Small house, big story 

Garðhús, a small house that stands at a special place on Mýrargata, opposite Bakkastígur on the west side of Reykjavík Harbor, is quite special. Built in 1884 by Bjarni Oddson, maritime pilot and fisherman, and his wife Þuríður Eyjólfsdóttir. Garðhús is now one of the very few so-called stone houses still standing in Iceland. The couple’s granddaughter, Þuríður Dýrfinna Þorbjarnardóttir was born in the house in 1891, at thirty years old she was fluent in many languages, she was hired to work at Hotel Skjaldbreið, on Kirkjustræti, just west of the Parliament building, Alþingi. There she met the Marquis Henri Charles Raoul de Grimaldi d’Antibes et de Cagne from Monaco, and married him in the Cathedral in October 1921. They then sailed on a honeymoon to Lisbon, where this Marquise of Monaco had great properties. Þuríður Dýrfinna died three years later in Brussels from tuberculosis.


Garðhús at the beginning of last century. Salted fish dried on site

Garðhús, looking to the east, shipping yard seen in the background

The front of the house, Borgarsögusafn Reykjavíkur, the city’s historical library, has put up lots of information signs around the city both for tourists as well as Icelanders

The present and history, looking to the north-west along Mýrargata

Reykjavík 17/10/2022 : A7R IV, A7R III – FE 1.2/50mm GM, FE 2.8/100mm GM

Photographs & text : Páll Stefánsson