19


THE FISHERMEN’S HOME

Originally the house had only one level and was built by the fishermen as a school for visiting fishermen. One third of the pupils were under 14 year and the rest between 18 and 50. It was usual for the visiting fishermen to bring with them their young sons, some only 12 years old. Their primary task was to cook for their fathers and the other fishermen in the boat. One condition for taking them out of their home school was that they were given adequate education while in Henningsvær, during the cod season.

Fish buyers from Bergen went home and told Den Indre Sjømannsmisjon DIS (The National Mission for Seamen) about the spiritual and hygienic situation so far north. DIS decided to offer to run the school for the fishermen and enhance the services. The fishermen sold the building to DIS and the name changed to Fiskarheimen Havly. Around 1930 a second floor was added and the extension towards east was completed in 1960.

DIS wished to offer the hostel rooms where many fishermen got their first decent bath and learned the value of hygiene here. Knowledge about hygiene was something that at least some of them took home. The fishermen had access to a telephone. But above all the most important task for DIS was to promote the Gospel.  They kept to the saying “cleanliness is next to Godliness”.  The weary fisherman whose woolen clothes stunk of sweat and fish from their toil, must have had great benefit and relief from a good hot bath!

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