Världsarvet Engelsbergs bruk
Engelsberg Ironworks, listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO 1993.
Information: Fagersta tourism
The Engelsberg ironworks is considered to be one of the finest industrial monuments in the world, and was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1993.The works gets its name from Englika, a homesteader of German origin, who came here in the 14th century. The first owner of the Engelsberg works was Per Larsson, who took the name of Gyllenhöök on being ennobled. In 1728, the Söderhielm family inherited most of the business and worked ardently to improve it. A new blast furnace was built in 1779, and this forms the basis of the one we can see today. The works was managed by the Timm family between 1825 and 1916, and the smelting house was modernized and extended. Even the forge was rebuilt. Finally, improved communications facilitated the transport of ore and finished bar iron.
The works was taken over by the Avesta Järnverk ironworks in 1916 and just three years’ later was closed down. Had it not been for the interest taken by consul general Axel Ax:son-Johnson and his descendants, the works would probably have been lost to posterity by now.
Industrial installations and gardens flourish side-by-side here. From the tree gardens, an avenue leads to the manor house, which was built in 1746 to replace the older manor that had stood there before. The kitchen was situated in the older, east wing of the house, while the west wing or annexe was built in the 1780s to accommodate Lorentz Peter Söderhielm’s 19 children (born of two marriages). The round towers are built of slagstone; one was used as a summerhouse and the other as an earth closet.
Down from the manor house is the blacksmith’s forge, one of the best preserved examples of its type. Along the road from the works can be seen typical farm buildings—granaries, stables, pigsties and the old farm office.
Workers’ homes were situated away from the central area of the works. The Engelsberg smelting house is one of just a few remaining “mulch-timber” smelteries in the country. (These are blast furnaces with an outer timber cladding on the upper section, which is insulated with sand and soil—hence the “mulch”.)
The original furnace shaft, which had a length of just over nine metres, was given an outer lining of brick and raised three metres in the 1870s. What is unique about the Engelsberg blast furnace and forge is that the water-wheel, ore crusher, blower and tilt hammer are all still operational, and can be seen working when demonstrations are given.
A craft shop and café, situated near the entrance, are open during the summer in the slagbrick house—where you can also book your visit. At other times booking should be made via the Tourist Information Office in Fagersta.