The Ice Cellar

Memories from my childhood – an eyewitness account by Steen Weile

When I was a scout in Augustenborg, we used to get out and about a lot in the countryside. On a scout patrol, we passed the ice cellar, which had an entrance under the stone facing the Forest. It was blocked, but there was a crack that you could squeeze under. We had previously entered the anteroom and looked down into the large hole behind an old worn door.

After the scout patrol, some of us thought it might be fun to get down to the bottom and see if there was anything exciting down there. One of us had a rope ladder at home, so after changing from scout uniform to old clothes, we met and went down to the gardens with the rope ladder.

At the ice cellar we entered through the crack, and in the antechamber, we got the rope ladder attached, and three of us climbed about five metres down into the ice chamber, while I stayed in the antechamber and kept “guard”.

They examined the bottom of the ice chamber very carefully but found nothing interesting and climbed up again. Someone must have heard about our expedition, because shortly after the entrance was completely blocked, and to my knowledge has not been opened since.

My grandfather, Viggo Weile, was a bricklayer at the palace from 1932 to 1970, and he told me that there was an underground passage from the ice chamber up to the palace. It was partly caved in and pretty dangerous. He was therefore given the task to brick up the entrance from the ice chamber. In the old days, people did not have electric refrigerators and freezers. In the winter, large blocks of ice were sawn out of the frozen fjord and transported to the ice cellar, where they could stay frozen until late summer. When the palace kitchen needed to cool food and drinks, smaller ice blocks were retrieved and placed in ice cabinets. This made it possible to serve cold dishes and desserts, such as ice cream, most of the year.