Teachers & Group Leaders

The Ice Man

Key Stage 1


150 years ago, there were no fridges or freezers, and it was extremely difficult to keep ice, or ice cream, cold. Born in 1817 in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, Carlo Gatti came to London in 1847, and opened a succession of food stalls and restaurants selling cakes, chocolate, and ice cream. The shortage of ice was always a problem, and soon Gatti had made enough money to invest in importing bulk ice from Norway instead. He built the warehouse which houses the London Canal Museum today, and constructed the first of two huge wells in which to store the ice. It was sold from carts which carried it around London.

National Curriculum


  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

Learning Objectives

  • To learn that ice is frozen water, and will melt if it is kept above 0 degrees centigrade.
  • To learn that there were no freezers or fridges in the 19th century, and no way of keeping food frozen or cold for a long period.
  • To learn that ice was imported to from cold countries, stored & sold by Carlo Gatti from the 1850s onward.
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