The history of Lövstabruk

In the forests of northern Uppland lies Lövstabruk, one of many ironworks settlements founded in the 16th century onwards to process iron ore from mines at Dannemora and elsewhere. The ore, once it had been smelted in the blast furnace, was forged by hand into bar iron, a high-quality product in great demand, especially in England. Bar iron was thus an important export that benefitted the economy of both the local area and the country as a whole.

Around the blast furnace and forge were homes and outhouses for the industrial workers, office staff and others who were needed to produce iron and maintain daily life at Lövstabruk. The De Geer family, owners of the works since 1643, lived here too, in a manor house surrounded by a large park, divorced from the settlement and yet central to the community.

Lövstabruk’s present-day appearance dates from its restoration following the Russian attack of 1719. This is an urban environment of straight streets, rectangular blocks, neat homes, some monumental buildings in the centre and, on the opposite shore of the lake, the manor house and attractive ancillary buildings. And the well-preserved church houses an equally well-preserved organ, built by Johan Niclas Cahman in 1728. This well-ordered, neat and evocative environment reflects care and consideration, and pronounced patriarchal social structure too.

The year 1926 marked the end of an era – Lövstabruk ironworks closed. Production by craftsmen had been outcompeted by large-scale industry. The forges and works buildings were demolished, and Lövstabruk eventuall became a sleepy, idyllic little settlement that charms its visitors. To give an impression of Lövstabruk in its heyday, the Association of the Friends of Leufsta and the Cahman Organ have prepared the following narratives. They aim to help visitors appreciate this environment and learn more about an important era in Swedish history.

Karl Johan Eklund and Erik Hamberg
Translation: Aidan Allen