The Ice House in Hopeman is located not far from the harbour on the south west corner of the playing field next to the road bridge and was built to support the growing number of fish merchants and processing facilities using the port allowing them keep fish cool and fresh for the storing or transportation to markets such as Aberdeen and further South. Valuation Rolls for the village give an indication of the age of the Ice House. It is not listed for the year 1855/56 and so must have been built during that period. It is also listed as being vacant on the 1926/27 Valuation Roll and this would have been when it stopped being used for commercial purposes.
The following is a list of Owners during that period:-
1855-56 – not listed
1856-57 – 1867-68 John Geils, Burghead
1868-69 – 1877-78 George Gordon, Branderburgh, Lossiemouth
1878-79 – George Tough, Stotfield
1879-80 – Messrs Mackessack and Bisset
1880-81 – 1909-10 Robert McKessack/George McKessack of Ardgye
1910-11 – 1918-19 Isaac Donaldson, 591 George Street, Aberdeen
1919-20 – 1925-26 Moray Firth Salmon Fisheries Co. Ltd., Nairn
1926-27 – VACANT
From 1927 to the present day it has been used as a storage area for the community and internally it is in the same condition now as when it was built. The structure is made from Hopeman quarried stone with an amazing dome shape interior and leading from this is an entrance hallway along with an external elegant stone entrance made to an Egyptian design.
The loading of ice was done through a square trunk on the top of the dome where there were two wooden hinged lid doors. The floor of the main area is convex and made up of Hopeman stone flagstones allowing water to drain off under the entrance doors. Ice was removed through the lower access doors where there are three steps from the ice house up to the inner entrance door, then a hallway to the outer door.
As part of our 200 year celebrations during 2005 it was decided to complete upgrades to the ice house without compromising the original building. A new outer door was installed along with a galvanised metal trunking on the access hatch designed to give some light and ventilation into the ice house. Above this an Armilliary Sphere was designed as a reminder of our nautical heritage.
The photo below was taken during 2010 after the installation of the Armillary Sphere where children from the village were each given a bolt to connect the sphere to the trunking.
Left to Right — Alexander Craib, John McPherson (Hopeman Community Association); Eva Angus; Daniel Main; Lachlan McPherson; Calum McKenzie; Kyle McKenzie(hidden); Kenneth More; Stuart More; David Craib; Ryan Fiske; Rhea McPherson (hidden); Calum McDougal (Varis Engineering); Thomas Main.