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New life for former ice factory bricks

PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:23 01 July 2010

Demolition of former East Anglian Ice and Cold Storage Company factory in Lowestoft

Demolition of former East Anglian Ice and Cold Storage Company factory in Lowestoft

Hayley Mace

The remains of a derelict factory which was once a showpiece of Victorian engineering are being saved to be used as part of a restoration project.

The last building on the site of the East Anglian Ice Company is being torn down, and the great-grandson of the entrepreneur who opened the factory is ensuring that its legacy will live on in more than just memories.

The remains of a derelict factory which was once a showpiece of Victorian engineering are being saved to be used as part of a restoration project.

The last building on the site of the East Anglian Ice Company is being torn down, and the great-grandson of the entrepreneur who opened the factory is ensuring that its legacy will live on in more than just memories.

The small office building which was once the beating heart of the ice factory on the waterfront in Lowestoft is being demolished and David Forster, whose great-grandfather opened the factory in 1898, is preserving the company's cherished memory by buying the bricks from the old office block and using them as part of a building project north of Norwich.

Mr Forster is going to use the bricks to create a new bulding next to a Victorian water tower which he has restored in Cawston, near Aylsham. He said: “It's sad to see the old building being torn down, but it had become unsafe.

“There's a real poetry in it for me though, because I'm giving the old bricks a new lease of life. I think if my father, grandfather and great-grandfather had seen the offices like this, they would have been upset, but I think they'd be pleased that I'm protecting a bit of their history.

“My water tower was built in the same month of the same year as the ice factory, so it's a fitting place for the bricks to end up.”

The factory, the third biggest of its kind in the country in the early 20th century, revolutionised food transportation and storage by harnessing the new technology of using ammonia refrigerant to produce ice on an industrial scale.

As well as being sold to local fishermen to store their catch, the ice from the Riverside Road plant was transported around Norfolk and Suffolk along the train line which ran directly to the factory door and on special wherries to be sold to the privileged few who had ice boxes in their larders to keep their meat, milk and butter cool.

New use: Bricks from the former East Anglian Ice Company factory, below, are to form part of a new construction. photos: james bass

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