A few early wood houses survive on Södermalm giving an impression of the character of the historic city but by early in the 20th century this was a large, densely-packed working-class area. Greta Lovisa Gustafsson grew up in a small one-bedroom apartment at Blekingatan 32. She worked as a salesgirl and catalogue model at P.U.B. (see earlier post) before studying drama at Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern. She appeared in the film Gösta Berlings Saga in 1924 before moving to Hollywood a year later and changing her surname to Garbo.
This is also the area where Stieg Larsson set his three books for the story of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it is possible to take tours to track the places linked with the characters Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander.
Södermalm is divided into two by the wide and, apart from the north end, essentially modern shopping street Götgatan. The area to the east of this busy road, including the three roads that run east parallel to each other, with Högbergsgatan, Tjarhovsgatan and Folkungagatan and the blocks south of Folkungagatan was an area of lower rents and has attracted a large number of young fashion designers, design consultants and architects.
There are many independent clothes shops here including shops selling second-hand items from the 50 and 60s. REGN on Asögatan sells handmade raincoats and wellies by Stutterheim that are marketed as “Swedish melancholy at its driest.”