The Ice Trade of British Guiana – By Dmitri Allicock.

This is an excellent article by Dmitri Allicock on the Ice Trade. Imagine living in the tropics without no cold drinks or frozen meat. I guess no ice cream either!  Can we exist today without refrigeration?

Guyanese Online


 A February 1806 Boston newspaper assured its readers. “A vessel has cleared at the Custom House for Martinique with a cargo of ice. We hope this will not prove a slippery speculation.”

Imagine life in 1800’s tropical hot and humid British Guiana without a cold glass of water or for the more affluent, ice cream, a cold beer or beverage. Gourds, goblets and other earthen vessels did bring some quenching relief of cool water for the thirsty as it did throughout history.

It was commonplace to find large water holding gourds among the furnishings of the historical kitchen of Guyana.

For those who lived in the rural areas or hinterlands, a shady and cool creek kept liquids below room temperature. Closed containers were submerged at water’s edge and retrieved for a cool drink on a hot day.     [Read more: The Ice…

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Categories: Uncategorized | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “The Ice Trade of British Guiana – By Dmitri Allicock.

  1. Human being has tremendous capability to adapt to its environment – remember the garden of Eden – LOL! This is the first time I have ever read or heard about the Ice Trade. it has been articulated so well by Dmitri that I enjoyed reading very much – I actually the coolness. Excellent article from a very talented writer.

  2. jalal michael sabbagh.

    Its pleasure to read your posts., interesting information.Thank you for liking my post (Memorial day..) Sincerely jalal

  3. being as old as the hills, we didn’t have a fridge when I was a child… it never worried us – what you don’t know you don’t miss. In the larder we’d have a marble slab to put things on, and it was built on the cold side of the house… and that was that !!!

    • I bet the first time you drank iced water it gave you brain freeze! I’ve been told that happens! 🙂

    • Kim

      that must be a along long time. But that being said, I remember visiting Wismar and Skeldon in my youth and seeing my folks resting the safe (larder) legs in open cans with water to prevent ants from swarming the goodies inside. Other things they hung in baskets from the roof rafters because there was no refrigerator. I don’t remember what they did for ice though.

  4. What a great pick to reblog!

  5. Funnily enough, I am experimenting with leaving my butter out of the fridge because I have been remembering that my grandmother kept her butter in a cool cupboard. I also remember that the houses in Christchurch used to have a food safe attached to the coolest side of the house. Food kept quite well. I think we may be more reliant on fridges these days than we need to be.

    • I leave butter out overnight because it gets too hard in the fridge in the mornings! But during the days in hot weather it melts! My grandmother also kept it in a cupboard with meshed sides so cool air could pass through. It worked!

      • Yes, that is exactly the sort of cupboard I mean. You describe it well. Our grandmothers probably hated them but I wouldn’t mind having one. I also remember going on picnics by rivers and when we got to the river we would put our drink bottles in a secure spot in the water to keep them cool.

  6. It will be difficult especially in summer.Lack of cold water and ice cream,it will take away the fun of summer.

  7. Wow! Great article as we head into the hot summer months.

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