Generalkonsul Einar Høyvalds erindringer fra Svendborg omkring 1900

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Ved Mølledammen i SvendborgVed Mølledammen i SvendborgFra Niels Høyvald har vi modtaget følgende erindringer om det gamle Svendborg:

This history of old days in Svendborg was written by Generalkonsul Einar Høyvald in  his later years:

I am born the 19 of July 1892 in Svendborg my childhood home was  an old merchant yard
and business several hundred years old (Ludvig Petersen A/S Møllergade 64 ) . The business and the warehouses stretched between two streets Møllergade and Toldbogade.  The main building had a shop (the wholesale business had not been started then) office and living quarters. The entrance to the living quarters was through a bislag (porch) that was built over and a stream ran next to it.  Inside a rather pompous staircase went up to the bedrooms  on the first floor.  Downstairs were to the left side the private quarters and the right side the offices and the shop . In one of the offices were a funny thing on the wall with two bells on it and a marble stone to write on. ...this was a telephone.  I often sat there to see if it would ring, it did not happen too often.
It was happy times then one had time to write and the phone did not get used too much, since not many people had phones.
There were two (skänkestuer)  serving rooms (where the customers got coffee and cakes and sometimes a snaps) the one was for the larger customers and the other for the smaller ones, that time there was no jealousy only respect for each other.
I have often thought how far I could remember backwards.  I can with full certainty remember when I was 3  3/4 years old, because my old grandfather  (Nis Petersen) fetched my two years older brother Emil and took us to Frue Church where we watched the baptism of my youngest sister (Karen) why I was there and what happened that I do not remember, but I can this day tell you where I was situated in the church.

My next memory is from the spring of 1896, when Svendborg Police corps (Borgevæbningen) was invited after an exercise to have beer in the courtyard (see photo) of the old merchant yard , we used beer barrels as tables and also invited was Svendborg Music Corps who were situated around  the big table from the skænkestuen. They had high hats on and were seated to the left in the picture
Why, I can remember this, is because it was an experience to see all these uniforms, also my mother took me down in the back yard in the morning to cut beach branches to put into a figure she had made out of fathers uniform with his riffle
In the picture is seen many of Svendborgs know good citizens, only some of the children around my mother is still alive. One of the boys was Otto Halberg, he was murdered together with his nephew by the Nazis during the II WW.
The Police Corps was really called Svendborg Fire and Police Corps My great grandfather Anders Høyvald was Fire Inspector in 1837. The Corps consisted of the chairman , 2 officers and 304 private. The position as Brand Inspector was salaried with 21 Rd a year.  It was a trusted position because also under him was the watch guard and the public water works.
All expenses had to carried by the Fire Inspector.

In 1894 Cobbersmith Bendix Wivel was made fireinspector, he was married to my grandmothers sister Mathilde Lindegaard. Wivel now arranged that the corps should consist of 1 inspector, 1 assistant, 1 fire inspector, 2 leaders of the hoses, 24 firemen and 2 drummers. This corps should now be Svendborg’s Fire corps. The police corps continued to exist , but it was decided that it should have a saber in stead of rifles and bayonets , also the cap was changed to a chakot.  Since the corps was  together at a fire in 1897 it has not been  called together, however an official cancellation has not taken place.

The main house was torn down in 1899 and a new and modern one built. The warehouses built in bindingsværks style still stands and they were wonderful playgrounds for us children.
The business sold all kind of groceries, grain and fodder for the farmers. The importation happened with ships mostly from Hamburg all about 100 tons and the corn loft was especially a wonderful place to play. As children our dress was a blouse and short trousers and long stockings, short stockings were unknown then. 
In the summer the dress changed to white cotton with blue stripes . Our hair was machine cut and it cost 25 øre, when we got older we were allowed to keep a little of our front hair, but then  it cost 35 øre.
The clothes were sown at the seamstress (symadamen) , I was luckily larger than my brother so I could not fit his used clothes.

Factory shoes were unknown so when we needed shoes then we went to shoemaker Andersen on Tullebrinke, he was dressed in cross striped woolen sweater and green  apron,the way a shoemaker was dressed then. He measured us for shoes and boots, it was probably mostly boots we got then.

