Malmö Latin School

Exactly when the original school building of Malmö Latin School was put up is uncertain, but it was first mentioned in writings of the 1440s.

It was a two-story brick building with a basement, situated south-east of St Petri Church, where Själbodgatan crosses Mäster Nilsgatan.

The building had a small schoolyard surrounded by a fence, dividing it from St Petri Church and its graveyard.

The building underwent over the years several major and minor changes and ended its days as a storehouse.

Malmö Latin School through the ages

The school was founded since Pope Innocent VII gave his apostolic permission in a letter on February 15, 1406. The subjects taught were grammar, dialectics and rhetoric, all in the Latin language.

No printed textbooks existed at the time, and parchment or paper were far too expensive to use. Therefore, all tuition was carried out verbally; the teachers would read to the students, who learned by listening.

Initially, most of the tuition in Latinskolan was carried out by priests from St Petri Church, and the students would, in accordance with directions from the Pope, take part in the church's service.


Malmö Latin School 1556 - 1706

After the extension, the school building measured 24,5 x 7,5 meters. The ground floor was paved with cobblestone; the upper floor had a floor paved with clay, and only a few small windows.

A large amount of building material from the recently torn down Franciscan Monastery, located south of Malmöhus Castle, was used when building the extension.

The previous entrance at the west side of the building, with a shelter and an entrance hall, became another room. The entrance door to the entire ground floor was placed in the north facade, under the timbered external gallery.

The entrance to the first floor, already located on the north facade, was moved somewhat to the east, whereupon the external gallery was lengthened.


Malmö Latin School 1406 - 1556

Malmö Latin School was unusual regarding the fact that it was not located in a cathedral city, such as the nearby Lund, but in a commercial city. Educational institutions were already available in the cathedral schools.

Extending the school building

During the 400 years that the first building was used as an educational institution, it went through a couple of major alterations. An extensive renovation and rebuilding took place in 1556, in which the building was extended to the east and west.

Thus, the building became bigger and could hold three schoolrooms instead of one on the ground floor, and there was more room for accommodations for the teachers on the upper floor.


Malmö Latin School 1706 - 1827

Renovation after the wars

After the wars in the late 17th century, the school building was in very bad shape, and in 1697 it was considered necessary to perform a basic renovation.

However, this was not enough, and a bigger and more expensive renovation had to be made already in 1706. This time, the building was entirely re-roofed, and walls, window-frames and doors were repaired. The building also got more, though not enough, fireplaces.

The old wooden external gallery on the north side of the building was torn down and replaced by a built-in staircase.

Malmö becomes Swedish, 1658

Latinskolan was not directly affected when the province of Skåne was transferred to Sweden. The Danish School Curriculum from 1656 was still followed, and the Danish language was still used.

Gradually the school became more Swedish, and in the 1680s the Danish principal was replaced, and the filling of new teacher posts was controlled.


The school obtain new premises

In 1826, the old school building was condemned; it was out-of-date and considered unsuitable for its purpose. The following year, 1827, the teaching activity was moved to a bigger building at Västergatan-Frans Suellgatan.

The school stayed there until 1879, when it moved to its present location at Amiralsgatan-Drottninggatan.

One last task for the brick building

So what happened to the old brick building by St Petri Church, which was used as a Latin School for 400 years? The schoolyard disappeared, and the building itself was used by the city's fire service as an extra storeroom.

The building was finally demolished in 1871, after over 450 years in the shade of St Petri Church. Today, there are nothing left of it to remind us of the time when education came to town.

CAD-model & Research: Rolf Albertsson / 3D-model: Boghos Balyan / Research & Text: Percy Hultberg