The French hospital witch the French built in 1902 in the land of Eyjólfsstaðir, just west of Rauðará in Reykjavík, now stands on the corner of Lindargata and Frakkastígur, in the center of Reykjavík. When the hospital was built, 200 schooners with about 4,000 sailors on board came here to the Icelandic sea-jurisdiction every season. The cod fishing season was from the beginning of February until the end of August. The French first came to fish in 1825, and it largely ended in 1914 when the First World War broke out. During these 89 years, around 4,000 French sailors died off the coast of Iceland. The hospital, which could accommodate 20 patients, and operated until 1927, had Icelandic doctors and French nurses. In 1935, the hospital was converted into a middle school, later a children’s school, and since 1977 it has housed the Reykjavík Music School. The house was renovated and returned to its original state in 1988. Two other hospitals were built by the French in Iceland, right after the hospital in Reykjavík, one in Fáskrúðsfjörður in the eastern fjords, where it now houses an excellent hotel, the third in Heimaey, which was much smaller , with room for nine patients. That house is now a residential building.
Reykjavík 12/10/2022 : A7C, A7R IV – FE 1.4/24mm GM, FE 1.2/50mm GM
Photographs & text : Páll Stefánsson