Family Photos – Life in Sauda, Norway

I have been lucky enough to receive from my Dad this week some photos of my Grandma and extended Norwegian family growing up in Sauda in the 1940s.

My Grandma Liv is the one on the right in the fetching check outfit. The photo is taken in 1939 when she would have been 16 years old.

The tall man on the right is my Great Grandad Birger Baltzersen.

The photos are from a collection of over 2000 photographs provided by many families and institutions within the town, including the archives of the Electric Furnace Products Company, and is a fascinating insight into life in Sauda.

Cross-country (or Nordic) skiing is a popular sport throughout Norway.

Sauda is a municipality of Ryfylke located in western Norway.  The town itself sits at the head of the Saudafjord where the high mountain plateaus and valleys to the East create a large basin for water capture.  Orthographic rainfall, when clouds are forced to rise by the mountains, provides a ready supply of water along over 50 rivers  and creeks linked together with numerous small and large mountain lakes.

This has made Sauda particularly popular among pioneers of developers of  hydroelectric power, and electricity is still being generated today.

The area’s industrial heritage also extends  to metal production that started under the Electric Furnace Products Company Ltd, a subsidiary to Union Carbide from 1915  until 1977.  The original plan was to produce carbide, but after only a short period, the company started producing ferrous alloy.

Using pneumatic drills to break rock.

Drilling is thirsty work so you need a beer at lunch in the staff canteen!

The company developed Sauda in a fashion not dissimilar to British factory owners during the industrial revolution.The ‘New Town’ project, Åbøbyen was a purpose-built part of town, that benefitted company employees and represented an innovative philosophy in housing.

Åbøbyen - Purpose built housing and community for the workers.

It was built by the company between 1916 and 1970.  Åbøbyen provided blue-collar workers, white-collar workers and bourgeoisie members of the upper-crust leadership housing in a well-organized part of town.  Streets, pavements, alleys of maple and lime trees, blended beautifully with housing, tennis courts, athletics fields, schools, parks and club houses.  The company saw to it that Sauda was provided with a proper hospital that catered to its inhabitants. Åbøbyen today is a protected part of town.




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3 Responses to Family Photos – Life in Sauda, Norway

  1. Åse Seim says:

    Nice to see your pictures from Sauda in the facebook group Old Sauda. From my childhood in Litlamo where Birger and Trygve Baltzersen lived, I remember I played with an English girl named Ingrid who visited her grandparents. She have two brothers, George was one of them. Are they your family?

    • Paul says:

      Hi Åse,

      Nice to hear from you. This is indeed my family. My Aunt Ingrid sadly passed away a number of years ago but her 3 brothers George, Ansell and my father Paul (who was the youngest and may not have been born when you played with Ingrid) are still with us.

      A resident from Sauda got in touch with me earlier in the week to tell me she knew my Great-Grandma who used to go to her mother to have her haircut. It’s really lovely to discover these links from the past.

      Hope you are well



  2. Sherry Swandal Knowlton says:

    I love seeing pictures of the Old Country as my granpa used to call it. What a great site and am so thankful to have run across the Norweigian site.

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