Gruvelageret lies in Sverdrupbyen, a former part of Longyearbyen up beneath the glacier. There are not many houses left, but from early 30’ies and before and after the Second World War, it was an important part of the city, housing primarily mine workers. Instead of rebuilding the houses that was starting to decay it was decided to burn all the houses to the ground during a fire exercise in 1985 – all except the canteen and our own Gruvelageret.
We do not know everything that Gruvelageret has been used for earlier. But what we know is that Gruvelageret was one of four buildings brought to Longyearbyen for storage in 1946. They were meant as temporary buildings to be used for the mining company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Grubekompani. At some point we know that Gruvelageret has been a local shop, and we also know that the southern part has been used as a stable for the mine company horses. Later on the building was used to store core seed samples from the mine, and we believe that it was the weight of these that made the southern part of the building to collapse completely. For many years Gruvelageret was left abandoned, half collapsed and in a part of the city that was emptied and moved to other location, following the new coal mines that was established.