Ice Production, Conservation and Distribution in the Royal Factory

When ice plaques formed in the freezing tanks, a process requiring great speed was initiated. Still at night, a bell alerted workers from the village of Pragança, who headed to the Ice Factory and then transported the slabs up a steep slope, in baskets, until they arrived here. In this building the ice was compacted, cut, conserved and stored.
It is a structure of great architectural simplicity, being fully functional. On the main façade, the portico, the pediment over the cymatium and the niche (with an image of Saint Anthony behind it), above which there is an oval window for lighting the interior, stand out. Placed by order of Julião Pereira de Castro, who for decades commanded the ice production in Serra de Montejunto, a tombstone over the door reads: «This factory and its belongings were bought and rebuilt by Julião Pereira de Castro, Captain of Malta, Treasurer and Snow Trader of the Royal House, on the last of January 1782.»

For approximately 50 years, Julião Pereira de Castro commanded the ice production in Serra de Montejunto from his headquarters in Lisbon, in what accounted for strong commercial ties between the capital of the kingdom and this region. To attest to his ownership, he had a tombstone placed at the entrance to the ice production and conservation building. This plaque ended up being broken into pieces and dropped among the rubble of the main silo, from where it would, however, be recovered during the recovery works in the 1990s. In 2000, the piece was restored by students of the Department of Art, Archeology and Restoration of Instituto Politécnico de Tomar, and then integrated into the collection of the Municipal Museum of Cadaval, where it remained until 2009.