Recently I read a story about the history of ice in England. The story starts at Lake Wenham near Boston in the US where, in 1844, the Wenham Lake Ice Company started shipping large chunks of ice from the lake over to England. There they set up a store in London where each day they displayed a fresh block of ice in the window. No one there had ever seen ice before quite like this and people lined up outside the window to look at the ice. Several businesses started to order their ice, including the royal family. From here other businesses started to see the potential of selling ice to the English public. The Norwegians even changed the name of a lake near Oslo to Lake Wenham so that they could tap into this growing market. Having ice changed everything. All of a sudden food could be kept and it could be transported. So Lake Wenham played a big role in history as we know it today.
Apparently if you visit Lake Wenham today the whole lake is surrounded by a tall fence because the lake is now part of the water supply for the city of Boston. There is no sign, note, placard or anything anywhere around the lake or the town that mentions the Wenham Lake Ice Company or the role the lake played.
I’m guessing there are many many places like this around the world today, places that we pass by everyday on our commutes to work that have incredibly fascinating and rich histories but don’t look like anything to us. It may be an old building, a dusty monument, a strangely shaped tree. The land where your house is built itself could probably have a whole history book written about it. Problem is, it isn’t that easy to find out the story of what is around us and it is very rarely spoken of. I wish I could take a look back in time and see the history of what happened on the land that our town house is built on…I wonder what fantastic stories it would include?