22 June 2010

ACR man sees ancestor's ice factory demolished

THE REMAINS of a 112 year-old ice factory in Lowestoft that became the third largest in the UK, is being torn down this week, but the founder's great-grandson (who served his apprenticeship there) is keeping the bricks.
Built in 1898, the ice factory's grade II-listed office building was part of the East Anglian Ice cold storage company founded by William Cockrell.

Producing 75 tonnes of ice a day back in 1898, the factory was a champion of ammonia refrigerant use in its heyday. The site mass-produced ice on an industrial scale which was sold to local fishermen to store their catch and was transported around Norfolk and Suffolk by train. Cockrell went on to join the Institute of Refrigeration when it founded in 1899.

Driven by steam engines at 700 horse power, Peter Brotherhood, Linde, J& E Hall, and later Stern compressors operated in the factory.

The office building, which is expected to be completely demolished by the end of this week, has stood empty for decades as the Lowestoft Ice Company business moved to a new factory next to the fish docks in 1962. The equipment moved to the new site and was present until the factory closed in 1989.

The compressors didn't survive and were cut up and sold for scrap.

The founder's great-grandson David Forster served his apprenticeship working on the compressors before setting up his own firm Four Star which services and maintains industrial and commercial refrigeration systems.

Forster said: 'I wanted to preserve the remaining office part of the building. It was grade II listed and the council wanted to board it up. The problem was it was burnt and the council was forced to demolish it.

'It's not all doom and gloom. I'm taking the bricks for a water tower I'm preserving. Its my way of holding onto history.'

Grimsby ice factory

Meanwhile the preservation of the more famous Grimsby Ice Factory, is to be discussed at a meeting of the Grimsby, Cleethorpes & District Civic Society next week.

The Society, acting as a facilitating organisation, has arranged the meeting to discuss the setting up of a separate and independent group to push the project ahead.

The battle to save the Grimsby Ice Factory and the four huge 80-year-old J&E Hall four-cylinder compressors it contains was first covered on this website last September.

Those interested in attending the meeting should contact Pauline Lee at

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