House on Bouskell Park, Blaby.

Dating back to around 1843, the Grade II Listed Ice House was the storage facility for the Victorian manor house, Blaby Hall. A popular method to store ice from the nearby lake to keep Blaby Hall’s food supplies cold and make ice cream, the Ice House was an important addition to the estate. However, the full historical and archaeological features remain relatively hidden.

The successful and comprehensive bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund granted Blaby District Council £156,000 towards a £173,000 project to restore the Ice House to its former glory, helping to preserve its structure and heritage for the future. It is also anticipated to become a tourist attraction for the district as the Council continues to invest in boosting tourism in the area.

Thorough research will be undertaken to uncover the history of its use and efforts will be made to promote the Ice House and pond, highlighting its history with guided visits and community events. A two-day community archaeological dig will also be organised, enabling hand-on learning for both local volunteers and schools.

Planning is already underway, with Blaby District Council having consulted with Leicestershire County Council, a landscaping company, a structural engineer and the University of Leicester Archaeological Services Team. It is hoped that the community archaeological dig will take place in the summer of 2020.

Councillor Sharon Coe, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Regulatory Services, said: “We are absolutely delighted to secure this funding. Undertaking this project has been an ambition of ours for a number of years and the Heritage Lottery Funding will ensure this is possible.

“We want this to be a community-focused project, involving people of all ages and interests. Our vision is to restore and learn much more about the Ice House to once again become the focal point of Bouskell Park. When completed, it will be a long-term, sustainable attraction that all visitors will be able to enjoy.”

Anne Jenkins, Director of England, Midlands and East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “From our 25 years of funding the UK’s heritage, we know that community involvement is key in safeguarding our impressive history for future generations, and we are looking forward to seeing the project to restore the Ice House get underway."

More information about the project will be available on the website in the coming months.

20 December 2019
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