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The trading centre at Langøyna, Fjell

The trading centre at Langøyna has been well restored. (Svein Nord).

Up to 1842 it was necessary to have a royal letter of privilege in order to carry out trade. According to the law only city dwellers were allowed to obtain such a privilege, and in Hordaland it was thus the citizens of Bergen who owned and ran the trading centres. In 1842, following a liberalisation of the trading legislation, the privilege arrangement was abandoned and anyone could apply to the municipal council for permission to carry out trading activity. Landøy is one of the places that were established in this period.

When Anders and Rakel Langøen opened a trading store on Langøyna around 1890 the trading centres were few and far between, and thus the hinterland was extensive. From large parts of Fjell - and from other communities – people rowed to Langøyna to shop. The place was important when the fishing fleet was to be equipped. Here was bakery, fish reception centre and salting facility. There was also a steamship office, national telephone connection and post office. The place therefore had most of the important centre services.

As long as the sea was the transport route, a small store on a small island might be a central place for the coastal population. When the car replaced the rowing boat, the sea became a barrier and no longer a transport route. This became noticeable at Langøy. The trade hinterland also shrank considerably as more trading centres were established. Post, telephone and the coastal ferry disappeared and in 1962 there was no longer a basis for keeping this trading centre going.