Kent Archaeological Review extract

Ice Well at Kevington, St Mary Cray.
by John J G Blundell.

Early in October, the Orpington and District Amenity Society received a letter from the Chief Architect to the Greater London Council, drawing attention to the remains of an 18th century ice well adjacent to a recently opened school. The well is located at NGR TQ 482 675, within the school grounds north of Crockenhill Road.

Two meetings with the Headmaster have already been held and preliminary studies made; the Society has been invited to undertake a detailed study of the ice well, but as the building is not at risk, work may not commence before early 1975.

The ice well appears to have served the Manor House at Kevington, (a Grade II building which now serves as a primary school). The well is of brick construction, with internal walls tapering downwards in the form of an inverted cone. This is a common type. A brick dome rises from the maximum diameter (14 feet) to a height of 4 feet 3 inches The top access to the dome has been blocked on safety grounds, but could be opened up again. The only access is at present by way of a side entrance approximately 2 feet square. Some accumulated (modern) rubbish cleared from the interior has revealed a packed earth floor some 3 feet 6 inches below ground level.

It is hoped that the foundations of the original entrance passage may be traced a few inches below the present ground level outside the entrance hole.

It appears that the well was still in use at the turn of this century; an older resident recalls seeing ice being taken to the well in wheelbarrows.

Mr J Caiger of Bexleyheath, who has detailed knowledge of these structures, has now visited the well, and will be kept fully informed of our progress.

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