In Svendborg there were 3 schools , Realskolen only for boys, Frk Ida Holst girl school and then Borgeskolen. The boys from realskolen and those from Borgerskolen (we said Borreskolen) did not love each other and often it ended with fights.

I started in Realskolen it had 8  grades , when I think back on my schooling then we did not really learn to crawl up in the tree of knowledge, there were however good discipline, Senior teacher (overlærer) Mosin took care of that, he was good at giving you a great ear fig, that time is was natural and never any complaints from the parents. The was an old history teacher I really loved that was Johannes Jørgensen uncle to Svendborg famous poet and honorary citizen Johannes Jørgensen. Our grade was the first that came under the new rule of Mellemskole.
School cases or book bags were unknown, however we had a tornyster covered in sealskin (leather case you carried on your back) . When I went to school through Bagergade, I can remember an apprentice smith, who worked  over the open fire there.  It turned out to be my now very good friend The minister for Housing and Commerce Johs Kjærbøll. Kjærbøll was living as a foster child with a captain in Troense, so his interest in Svendborg is great, when he and his wife Gerda have frikadeller in my home.

There were some festive events that made an impression on me, first there was the jousts in the harbor on Fastelavns Sunday . It was started by a number of carriages that drew through town with the boats on them and the sailors dressed in white shirts and seaman pants and lacquered hats , just as in the ballet “Far from Denmark” The boats were equipped with a platform and when they passed each other they had to try and push the other fellow in the water, it was a cold experience this early spring day. , but is was exciting.

Then there was Ascension day (Kristi Himmerfartsdag)  Then we went with music to the church yard where a big monument was erected in front of the war graves from 1864 and speeches of commemorations were held.  The custom is that each grave is taken care of by a woman in town, who on this day brings a new flag for her grave, also any excess flowers from the church is brought to these graves, I think this is a nice custom.

Svendborg Citizens Shooting Organization (Skyttelaug) went out early 3 Whitsunday in the morning, first went the city’s orchestra, the bearers of the various flags and the we selected children who were allowed to carry the trophies , I was allowed to come along, but never managed to get elevate to a higher grade than being allowed to carry the container for the silver trophy. The came the King and the  Crown prince, they had banderoles on that had the previous winners year and names on. engraved on silver plates. The King and Crown prince was fetched at their home with music in the early morning  and the new King and Crown prince was also escorted home in the evening with music. I was very proud when my father became KING. I do not know if it was all very honest, because it was always the persons who could afford to pay the dinner and drinks for the whole crowd who won and got the title. This was celebrated after the shooting in Chritiansminde and the dinner at the Christiansminde Badehotel.

We had a very proud and highly elevated dance school, it was a very  dignified lady from Odense and her assistant who came weekly to teach us manners, she did really succeed, since we were scarred of her. Her name was Miss Prøvesen she was quite ironical towards us, if we put the wrong leg out first then we got a white cloth tied around the right one and of course our most admired girl would run out laughing at us. We had of course white skin gloves on and we always had to think of  as if we had spurs on and the girls long frocks.

When we got a little older we got invitations to balls and the invitation was accompanied with a dance card and a pencil in a silk cord. On the card was printed 1 dance, 2 nd dance and so on plus the table dance and extra dance. One answered the invitation by calling on the home that sent them and after the ball, you went back and thanked for the ball given.

Bogerforeningen ( The citizens club located next to the old museum Anne Hvids Gaard) held a ball the second Easter day and the second Christmas day first one for the grownups and the one for the children.  There was always a ball master. His function was to count up how many pairs there was room for on the floor. The girls had long elegant gowns and to hold them up they had a little hook they could hold on to when they danced. When the dance had lasted long enough ,,he clapped his hands and the next 20 to 30 couples were allowed to dance.  For the children the most important was the entrance march where we each got an orange and the of course the Cotillion dance where the boys could fetch flowers for girls and hats for boys from a golden carriage. It was rather barbaric because often you only got a hat and no flowers or nothing at all and it ended in a lot of crying .  Children were that then also heartless.

