Classen Mansion

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Classen Mansion
Det Classenske Palæ
Det Classenske Palæ.JPG
The main entrance on Havnepladsen
General information
Architectural style Neoclassical
Location Helsingør
Country Denmark
Coordinates 56°2′5.57″N 12°36′54.98″E / 56.0348806°N 12.6152722°E / 56.0348806; 12.6152722Coordinates: 56°2′5.57″N 12°36′54.98″E / 56.0348806°N 12.6152722°E / 56.0348806; 12.6152722
Construction started 1791
Inaugurated 1793

The Classen Mansion (Danish: Det Classenske Palæ) is a Neoclassical town mansion situated on Strandgade in Helsingør, Denmark. It was built for a prosperous businessman in the 1790s and now houses the local Odd Fellows Lodge. The house overlooks Helsingør's harbourfront at Wibroes Plads and is flanked by Skibsklarerergaarden to the left and the Stephan Hansen Mansion to the right.

History[edit]

The building shown on a painting from the late 18th century

One of Helsingør's largest merchant houses, a four-winged complex with timber framing, was formerly located at the site. In 1785, it was acquired by Jean Jacob Claessen, a wealthy merchant, shipowner and "ship handler". The property was located next to Jean Christopher van Deurs' trading company in which his father Andreas Classen had become a partner in 1765. The house was rather neglected and Classen replaced it with the current house in 1791–93. The new house was built by A. C. Wilcken under the supervision of Caspar Frederik Harsdorff. The balcony at the top of the building was used as a lookout. This position ensured the best view for lookouts to spot approaching ships on the Øresund. A row of houses was at Classen's time located on the other side of the street, blocking the view of the sea from the lower floors. They did not disappear until a fire in 1938.[1]

The situation for the shipping business changed dramatically after the turn of the century following the onset of the French Revolutionary Wars and Denmark's conflict with Britain. In 1792 and 1796, 12,000 merchant ships called at Helsingør. By 1808, the number had dropped to 121. Classen's widow ran the company after his death in 1806 but the times did not improve and it went bankrupt in 1816. Classen's son-in-law, Christian Borries, managed to save part of the activities in Salig Arendt van Deurs enke & Co which survived the abolishon of the Sound Dues in 1857 but his two sons had to close it in 1862.

In 1827, the house was sold to the merchant P. Chr. Schierbeck. In 1857 it changed hands again when it was acquired by the trading company Fenwick & Co., which had formerly been based at Strandgade 85–87. It was then sold to the merchant C.V. Ulstrup before it was acquired by Landmandsbanken in 1904. Later tenants have included the local pilot services, a travel agent and a wine company. The local Odd Fellows Lodge has used the building since 1995.

Architecture[edit]

looking into the courtyard

The Neoclassical main wing is eight bays wide and consists of two storeys and an elevated cellar. A four bay central projection rises in a wall dormer topped by a roof terrace. The façade has few decorations. It is likely that it originally stood in blank, red brick similar to that on the building's rear. Part of the foundation and vaulted cellar may date from the older building or alternatively some of the bricks from that house may have been reused.[2]

Am 11-bay, two-storey wing projects from the rear side of the building. It connects to a rear wing which originally contained the stables.

Cultural references[edit]

In his 1923 novel Erik Gudmand, Alexander Svedstryp has described the everyday life of a bourgeois family in the house in the 19th century.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Strandgade 93" (in Danish). Helsingør Leksikon. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Sag: Det Classenske Palæ" (in Danish). Kulturstyrelsen. Retrieved 17 December 2015.