English Row Houses

Toldbodgade 71-85


Designed by Vilhelm Tvede for the charity Det Classenske Fideicommis that had been established in the 18th century by an Army General and armaments manufacturer Johan Frederik Classen.


This terraced row of eight houses is just north of the royal palace and runs parallel to the harbour but is set back behind warehouses. There is a courtyard or garden to the front, on the side away from the harbour, separated from the street by iron railings and stone gate piers and there are very small back yards with single-storey toilet blocks - presumably for the use of servants. It is curious that the houses turn their back on Toldbodgade while the adjoining apartment buildings all face onto the street.

Along the terrace the four-storey brick houses are arranged in pairs with entrance doorways side by side with the plans of each pair mirrored. Exaggerated stone quoins are used at each end of the block and between each pair to give a marked rhythm to the facade. There are stone swags and stone architraves to the windows in the gable to the street but apart from the architraves to the doors, the main facade is very restrained with just shallow arched heads in brick to the windows. The roof is hipped at the gable end and a cornice with stone dentils runs across the front and around the gable end but is simply moulded across the back.

The houses are two rooms deep and have a raised ground floor over a service basement. The entrance is into that raised ground-floor level, into a stair hall, with a narrow front room, with a single window to the front courtyard, and there is a large room across the back with three windows looking towards the harbour with the rooms linked by a doorway as well as each having separate doors from the entrance stair hall. Were these a sitting room and dining room? The same plan is repeated on the first floor, possibly for a formal drawing room on the harbour side, with three bedrooms and a bathroom and toilet on the second floor above and with servants bedrooms or store rooms in the roof space.

Given the size of the houses and their logical and relatively sophisticated plan I would be curious to know if any early photographs survive of the interiors with original or early furniture to show how a relatively prosperous middle-class family lived in Copenhagen at the beginning of the 20th century and it would be interesting to see any documents that give the names and occupations of the people who lived here shortly after they were completed.


for plans of the houses see page 137 of Danske arkitekturstrømninger 1850-1950 by Knud Millech, edited by Kay Fisker and published in 1951