Trondheim, Honningsvåg, Brønnøysund, Hammerfest,  Norway

Walking into the town from the pierhead, the first lettering example encountered (and the only one we found of this kind – Trondheim is a well-cleaned place) was a piece of trade lettering on a gable end.

3 Carl Johans Gate
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trondheim 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trondheim 22020 images
A. Dahl & Co. was originally founded in 1873 by Anders P. Dahl (1845-1908) manufacturing all sorts of goods for ladies and gentlemen. It also had an equipment and leather goods department and a tailor's workshop for women's and men's clothing. It's not clear whether the company is still in business.

Søndre gate/Carl Johans Gate
Below: An eyecatcher on the corner with Carl Johans Gate.
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Further along Søndre gate, on the crossroads with Olav Tryggvason Gate, stands another eye-catcher of a corner building with highly decorative dome and the monogram 'MJ' or 'JM' appearing twice.
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13-15 Søndre gate
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This run of buildings, continuing round the corner into Kongens gate, is currently the Norway headquarters of the Danish banking house, Danske Bank. Number 13 is the most decorative with its 'Nordic Art Nouveau' facade of rusticated stonework and arched entrance and windows.
Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 3   Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 4
High on the facade, the street is looked over by the head of the Roman god Mercury surrounded by snakes. Mercury has essentially the same aspects as Hermes, wearing winged shoes (talaria) and a winged hat (petasos), and carrying the caduceus, a herald's staff with two entwined snakes that was Apollo's gift to Hermes. He is the god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he also serves as the guide of souls to the underworld. Reading that roster, one wonders if the architect, presumably originally working for a banking client, had a sense of humour.
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Below: the decorative monogram built into the stonework of the arch '14' indicates that this area was renumbered.

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The condensed 'large and small' capitals here have dropped capital 'S's. 'Sparebank' means savings bank in Norwegian. Established in 1842, Strindens eventually merged with other savings banks in 1975.

19 Kongens gate
Below: a highly decorated palladian facade on the School of music in Kongens gate. One cherub plays a flute, the other a lute.
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The Arve Tellefsen sculpture at the lower right of the general view celebrates the Trondheim-born violinist (born 1936).
Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 9b

Vår Frue (Our Lady) Church on Kongens gate
Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 10   Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 11   Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 12
The elevation on the Kongens gate is a patchwork of polychrome stonework, speaking of ages of history. This, the eastern part, is identical to the original medieval church which dates from the late 12th century. The exterior had been plastered and painted white, but this was removed to reveal its original medieval state.
Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 14
The tower bears a clock on every face and the west elevation features a golden crown and royal monogram with the date '1739' all in gold metal.
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However, the typically Catholic (more correctly the Lutheran Church of Norway) interior, forward of a large café area, with much carving, gilding and painted iconography – and within the 'entrance hall' is the date '1686' in wrought iron. The two dates on the tower relate to its much later building and rebuilding than the original nave and chancel.

City Square
Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 13   Ipswich Historic lettering: Trondheim 13aAerial view
The work of sculptor Wilhelm Rasmussen (1879-1965), this staue honours King Olav Tryggvason who was the city's founder. The 18 metre (58 foot) high statue is mounted on top of an obelisk. It stands at the centre of the city square (Torvet i Trondheim) at the intersection of the two main streets, Munkegata and Kongens gate. The statue was unveiled in 1921. Around the base is a cobblestone mosaic, dating from 1930, which forms a gigantic sun dial with the column as its gnomon. The sun dial is calibrated to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)+1, meaning that the reading is inaccurate by one hour in the summer.
This city, as one might expect in Norway, is very clean: little litter, chewing gum or cigarette butts in the street; even the snow is ploughed into a neat pile.

Nidaros Cathedral
It would be remiss not to acknowledge the nearby Nidaros Cathedral: a cathedral of the Church of Norway. 'Nidaros' is the medieval name of Trondheim when it was the capital of Norway's first Christian kings. It is built over the burial site of King Olav II (c. 995-1030, reigned 1015-1028), who became the patron saint of the nation. It is the traditional location for the consecration of new kings of Norway. It was built over a 230 year period, from 1070 to 1300 when it was substantially completed. However additional work, additions and renovations have continued intermittently since then; the most recent changes were completed in 2001. Nidaros was designated as the cathedral for the Diocese of Nidaros in 1152. After experiencing the turmoil and controversies of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, it was taken from the Catholic Church by the newly established state Church of Norway in 1537, which adopted the teachings and reforms of Martin Luther, Phillip Melancthon and others, becoming an Evangelical Lutheran church. Nidaros is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.
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The restoration of the West Front took from 1905 to 1983 and was worked on by a large number of sculptors.
This medieval gothic extravaganza is therefore modern.

