Glesvær at the turn of the century. (Postcard, 1908)
Glesvær is one of the oldest trading posts on the West Norwegian coast. In the 1700s and 1800s this was the most important fishing centre on Sotra. The first certain mention of the trading station Glesvær is in 1664. At that time it was the Bergen merchant Hendrich Wessel who owned the place and was in the possession of a trading privilege. Abraham Wessel, who took over in 1688 also obtained Royal Privilege for “Kiøbmandskab med Bønderne alleene at drive” (the only one to be allowed to carry on trade with the farmers).
The owner of Glesvær was a powerful man. In addition to be the sole person allowed to carry out trade, he was also the biggest landowner in Sund, and the fishermen in the district were obliged to hand in their catches to him. During the herring fisheries Glesvær was an important meeting place. As many as 140 vessels could be gathered here at any one time. In 1885 the owner of Glesvær went bankrupt and all the properties apart from Glesvær itself were sold off. The Bakke family bought the trading post in 1890, and today it is the fourth generation Bakke who runs the place.
Development within fisheries and new routes of communication have contributed to Glesvær having become a far less central place than formerly. Nonetheless, Glesvær is one of the few places to have survived all the changes, and is still operating as part of the historic network of trading posts and lodging places on the coast. Glesvær now opens its doors for whoever wants to experience the coastal landscape and the sea. In the summer of 1993 the owner made use of new fisherman’s shacks in an old seine-shed by Glesværvågen (bay).
On the quay at Glesvær 1930. (O. Schumann Olsen, owner Billedsamlingen, Universitetsbiblioteket i Bergen (S.O. 1383A)).