On a cold March day in 1912 a cart horse pulled a sled, loaded with furniture and personal belongings, over the plain towards the parish of Hög northwest of Lund. The Åkesson family was on its way to a new home. That home is now the Skåne Farmstead at Skansen.
The family consisted of Per and Bengta Åkesson and their youngest son Emil. Emil had just finished school and was now to help on the farm. In due course the idea was that he should take over the farm. But this did not happen. In 1925 the farm was sold and the farmhouse remained unoccupied for a long period.
Emil assisted with moving the farm to Skansen in 1973–77 and he was able to describe how the family had lived. Thus it is the Åkesson family’s home that we can see at Skansen today.
There were some 20 acres of land attached to the farm on which the family cultivated corn and sugar beet. They also had some cows, bullocks, hens, ducks, pigs, a ram and a ewe.
The Skåne Farmstead is from the fertile plains of the parish of Hög in southern Skåne. The farmstead, built round a square, lay in an exposed position on the wide and windy plain with no forests to shelter it. The buildings are half-timbered, filled with bricks and the roof is thatched with straw. The construction reminds us of a period when there was a shortage of timber but plenty of clay and straw. The oldest part of the farm dates from the 1820s but has several times been altered.
Entering through the kitchen door one comes into the outer kitchen which is largely occupied by a bread oven and a brewing stove. To the left is the farm-hands’ room which became Emil’s bedroom. There is no fireplace in the room so that when the weather was really cold in winter Emil slept with his parents in the living room. The next door leads down into the larder which is dark and cool. The inner kitchen is very cramped containing a cast iron cooking stove, a little dining table and two chairs. Per and Emil sat on the chairs while their mother Bengta stood and ate as was customary among women at that time.
The living room was the most important room in the house and the only room that could be heated. Per and Bengta slept there. In the next room, the parlour, there is a desk with some of Emil’s fretwork on it. The chest of draws contains the household linen and on the table there is an ancient gramophone. Bengta was very fond of music. The next room is the drawing room for special occasions. It contains a sofa that Per bought at an auction. The house also has rooms for storing things and a porch.
The western range is half-timbered with a filling of whitewashed clay lump. Each autumn the barn was filled with corn but at Skansen the farm machinery and tools are displayed there including a seed drill and a reaper-binder. There are three different carriages for use on different types of occasions as was usual in Skåne at the time.
The walls of the northern range are of dried brick that has been whitewashed. The floor is made of stamped clay. Here fodder for the animals was stored. There is a separate space at the eastern end for hens and sheep.
The stable was built of yellow bricks in 1917. In Skåne they speak of “cow stables” rather than cowhouses or cowsheds. As at the Skåne Farmstead, the stable included boxes for horses and stalls for cows in the same building. There is also a shed in the building used for carpentry and as a woodshed.
The Skåne Farmstead now functions as a real farm with animals typical of southern farms in the 1920s. There is an ox, cows, calves and a farm horse. Swedish Spotted hens peck underneath the bushes by the farm. There are also Skåne geese and Swedish Yellow ducks.
Behind the farmhouse there is a garden with winding paths and box hedges. Typical, too, is the mixture of brightly coloured flowerbeds, fruit trees and bushes and a kitchen garden. Gardens like this were first laid out at prosperous vicarages in Skåne and spread to the farms in the 19th century.