Before the invention of the refrigerator ice gathered from frozen ponds in winter was stored in ice-houses. All large country houses had such an ice-house which provided them with a supply of ice during the rest of the year. A typical ice-house (see the diagram) was a large brick cavity-walled chamber partially or fully sunk into the ground and well insulated. The ice was broken up before loading so that it formed a compact mass inside the chamber. At the base of the chamber there was a drain hole to take away the melt water which would otherwise accumulate in the bottom of chamber and spoil the heat insulation provided by the straw bundles which lined the chamber's inner surface.