Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jeg kom til verden i en mursteinsgård.....

"Jeg kom til verden i en musteinsgård. Jeg er en gategutt."

"I was born in a red brick building. I am a street boy." These are the two first lines in a poem by Rudolf Nilsen, a Norwegian working class poet.

He was born in 1901 and lived his entire short life at Oslos East End. He is connected to Gråbeingårdene, large red-brick working class housing estates built 1884-1896 by Ole Olsen, called Gråbein (Grey Bone), due to his meaness.

These red brick buildings, 8 in all, are located at Urtegata 36, Tøyengata 36-40, Herslebs gate 32-34, Jens Bjelkes gate 14-18 og 37-39, Lakkegata 71-75, Siebkes gate 1-5 og 4-6 and Sars gate 2. They had, when built, a high standard compared to other houses nearby. Originally there were 700 flats in the 8 buildings housing more than 3500 inhabitants. Now they have been turned into 120 larger flats.

Today they are located in the increasingly expensive and popular downtown area of Oslo. These and similar buildings are currently being restored back to and even beyond their original state.

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