Storkyrkobrinken to Tensta Gymnasium
- The autumn of 1994,
Tensta Gymnasium celebrated a decennium at Hagstråket in the center
- of Tensta. The
origins of the school are actually far more ancient. As a matter of
fact the school
- could have celebrated
its 700- year anniversary as the history of Tensta Gymnasium started
- the Old Town of
Stockholm with the so-called "Byskolan" (the Village
School) that was situated
- in the close vicinity
of Storkyrkan (the Cathedral of Stockholm).
is documented from 1315 but probably existed as early as in the
1290s. "Byskolan" is
- said to have been
situated just north of Storkyrkan, at the upper part of
- was then called
"Skolbacken" (School Hill). The area is now covered by the
- The teaching at
Byskolan was long performed by the vicars of Storkyrkan. In those
- church was called St
Nicolai and so was the village school. At the top of this page the
- seal of the school,
picturing St Nicolai, is reproduced.
- The first headmaster
known by name or "scolemästaren" was a certain Arvidius
in the 1310s.
- From the beginning of
the 16th century on a virtually unbroken line of headmasters is
- to the present
headmistress Inger Sandström. In the 16th and 17th centuries, many
- headmasters of the
school became bishops, archbishops, professors or Members of the
- Swedish Academy.
- At the beginning of
the 15th century there was controversy in connection with the
- of headmaster. The
Pope himself finally handed down his decision, as certified by a
- from 1419.
- Maybe the most
renowned personality in the 700-year-old antecedents of the school
- Petri, the Reformer
of Sweden. When he took up his duties in 1542, he carried through a
- for Lutheran values
and principles in the curriculum.
- Olof Petri also
introduced school theater. In 1550 Olaus himself wrote a drama with
- themes, Tobiae
Commedia, for the pupils. The play is seen as the most important
- drama of the 16th
- The school stayed in
the Old Town until 1551 when it was moved to Riddarholmen, where a
- building had been
vacated due to the closing down of the old Franciscan monastery. The
- stayed at the address
that now corresponds to 5, Birger Jarls Torg until 1666, now by the
- of Stockolms
Trivialskola. That year a move back to the center of the Old Town
- The school moved into
premises at 13, Själagårdsgatan /20, Baggensgatan. This remained
- address of the school
- The time there may be
called the classic epoch of the school, when the pupils, "djäknarna",
- were a common sight
in and outside the town during the compulsory beggars´tours several
- times a year. The
money and goods collected covered the costs of their tuition and the
- teachers´ salaries.
was demolished in 1930. Later on an
Pensioners´ Home was built in the same spot.
- Djäknarnas´ classic
epoch , mainly the 17th and 18th centuries, was no idyllic period
- behavior was far from
exemplary. In spite of each misdemeanor being severely punished,
- djäknarna remained
an unruly lot. The variety of punishments was extensive. Corporal
- punishment was
administered with bundles of twigs that the students themselves had
- and tie together.
There were specific regulations as to how many strokes each separate
- merited, on what part
of the body they were to be given and with which end of the twigs.
- infractions were
punished by arrest or by having to wear a ball and chain.
- The teaching was
extremely monotonous and unimaginative and almost exclusively aimed
- and testing homework.
Often different kinds of lessons were given simultaneously in the
- room housing two or
more groups. As work was mostly done orally the racket was
- The schoolday started
early, often at 5.30 a.m.. The class teacher was to be woken at 4
- by a pupil assigned
to this task. This pupil then had to go to the school house, make
the fires and
- light the candles,
usually tallow candles in brass candle- holders, before 5.30 a.m.
- usually made his
appearance at 6.15 a.m.
- The classroom was
sparsely furnished. The students sat on benches with no back- or
- and there was no real
table. If they wanted to write they had to do so on the bench,
sitting on a
- stool brought from
home. The stool had a drawer which should contain paper, ink and
- Vacations were
generous, exclusively for economic reasons. The regulations for
schools of 1649
- prescribed Christmas
and summer vacations, each lasting a month. At the beginning of the
- 18th century another
three weeks were added at Easter and Whitsun. In 1820 the vacations
- were increased
further so that finally 22 weeks of the year were free. In
comparison, we can
- now mention that we
only have 14 weeks free nowadays - a sizable reduction.
- The organization of
schools in those days lasted for a long time. The headmaster was the
- of the school,
assisted by a co-headmaster. An ordinary teacher was called a
- the early 19th
century, a change of headmasters each year was customary. This
- teachers to take
turns at carrying out the duties of headmaster repeatedly. Among the
- taught, theology and
the classical languages including Hebrew dominated until the 18th
- Only during J.C. Höjer´s
time as headmaster ( 1788-1806) did natural sciences begin
- mostly due to the
headmaster´s own initiative.
- In 1814 the school
moved back to Riddarholmen, to no. 7, Birger Jarls Torg, a house
- the former school
- Trivialskolan was
ranked as a " gymnasium"( cf junior college/ 6th form)as
late as 1821, in spite
- of having taught at
that level for centuries.
- The premises on
Riddarholmen were felt to be small, dark and old-fashioned. In 1880
- was finally able to
move into an imposing, palatial building at Norra Bantorget. This is
- really brilliant
period of the school's history began. The school was rechristened
- Latinläroverket and
simultaneously part of the school was relocated to Södermalm and
- name of Södra Latin.
Thus the two schools share origins.
- a palatial building designed by Helgo Zettervall.
drawing is from the end of the 1880s.
- Norra Latin was
regarded by many as the foremost and most prestigious school of
- In public
consciousness it was " the school of generations" that
fathers, their sons and
- grand-sons attended.
It was also a boys´s school for very long and girls were only
- at the end of the
- Missed by many and
deeply regretted by many sectors of Swedish society, the school
- was moved from the
building in town and relocated to Tensta. The new, boldly designed
- building thus forms
the last link of a history going back 700 years.
- When the school was
moved to Tensta it ended up in Spånga parish, a region that
- has a certain link
with an epoch in the school´s history. Spånga as well as Järfälla
- Bromma were some of
the parishes where the students of Trivialskolan walked between
- the farms during
their vacations, singing songs in Latin and begging in the 16th and
- Certain features of
what forms the special profile of Tensta Gymnasium today have their
- origins in earlier
centuries. Since the start in the 1290s the teaching of music has
- very important part.
Drama, today a prominent feature, was cherished as early as the
- 16th century onwards.
Trivialskolan was also one of the first schools in Sweden to start
- celebrating Lucia in
a way reminding us of today´s celebrations. Thus Tensta has a
continuity in this area.
- The cafeteria, today
a central spot for the pupils, also has a counterpart in times gone
- At the beginning of
the 19th century when the school was situated on Riddarholmen, there
- was an old woman who
made her living by selling sweets to the students- but she mostly
- had to stay outside
the schoolbuilding itself.
- This short historical
account is derived from a commemorative publication written
- by Kjell Öström,