14 members and friends of the Tooting History Group visited the Springfield/Burntwood Ice House on the morning of 28th November 2017. The ice house is in the grounds of Burntwood School, Burntwood Lane. We were very warmly welcomed by Helen Dorfman, Head Teacher and Cath Brookes, Deputy Head and Head of History. They gave us an informative presentation which had been prepared by history students in the school for Governors.
The ice house is Grade 2 listed and for a long time was on the heritage at risk register (details here). However, this year the school has arranged clearance and restoration of the ice house using money from the developers of the nearby Springfield Hospital site. We were able to see the rebuilt entrance way and look down into the brick-lined ice house. We also saw some of the late 19th and early 20th century objects which had been retrieved during the restoration.
The brick dome of the ice house is being covered with a layer of topsoil prior to being turfed over. The entrance has been reconstructed and you can see where the original brickwork meets the reconstruction. We were reassured that 19th Century bricks have been used at £30 each! The view of the floor shows the drain hole for meltwater from the ice, which the builder advised us was still working.
The ice house has a claim to being the oldest built structure in Tooting. However, not much is known about Springfield House which the ice house was attached to. Quite a lot is known about Springfield Farm which was incorporated into the grounds of Springfield Hospital when it was built in 1841.