City of degradation

Roughly a hundred years ago, there was a Stockholm neighbourhood in western Kungsholmen, at the intersection of Mariebergsgatan and Fleminggatan close to what is today Saint Göran’s Hospital in Stadshagen, with barrack-like tenement housing known as Skogshyddan (‘Forest Cabin’). There were forty one-room apartments, occupied largely by widows or abandoned mothers and their children. It must have been in what was then the outskirts of town. In the same place today, there is a small park and an entrance to the underground (Fridhemsplan, the one going straight down to the blue line). I have often biked or walked past the place; it is a hilly and a slightly shabby area where the more genteel Kungsholmen turns into the concrete desert and busy roads of Stadshagen.

Maria Sandel (1870–1927) lived here in a tiny room with a tiled oven, first with her mother until her death in 1908, and then alone until her own death. She was completely deaf since the age...

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