The Ice Trade of British Guiana – By Dmitri Allicock.


 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 Trade of British Guiana]

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  • deokie  On 05/24/2013 at 10:13 pm

    I have just learnt about something historical that I never knew before. An amazing article well written.

  • terrytrekker  On 05/24/2013 at 10:31 pm

    Amazing and excellent article! I will reblog your post if you don’t mind!

  • terrytrekker  On 05/24/2013 at 10:33 pm

    Reblogged this on Travel Treks and Quests and commented:
    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!

  • Deen  On 05/24/2013 at 10:37 pm

    Dmitri, another excellent and interesting article. Thanks for bringing back memories of the “crush ice” days.
    During my early years, a fridge was not one of our family luxuries.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 05/24/2013 at 11:04 pm

    I totally agree with Deen. This is another excellent and interesting article by Dmitri.

    Love the ice market scene heading the article.

  • deokie  On 05/24/2013 at 11:28 pm

    Reblogged this on deokie and commented:
    An excellent article by Dmitri Allicock!

  • Cliff Simon  On 05/27/2013 at 3:50 am

    Mr. Allicock,your article was well written,but there are two inaccuracies.the first one is :-the building known as the ‘Ice House’ was owned by Wheiting& Richter & was located down Water st. across from The Fisheries I’ve been away too long so I don’t remember the name of that street.The second is that the abbreviation D.I.H.stood for D’Aguiar’s Imperial House.
    Thank you.
    Cliff Simon.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 06/16/2013 at 11:29 am

    Hello Mr. Simon and a great morning to you,
    Thank you for your comments Sir and sorry for not responding sooner, regarding the initials D.I.H, and ownership of the historical building, they came from several sources available on the Web. I attached some of the links.
    Here are some of my sources… “The name ‘Ice House’ was derived from the fact that ice was imported in schooners from Canada, hence the initials D.I.H.”
    “Demico House is another building of significance. It is situated at the junction of Water Street and Brickdam Road. Originally, it was owned by Messrs. Birch & Company and Charles J. Macquarrie for more than 50 years. D’Aguiar Brothers purchased the buildings in 1896. It was sold for $50,000. During that period it was called the Demerara Ice House and housed a hotel, bar and soft drinks plant. The Company’s practice of importing ice in schooners from Canada is the basis of the name Demerara Ice House. It is believed that Caesar Castellani was the architect of the main bar built in 1896. One special feature of the building is the clerestory at the upper floor level.”
    You can reach me at for any other questions.
    The very best to you and a “Happy Father Day”
    Dmitri Allicock

  • terrytrekker  On 06/18/2013 at 8:17 pm

    I think DIH stood for D’aguiar Imperial House as I recollect it carried a royal crest of two lions, unless my memory is playing tricks. Liquor was sold there both on the premises and to take out. In later years it became Demico House.

    • cliff simon  On 06/20/2013 at 2:46 am

      this is indeed correct

  • wendy barnwell  On 01/11/2015 at 8:58 pm

    Did not know that they submerged containers in the water to keep the beverages cool! Learn something new every day!

    • Dmitri Allicock  On 01/12/2015 at 4:35 am

      Thanks Wendy. I remember seeing in done in Upper Demerara River and creeks

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