Street furniture
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These two plates probably indicate water hydrants.
Trondheim goes in for very chunkily cast manhole covers. The one on the left (and that below it) depict a man of religion on the left and a king on the right with the scales of justice between them; three faces appear below. The top version is cast by 'FURNES'; the lower is by 'ULEFOS'.
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The manhole cover above right certainly does its best to avoid pedestrians slipping on the ice which frequently forms on the pavements and metal covers. The casting is by 'ULEFOS'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trondheim 17   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trondheim 21a
The city certainly makes full use of the local stone setts on its pedestrian areas. Above right, another product by 'ULEFOS': a drainage cover in a cast iron surround, the whole covered in code lettering.

Britannia Hotel, Dronningens gate 5
This one was something of a surprise – a luxury hotel in Norway called 'The Britannia'. However, the links between the United Kingdom and Norway  go back much further than the close ties of the Second World War (when the Nazis  laid waste to much of the country and many Norwegians died). Vikings from Norway formed an important part of Britain's history and Anglo-Saxons of Britain knew and travelled to the Kingdom of Norway in the ninth century.
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Very high on the pediment in front of the dome is a monogram 'AC' or 'CA'.

The old Post Office (Hovedpostkontoret, aka Posthuset), Dronningens gate 10
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The letter-boxes are named thrice: 'POST'.
The building has been formally closed to the public since the postal service terminated its operations there back in 2013 and moved office to the basement beneath a Burger King and a glassware shop.
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This monumental and imposing edifice was one of Karl Norum‘s last masterpieces before he died in 1911. He designed six buildings of Jugendstil style in Trondheim, but those are some of the most famous and most beautiful buildings in town. Art Nouveau was named in Belgium and flourished in Paris; in Germany and Scandinavia, it was called Reformstil ('Reform style'), or Jugendstil ('Youth style'), after the popular German art magazine of that name. The coastal town of Ålesund is famous as an Art Nouveau town because of the concentration of what we might call 'Nordic Art Nouveau' architecture (perhaps a more austere variation of the style compared to the sinuous whiplash style of French Art Nouveau architecture). While not underestimating the fine display of such buildings in Ålesund (saved almost by chance from demolition in modern times, but now celebrated), in fact Trondheim has numerically even more of this style of building; however, they are more scattered around the city.
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The grotesque, but endearing, corbels beneath the projecting window also carry the postal service crest.
The metalwork, crowned 'angry birds' holding the lamps mark this exterior out.

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While we're visiting coastal Norway, let's look at some other lettering examples including a couple of typical village/town churches with dated weather-vanes.

Honningsvåg church
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Honningsvåg church   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Honningsvåg church
This, perhaps, rather humble-looking church has a rather more fancy pinnacle than that below (although the latter's architecture is more sophisticated). The weather vane is pierced to form the date '1885'.

Brønnøysund church
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Brønnøysund church   Ipswich Historic lettering: Brønnøysund church
Another pierced weather vane, here dated '1870'.
See also some similar examples of dated weather-vanes in Ipswich.

The Meridian monument, Fuglenes, Hammerfest
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Hammerfest: The Struve Geodetic Arc   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Hammerfest: The Struve Geodetic Arc
The meridian column on Fuglenes in Hammerfest is a modest monument to one of the biggest scientific tasks in the world: that of measuring the planet itself. It marks the start of a 2,820 kilometer arc that ends in the Black Sea.

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve (1793–1864), the German geophysicist who was the director of the stellar observatory at the University of Dorpat in Russia (now Tartu in Estonia) began work on mapping the exact shape and size of the planet in 1816. In his work, von Struve used 265 measurement points – triangulation points – that form a 2,820 kilometer-long arc from Finnmark to the Danube Delta.

How is the planet measured? By putting so many measurement points along a meridian (the vertical lines on a map) it was possible to calculate the exact size and shape of the planet, which allowed cartographers to create more accurate maps. The project thus represented a giant scientific leap forward and was also an early example of scientific collaboration across national borders. Struve’s meridian belt crosses 10 countries. In 2005, 34 of the triangulation points – the ones that are distinguished by a landmark – became protected and included as cultural memorials on the UNESCO world heritage list. In the 1800s, the project involved two countries: Russia and Sweden/Norway. Today, Struve’s Geodetic Arc spans ten countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.

Hammerfest is the most northerly town in the world – and, at that time, the most northerly place in the world that scientists could reasonably travel to – and it marks the north end of the arc. It was here that the Meridian Column was erected in 1854, inscribed with the following text (in translation):
‘The northernmost end of a geodetic arc at 25° 20′ from the northern ocean to the Danube river – through Norway, Sweden and Russia. On the instructions of HM Oscar I and Emperors Alexander I and Nicolaus I, using unbroken geometries. Latitude: 70° 40′ 11.3″.’

Ironically, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve is not mentioned on the column. It was ever thus.

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