In our old house towards the one end (seen from the back towards the left) was two rooms for the children, here we resided with our nurse and here we were allowed to put nails in the wall and other things. The  bed rooms for us two boys and the two girls  was upstairs. We received our washing of feet and hands daily and especially our knees, only on Saturday did the big zinc bath container filled up and were washed all over.

Our house doctor was Dr Mølmark he got to become Professor  h.c. later.   He came riding to our home in a horse drawn carriage with  a coachman  and was dressed in high hat, diplomats overcoat and a walking stick with ivory handle.  When one of us got one of the children’s diseases we should get, he said to mother just dry them all with the same towel then you get them all in bed at the same time.

One of the evenings I do remember was New Years Eve and especially the one from 1899 to 1900, which was solemnly celebrated. We went with father and an older cousin (Hans Emil)
to the Market Square (Torvet) where all the fireworks were done Then the family gathered later at my onkel Emils home which was situated next to ours (Møllergade 66) . My family consisted of 3 brothers, Emil (later royal agent) Ingvard (later British Vice Consul) and my father Ludvig (later Finland’s Vice Consul) , they were married  to 3 sisters Petrine, Thora and my mother Valborg (EH forgets Carl, Ida and  Marie)  .

We all lived in Møllergade, which was very practical when they had their yearly big dinner parties, since they could borrow from each other the missing pieces of service.
The dinners were larger ,  first one dozen oysters, the soup, salt dish that is cured duck or goose, the a roast, ice, fruits and kranse kage, so you needed all kinds of dishes , silver and glasses, the dinner party was always plus 20 guests.

A speech was always given for the hostess after the roast and with much TA do and big words you would describe all the work and effort the hostess had done in the kitchen. It was some what of an untruth because mother did not dare show her face in the kitchen, the cook (kogekone) Madam Hylleborg was not easy to get close to and as the dinner progressed she became more and more intoxicated. Then there was a speech for the children and the maid showed us in our best outfits in the door .

A little after the year 1900 was the time we moved into the new house, it was a 10 room apartment 1 floor mother had fought for a large dining room and she got it.  There was no electricity , so all the rooms had to be lit with gas lights, it was really hot when we had a dinner party.  Toilets were unknown only a closet with a bucket, the contents was carried down in the yard by the maids and filled into a container there, which was emptied by the Nightman and poured into an open carriage, which then drove through town with its smelling and moveable content, if you were lucky coming home late, you might meet the Nighman and then you better hold your nose as it passed.. Later Svendborg and we got electricity and toilets installed.

Father and the two uncles were all members of the city council, so it was very conservative, they never used any of the city’s money for entertainment, if it got to be late, they carried sandwiches, so cost were low and taxes too.   Svendborg county was conservative and represented in parliament by Hoffjägermester Wenzel de Neergaard, Faarevejle. The election day was important and a big day. On the market square was a big platform and the speeches were held here, however only the closest could hear what was said since loudspeakers were not known.

In 1907 the protecting belt was abolished, this was created to protect the towns merchants and no store was allowed with in a mile of the city, before then the farmers had to drive to town to get their goods.  It was Saturday that was the big trading day, then our yard and stables were full of carriages and horses. Especially Easter Saturday was a very big day called
Spring Saturday. In 1907 they could establish small stores in the country counties and father then changed his business to wholesale only.

In 1907 I also started my apprenticeship in Rudkøbing, Langeland. I was in the store from 7 am till 8 p.m., then 3 to 4 evenings in Commercial School till 10 p.m.  . Then we got the 8 p.m. closing law and we loved it, since now we could get home at 8 p.m. , however Saturday we worked till 6 p.m. ( NH 7 am till 6 p.m. and then evening school till 10 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m.). One should offer those conditions to today’s youth. 

Movie theaters did not exist, only now and then came a rowing move theater to town. I once saw a movie in a summer market of a man getting his head shopped off during an execution and an other the murder of King and queen Draga, I was all shook up, so was the movie !, when it was shown.