"A Beautiful and Happy Looking Ship!"
Icelanders were one of the first nations to order new trawlers after World War II, which gave them a head start among European countries in the rebuilding of their war torn economies. Icelanders made contract with British shipbuilders to build 42 new trawlers, which were delivered in 1947-1952. The trawlers were thought to be state-of-the-art. The were larger than before and completely modern in every way, including living quarters for the crew and with better working conditions than the trawlermen had ever known. They drew a great deal of attention and were described in many publications, as in the one shown here.
The City of Reykjavík bought five of the new trawlers. In a telegram to the Mayor of Reykjavík, dated 4. September 1948, the successful launching of the first of the new trawlers is described by the president of the City Council: "Hallveig Fróđadóttir was launched this morning. A beautiful and good looking ship. The wife of the ambassador in London gave the ship its name. Congratulations. Jón Axel." Hallveig Fróđadóttir was choosen as "Trawler of the Year" by the British Newspaper Daily Mail in 1949.
The new ships brought in much larger catches, which had to be processed quickly to preserve the quality of the fish. It soon became apparent that it would be necessary to construct a modern fishing factory. The city build a new fishing factory and private companies as well. The fishing industry bloomed and Reykjavík grew rapidly.
The foresight of the City Council of Reykjavík, in buying modern trawlers and building a fishing factory, made the City of Reykjavík continue to be leading as the largest fishing port in Iceland.