Skydebanehaven - The Shooting Gallery Park

 

The large building onto Vesterbrogade but set back beyond a forecourt was built in 1787 for the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society. Until this summer it was the Museum of Copenhagen which has now closed pending a move to a building close to the City Hall.

The shooting range itself was a broad strip of open ground that ran down to the sea shore and can be seen clearly on 19th century maps. At that stage the south approach to the harbour was much wider and the sea shore was on the line what is now Sønder Boulevard. First a railway into the city was constructed along the shore and gradually land beyond was claimed from the sea and built over so the shooting gallery became rather cut off and in 1887 a large screen wall in brick was constructed across the south end of the gallery to prevent stray bullets injuring citizens on Istedgade. This is the screen wall at the end of a short street of houses with a gateway at the centre that now provides a partially hidden access to the gardens and play area on the site of the shooting gallery. 

The Skydebanegade apartments were built over the south part of the shooting, on the south side of Istedgade in the 1890s just after the wall was constructed. 

The park has become an important green space in the area. Several blocks of slum houses at the south end on the west side were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s as part of an extensive slum clearance programme and the space was opened up to link through to streets beyond. The space is open but not completely successful … the north part of the shooting gallery feels much more like a large Copenhagen courtyard but, at the south end, the space seem to leach out and break down on the west side creating odd chopped off rows of houses and odd views of the backs of houses that were not designed to be seen.

Even so this is an amazingly important and much used green space.

 

The children's play ground at the south end of the shooting gallery with the screen wall beyond that was built in 1887 ... apparently to protect people walking along the street beyond being hit by stray bullets

 

Vesterbro in 1879. Istedgade was still only open in sections. The line of the brick screen wall can be seen but it was not constructed until 1887. The railway, marked as ‘Nedlagt Jernbane’ was still then on the line of what is now Sønder Boulevard and the first areas of new land out into the sound had been claimed and a new gasworks and the first buildings of the meat market constructed.

 

The north part of the shooting gallery with the back of apartment buildings on Absalonsgade

The gable end of apartments on Dannebrogsgade demolished to extend the park to the west

Looking east across the shooting gallery towards the back of apartment buildings on Absalonsgade