Sunday, February 23, 2020

A walk through the history of our new home

A wonderful thing about Denmark, is that they seem to have photo-documented it from the sky in a significant amount of detail, as far back as the 1940s! That means that although I now simply live in a large white bungalow, I can see not only how my house looked when it was a working farm, but also what they did with the garden, field and outhouses. The amount you can zoom in is also quite amazing for the time. So here goes:

I've taken a current google satellite shot and drawn the boundary of our garden on it as a guide before uploading the older pics just as a starting point.


And here's a front shot from the schedule when we bought it in 2019.


So, the first aerial shot I found was from 1948, taken from the right hand side as you are looking at it on the photo above. At this point it would have been 43 years old, as the deeds say it was built in 1905.


The house is a third smaller as the extension on the left hand side which houses our bedroom, Amaia's, the living room and the turret room had not yet been built. It had a sweet little thatched roof, a large outhouse and a small thatched garage where we now only have a little fenced-in bin area. The next door neighbour, which is simply a residential house now, seems to be the corner shop back then - now that would have been useful for a pint of milk! And across the road I can see a petrol pump too, which would also have been nice! Although the front lawn in our garden is grass, the majority of what we now have as a front lawn seems to be an orchard back then. What a pity that's gone, although we now have an orchard behind the house so maybe that was simply moved up.

The next shot I found was from 1949 and taken from behind the house.


To a certain extent this one is less interesting as you can only see the back of the outhouse, the thatched rood and chimney but it is interesting to see that the garage across the road also seemed to be a shop back then. And it's sweet to see the neighbours, complete with celebratory Danish flag, out looking up at the photographer. I wonder if the tree in the foreground is the one we park beside today?

Skipping forward next to 1953 and we have an almost identical shot to the 2020 satellite picture above. Here's the outline but I'll include a larger shot of the same below.


The barn at the very back of our current garden isn't yet there and the garage and tool room we have at the front of the field is missing too. The front lawn seems to be half fruit trees, half vegetables back then. And I wonder if the tree behind the outhouse in this is our wonderful old oak tree in an earlier iteration (see the big tree half covering our garage above).

1953 seems to have been quite a prolific year. The next shot from then seems to be annotated.


Key for non-Danish speakers

zink - zinc
straa - straw (cute that they've used the pre-1948 spelling here)
rød - red
vand - water

So our house used to be red brick on the front! And by the looks of this there was a little girl living here back then - she looks around 10 so she'd be 77 now! I wonder who she is!

Moving forward, we're still on 1953.


It looks like the little girl has an even smaller sister. This is the first shot on which I can see a water pump in the garden and a little shed.

And here's the last one I found from 1953. It shows the neighbour's lake nicely and also our neighbour who lives up the lane - these days their house is only visible in winter when the trees are bare.


I found nothing from 1954, but they seem to have flown over again in 1955.


Now there's a baby in our house - isn't that a sweet pram going up our driveway?! This baby must be 65 now! A few more family members can be seen on the front lawn too. I swear the hedge is the same!😁

In 1956 they seem to have taken the first colour shots. Ironically the quality is slightly less sharp, but it is interesting all the same. This one seems to have been taken in winter which might account for the less bright colours.

1956 (1)

It seems the area all around the neighbour's lake was cultivated back then. You can see it better on the black and white one taken at the same time.

1956 (2)

Next up we have 1959

1959 (1)

I like this one a lot. It is the first time I get to see the back. There is a little thatched chunk jutting out where I now have the laundry and shower room, and Léon's bedroom window is clearly visible and still looks the same. I presume when it was double glazed they made exact copies of the original windows, which is nice. The family make another appearance in the front garden too.. Who were they? I can also see some cages of some sort in the bottom right, where we now have the turret room. Are the chickens, rabbits or what? 

Further afield I can make out that the garage across the road also had an ice cream stand - how sweet is that? This must have been a much more exciting place to live before it simply became a commuter village of Odense. Having zoomed in, I can see the sign reads Hesselager flødeis and on googling that I found how it must have looked close up. See this link. Nice car at the Gulf garage too!

1959 (2)

This is the best view of the right hand side and the little thatched garage behind - how I wish we'd inherited that too, it's so cute!

We've almost got to the end of what I have managed to track down so far, but here's a very friendly one from the family who lived here in 1961.


The only other photo I have managed to track down was from the ground, not the air, and dates from around 1985. Little had changed with the main house even then - there's no extension yet and it's still thatched, although it has now been painted to its current white instead of the red of the previous shots but already the outhouses and thatched garage seem to be missing in this one so I guess the working farm was no more by then.


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