School history

Blosset district and vicinity, around 1905 Photo: Kasper Salin.

Until the late 1800s there were a number of windmills in the area around the district named Blosset. The most prominent was called Stora Tisan or Rörstrandskvarnen, and was until 1887 located on Rådmansgatan which today ends in the west. The Stockholm City Orphanage was also on the same block, but was demolished around 1907 to make way for the new school building.

Road layout about 1912 and the newly built school 1910

The construction of a city block-sized building - Adolf Fredriks folkskola - began in 1907. The architect was GA Nilsson, who also developed Adolf Fredrik church. Originally intended for 2,360 students, it was completed in 1910.

 

Music director Hugo Hammarström.

In the 1930s the vocal coaches in Sweden had a substantial interest in providing music students with early vocal training. One of the music educators who was especially interested in qualified singing lessons was Hugo Hammarström.

At the suggestion of principal superintendent Brother Jonzon – he himself a choir singer and supporter of music – it was decided on June 21, 1939 that the school term from 1939 to 1940 would establish two singing units for third year students. Students would be accepted at a discretionary basis and the time for the extended musical education would be gained by reducing the time spent on home economics and crafts. Hugo was allowed to develop the curriculum and was appointed to lead the music education. Until his retirement in 1957 he was head of the musical education in singing lessons at Adolf Fredrik’s School.

Schoolyard 27 July 1944. Photo: Vimar Ericsson.

Musical activities at AF increased as the higher birth rate increased demand. At an early stage awoke the idea that a music high school was the natural continuation of the music classes at elementary school level. It became apparent that many students from the music classes at AF were exempted from the music lessons at high school level, since they were considered overqualified for the level of education available at that point!

After a series of investigations and petitions established in 1959 the Music High School was opened at the Adolf Fredrik's school where it was active until 1984 when it relocated to Kungsholmen's High School. Early on in the history of these music classes there were discussions regarding the organization's location. In the late 1950s it was suggested that the school would be divided between Norra Latin and Adolf Fredrik’s school. A fierce debate erupted among music experts, parents, and politicians, which was echoed in the press. The large group that was against the division won, but the question of division would last for almost another 30 years.

Birger Kallen directs the Advent concert in Stockholm Cathedral 1965.

A numbers of proposals underwent review during the 60s and 70s and it all culminated in the beginning of the 1980s. The final proposal was that the AF would be relocated to Västertorp / Hägersten. Renewed strong protests from teachers, students and parents followed, and the press published many articles on the topic. On TV and radio debate billowed concerning the provisions for music and the school's demand to be a centrally located and attractive alternative. The fight went under the slogan "The music in the center - save the AF".

Demonstration march 1983.

In October 1983, the fight was over: the AF was here to stay! Since then the school has been fully or partially relocated on two occasions. For a few years in the 1990s, while extensive renovations were completed, the classes were moved in part to the Vasa Real. In 2006, when the result of a thorough work-environment analysis done the year before had pointed out the need for extensive renovation work, the contents of the school were transported to the Swedish National Defence College’s (Försvarshögskolans) old premises. After two semesters in a foreign place the moving loads were transported again, in the opposite direction. From the autumn term 2007, everything was normal again, albeit in much nicer rooms!

Sources:
Stig Gunnar Forest, rector 1963-1980, from the Jubilumsboken 1989, stockholmskallan.se, Stockholm City Museum Historic Building Inventory 1987, document, Technical Museum & Wikipedia.

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