Boatswains and chain gangs in Copenhagen
In the early 16th century, King Hans consolidated naval activities and installations in Copenhagen, at Bremerholm, where shipyards, sail drying lofts and workshops were established. But Bremerholm was also the location of an infamous prison for hardened and dangerous…
Copenhagen in flames
Friday, 5 June 1795 was a dry, sunny day. The sailors and labourers who had been lugging heavy timbers all day were relieved when the bell rang to signal knocking-off time. They could now take themselves off to the tavern for a large jug of beer. Meanwhile, a fire was smouldering in the timber store at the Bremerholm dockyards. The fire soon took hold, fed by tarred rope, old sails and other flammable material in the navy depots and workshops. Although disaster was imminent, the command of the naval dockyards refused to let civilian fire brigades in to contain the fire. The consequences were devastating: the strong southeast wind spread the fire to Gammelholm where the flames leapt across the waters of Holmens Kanal. The Great Fire of Copenhagen lasted for two days and destroyed large parts of the city.
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