Website of the Laceby History Group

Haagensen

EXTRACT FROM NORWEGIAN NEWSPAPER - 27th September 1989

Consul Peter H. Haagensen was Honoured in England forgotten in Moss

Son of a wealthy man P.H.H. was born in Moss on 3rd Aug. 1837. He had interests in travel and trade which made him cross the North Sea to Grimsby, an idyllic town on the east coast of England.

On a beautiful May day 70 years ago P.H.H. was buried in Laceby, a village in England, with all the village people there. He was buried at the highest point of the cemetery under an impressive marble memorial. P.H.H. was popular in Grimsby but unknown in his birthplace.

His legacy to Moss in 1902 bore witness not so much of his great wealth but more of his unusual personality. P.H.H. was an able businessman and became well known in Grimsby and Hull. In 1841 he became Norwegian/Swedish Consul. He looked after Union interests within trade and economy. He had dealings with local authorities and had much to do with the Royal Dock from 1882 to 1896.

Success as a Consul prompted him to move the Spring Villas, a detached house in Bargate. He and his wife had four children; Henry, Clara, Frederick and Macia. Frederick became more famous than his father. The years before the first world war were a dark and sad time for P.H.H. His first wife died and he lost most of his fortune, through bad investments probably. He realised the big time was over and moved to Bournemouth and died there on 12th May 1919.

Tourist Attraction

Some Moss people travelled to Laceby. His funeral was a big occasion and a Norwegian priest gave the sermon and there was much praise from English friends. He was laid to rest by the side of his wife Janna in the grave made for her 22 years earlier. The Haagenson Memorial is an impressive sight and many people came to see it over the years. They were able to buy miniature copies of the marble monument in porcelain which cost 2/- each. Today they are making several pounds each.

The marble monument was made from one block of marble from Carrara in Italy. It is the same place that Michaelangelo used for his marvellous statues. The grave has a marble and mosaic floor and the Consul and his wife's portraits are in relief in the walls. There is an inscription as follows:- Here lies Consul P.H.H. born in Moss, Norway on 3rd August 1837 died in Bournemouth 12th May 1919 and also his wife Janna born at Kongsvinger, Norway 7th September 1845 died in Grimsby 11th December 1897.

Legacy

In 1902 P.H.H. set up a trust in Moss of 1,500Kr. The interest should be added until the capital reached 500,000Kr (£50,000). Then this should be used in the following ways:-

1) 50,000 for seamen's missions in Moss

2) 50,000Kr to the needy

3) The remaining 400,000Kr for the hospital.

The king did not recognise this legacy so he decided it should stay in Moss Savings Bank. It's now worth 60,000Kr and it will be a long time before P.H.H. wishes are fulfilled.

When P.H.H. was buried at Laceby his son Frederick was an established artist by European standards. His paintings are of an able artist. He loved art and music and Norway. He went to Firenze in Italy and became interested in that sort of life. He stayed in Italy and travelled with a private tutor all over Europe learning the languages. When his father the Consul had needed help in Grimsby, Frederick went back to Grimsby.

A passport was made for him by Minister Sir Willian Grey so that he was free to visit Finland, Russia and European countries. Still Norway was his favourite place. Only when the Consul's business collapsed did Frederick take up his art again. he was now 47 but became famous in his lifetime. Queen Mary, Lady Chalmers of Chelsea and Princess Alice of Athlone were some of his admirers. The British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum had some of his paintings in the 1930's.

In 1977, the centenary of Frederick's birth, a large collection of his pictures was displayed in Grimsby and other towns. Frederick's wife Audrey saw to it that his paintings were shown in Norway. Some of his paintings are in the Welholme Gallery in Grimsby.

Audrey Haagenson and other relatives have visited the memorial. Some relatives are in Australia but keep in touch. A memorial plaque is on the wall of Spring Villas and it gives a potted history of P.H.H. the Consul from Moss and his family.

The Haagenson name is not forgotten in the village of Laceby. The marble monument is a memorial the villagers are proud of. Among the people of Moss his name is forgotten. Not even the strange legacy made his name well-known.

P.H.H. grew up in Herfordgarden in Moss. He ended his days as a well thought of businessman in England. His memorial is a tourist attraction in the English village of Laceby. The marble monument is also to be found as miniature porcelain copies in local antique shops. His obituary was in The Telegraph and was full of praise. His death was not recorded in the Moss newspaper.