Judges upstairs, prisoners downstairs

One of the most remarkable buildings in Reykjavík is the prison, Hegningarhúsið at Skólavörðustígur 9. This large building was built in just over six months, in 1872, by a drawing by C. Klentz, who had built and drawn the plans for Íþaka, library of Menntaskólinn in Reykjavík in 1866. The building had prison cells on the lower floor, but the upper floor housed the National Court until 1919, when the Supreme Court took over its role and was housed in Hegningarhúsið until 1947. The Reykjavík City Council met in the building until 1903. Hegningarhúsið was used as a prison for 144 years, from 1872 to 2016. The conservation center and the Icelandic government made an agreement in 2017 and again in 2020 on the repairs and renovation of the building. They are still ongoing. It has not yet been decided what activities will take place in the future in this historic building that stands at on of the best locations in the capital, when the repairs are finally finished.

Hegningarhúsið at Skólavörðustígur 9

Looking up Skólavörðustígur, Hegningarhúsið at the front left and Hallgrímskirkja at the end of the street

The prisonyard

The prisonyard from the outside

The entrance to Hegningarhúsið from Skólavörðustígur

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson
22/03/2023 : A7C, RX1RII : FE 1.4/24mm GM, 2.0/35mm Z