Rigsbjergkvarter 1: Stadsrenden

Updates: Stadsrenden west of Hvidovrevej: Jan 2022: the Ege Alle oak tree case is ongoing; Mar 2022: 14 day prison sentences handed down, surely The End

With spring in the air Beagle nr 3 and I are extending the range of our five walks, revisiting streets I’ve not been to for years and venturing to new places. At nearly nine months Lubo is well up for a long walk, especially as our basic routes become familiar. A typical hound, he finds it hard to settle without a lot of stimulation, but after a solid beagling session he is able to sleep soundly in the afternoon. Frankly, we’re all worn out.

Continuing our lost rivers theme we’ve started looking for traces of local watercourses which have come in and out of the landscape.

The path follows a stream, although technically it’s only a drain and a fairly runty one at that. (source: DG)

That’s pretty much what we’re working with here.

The centre and west of the kommune was once home to Stadsrenden, a drainage channel dug during the 19th century, extending through the fields and meadows south through what is now Bredalsparken to the sea and north as far as Brøndbyøster. When groundwater levels fell in the late 1970s the drainage function was confined to pipes running under Sønderkær and Arnold Nielsens Boulevard (see 1962 map).

Left behind was an empty ditch, gradually filled in along most of its length. West of Hvidovrevej one physical trace remains on the spur which ran north, but memories are still fresh for those who grew up on the nearby housing estate. A video from 1976 shows the stream as it once was, at the heart of Hvidovre’s own Sherwood Forest. Now only a redundant footbridge (again) remains amid the tidy deserted lawns, with children coralled into play areas and dogs and outsiders striclty not allowed.

Stadsrenden at Spurvehøjvej

East of Hvidovrevej Stadsrenden ran through Risbjergkvarter, an area of detached houses, before feeding into Harrestrup Å. The ditch runs behind the short terrace at Sønderkær 47-55 (see 1988 pic), if the ample greenery which can be spotted from Poppel Alle counts as evidence, backing onto a back garden on Ege Alle. A smidgeon can also be glimpsed running between Birke Alle 17-19 through Sydkærsvej (at 81/83 & 84/86; 1989 pic) into the park.

The houses in this area offer particularly fine examples of changing fashions in private housebuilding during the 20th century and beyond. With Beagles 1 & 2 I tracked down many of the listed houses from the council’s list; how much protection this offers it is hard to say, as several have now been demolished and a new, slimmer list published; another sign of the ever-changing landscape.

Stadsrenden ran through four broad streets batch-named after trees. In the dendrologic equivalent of nominative determinism Ege Alle does house some oaks, the existence of which caused a storm in the local paper during the autumn. Residents of the cul-de-sac backing onto Stadsrenden lined the street with trees around 20 years ago, but the council seems only to have spotted this recently, and cut three of them down; both these actions were agin the local plan or otherwise illegal. In a rare green turn the council is to replant the oaks, at a cost of DK 220K (there is more, but that’s the gist of it).

oaks – and missing oaks – on Ege Alle (photo: Hvidovre Avis)

The stolid murmester (master builder) villa at the junction of Ege Alle with Vestkærs Alle was built in 1934, and housed Købmand Aagaard, the Danish equivalent of the corner shop, for nearly 40 years. Once part of the local community’s lifeblood, most of these shops closed in the 1970s as the shopkeepers retired and supermarkets opened on Hvidovrevej.

These two houses on Elme Alle caught my eye, built at almost the same time but looking in different directions:

Birke Alle, closing in on the park, packs a punch, with six out of 29 houses listed. At nr 3 is Forgylder Henry Kibenichs havehus, a ‘garden’ house from 1934 set at the rear of the plot to yield a year-round supply of fruit and vegetables, while at nr 19 is Overpolitibetjent Axens moderne hus, a rare modernist gem from 1964 built for the local police sergeant. Sadly, today’s newbuilds tend to be rather less generous.

ultimate teardown (details redacted)

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