Sverrigsgade Workers Housing

Sverrigsgade 17-63 1869
Brigadevej 34-46
Finlandsgade 2 and 4

looking west down Sverrigsgade
the alley through to Brigadevej
is at the end of this first row

Workers' houses on Sverrigsgade were built on a narrow and oddly-shaped strip of land between Hallandsgade and Brigadvej that had been owned by the veterinary school but, shortly after they moved to Frederiksberg in 1858, it was sold at auction, in part to private buyers and in part to LP Holmblad the manufacturer of candles, soap and paint.

A new road, then called Nygade - New Street - was laid out with two sharp angles along the length and Holmblad built houses and a school at the far end of the street on the north side of  which two pairs of houses survive.

Land on the south side of the road was sold to the engineering company Burmeister Wain and they were responsible for the building of the rest of the workers' housing.

Sverrigsgade Map.jpg
Sverrigsgade historic view.jpg

There is a drawing in the national archive - Danmarks Kunstbibliotek - of an initial scheme designed by the architect Henrik Steffens Sibbern and dated 1866. That shows a row of eight houses facing north on the first part of the street before a short alley cutting through at an angle to Brigadevej and then, after the first corner, a continuous row with five houses facing east, then two at an angle across the next corner and then, on the same continuous row, eight more houses facing north.

Behind them, to the south and with a very narrow space between, there were to be 13 houses facing south west and then beyond, to the east of the alley a further row of eleven houses along Brigadevej with a bend at the centre of the row. In that initial design there were 47 houses and as, presumably, each house was to have been subdivided into an upper and a lower apartment then that would have been housing for more than 90 families.

A second drawings omits the alley and has a continuous row of 25 houses along Brigadevej.

The houses as built were different with a row of eight on the first section of Nygade, on the south side of the road so facing north. Then, after the alley, a row of 8 houses facing east - the last house larger and extending round the corner - and then, after this second corner, four pairs of houses facing north. These are now identified as the addresses Sverrigsgade 17-63.

the pairs of houses at the far end of Sverrigsgade

Brigadevej 34-46

A revised drawing by Sibbern for the remaining houses is dated 1871. This is for six houses in a row facing south, now Brigadevej 34-46, and a pair of houses in line to their west but set back and now having the addresses Finlandsgade 2 and Finlandsgade 4.

The two-storey houses are relatively wide with a front door to one side and two windows on the ground floor with three windows on the first floor. The door leads into an entrance passage with a staircase on one side towards the back half of the house where the passage continues back to a door out into a back garden. The houses have an almost-square room to the front and two narrow rooms to the garden side, the room next to the garden door fitted out as a kitchen with a fireplace for cooking against the cross wall between the front and the back rooms. Each of the other rooms is shown with a stove for heating close to the kitchen fire so they can share the same flue that rises up to a central chimney at the ridge of the roof. Above, the plan on the first floor has two rooms to the front with a wider room continuing over the entrance and the first-floor apartments had a kitchen above the ground-floor kitchen beside a staircase continuing up to an attic.

At the rear of the houses, the plan shows circles across the party wall between pairs of houses that were, presumably, water wells, and each house had a small toilet at the end of the garden that must have been an earth or ash closet … water closets are not built in the city until about 1900.

The houses are built in brick with simple decoration including bands or strings of brick set forward between the floors and bricks set diagonally along the eaves to form a zig-zag decoration to form a cornice.

A house at the centre of the first row along Sverrigsgade has a plaque below a first-floor windows inscribed Anno 1869.



The name of the street was changed from Nygade to Sverrigsgade in 1902.