Bókhlöðustígur, a street with its own story

Stöðlakot at Bókhlöðustígur 6 built by Jón Árnason the rich was built in 1872 and is probably the oldest stone house in Reykjavík. It is believed that Stöðlakot was first built around 1600, and then as one of Reykjavík sub-tenants. The name suggests that there was a stall from Vík, but a stall is the place where ewes and cows were milked. Farming seems to have been insignificant according to the land register from 1703. There were five registered household members in Stöðlakot, but only two cows. The fields very rocky, but well cultivated.

Bókhlöðustígur takes its name from the book-barn/library of Menntaskólinn in Reykjavík, built in 1866-67, and traditionally called Íþaka. But it was an English world-traveller, Charles Kelsall, after coming here for a visit and being impressed that such a poor and small nation could maintain an independent culture, bequeathed in his will, in 1853, 1000 pounds to build a library at the Latin School in Reykjavík, the predecessor of MR. This is the first building built exclusively for a library in Iceland. Stöðlakot is opposite Íþaka, on the south side of Bókhlöðustígur.

Stöðlakot is one of the capital’s oldest stone houses

Looking down and west on Bókhlöðustígur

Artwork by Páll of Húsafell (Páll Guðmundsson) at Stöðlakot

Íþaka, the library of MR, built in the years 1866-1867 with the help of donations from Charles Kelsall

The upper side of Bókhlöðustígur

Looking up Bókhlöðustígur from Lækjargata

Stöðlakot, built in 1872

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson
Reykjavík  28/08/2023 : RX1R II : 2.0/35mm Z