I found this term in a novel set in England during WWI. «Look, there is a cold shelf in the larder!» says a woman exploring her new kitchen. Can you help me understand the meaning of this term?

  • 2
    It is from the days before refrigerators. You can see from here that the cold shelf was a stone slab set close to the floor to help keep food cool. The larder would be on the coolest side of the house, away from the sun. Sometimes there was a vent to the outside to allow cold air in. See also larder. Is this really a question about English? Dec 12, 2020 at 16:55
  • It is, as I didn't know the meaning of "cold shelf" and I couldn't find it in a dictionary. Now I see what part of the kitchen it is, and how it's made. Maybe I could have tagged it better?
    – Cicc
    Dec 12, 2020 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


There would have been a shelf of marble or some other smoothly polished stone to assist in keeping food cool. The larder would ideally have been on the north wall and had ventilation through bricks drilled with holes to further help in keeping food cold. This practice continued long after World War 1, my parent's house built after World War 2 had a larder as most houses did not have refrigeration until later.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .