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A little history...

It was in 1874 when two already learned men on the subject, Mrs Craninckx and Metzger joined to build the site of the intendeds (now formers) Ice Houses of Brussels in the municipality of Saint-Gilles. Nine million kilos of ice were stored during the winter of 1875. This ice came from sources held at will be submerged meadows.

Another source of supply was the spring water resulting from ponds of Ixelles, Watermael-Boitsfort and even the swamps of Boendael, although at the beginning, the ice came essentially from Norway. The big Ice Houses of Saint-Gilles fed little by little the urban ice houses, the construction of which was advised and favored by the governments.

Another big distribution network concerns an infinity of rural ice houses, generally built near ponds or water sources, and which belonged to the logical equipment of the very great majority of castles. These "individual" ice houses had an average volume about 50m3, with exceptions which could reach considerable dimensions.

In Flanders as in Wallonie, ice houses give evidence due to their number of the development of the hotel industry. We know not only the therapeutic virtues of the ice to which the medicine appealed, but also its uses in the sciences generally. The use of the common ice houses consisted mainly of a pit preceded by a corridor of more or less long and tortuous access, and must be initially intended for the conservation of the ice for a future custom.

Taken according to needs, the ice was then delivered at the butcher's, the brewers, the ice-cream makers and the bakers by means of charettes pulled by horses. That's moreover the reason for which the Old Ice Houses are in Saint-Gilles: it was easier for the horses to come down in the city center charged and to go back up vacuous than the opposite.

The Former Ice Houses of Brussels having given the name to the street, had to stop their activities in 1993, date that Pierre Jacques decided to continue the production of ice higher up the street, at number 38.

The Old Ice Houses of Brussels in
Saint-Gilles, street of La Glacière, n°12-18.
Old Ice Houses

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