Ny-London, or Camp Mansfield, located on a small Peirsonhamna beach, is in the immediate vicinity of Ny-Ålesund. There are the remains of a settlement and a marble quarry from the early 20th century, constituting the national heritage of Svalbard there. This is one of the best-preserved places of this type in Spitsbergen.
In Ny-London you can admire technical equipment from before the World War I, such as steam engines, lifts, carts, and two huts, or settlers’ houses, currently used by scientists. These specimens must not be touched, moved or destroyed.
Great Expectations and a Great Fiasco
When marble deposits were found in Ny-London at the beginning of the 20th century, everyone quickly became excited. In 1906, the island was hastily named as the one made of pure marble, and Ny-London was supposed to be a real gold mine in Svalbard.
In excitement investors were quickly found and already 5 years later, in 1911, an English engineer Ernest Richard Mansfield built there a marble quarry and the entire mining settlement. Within a few years, houses for 70 people, workshops and warehouses were built. Railway lines, steam machines, carriages, cranes, winches, as well as equipment for extracting marble were installed and work started. Marble was mined for several years.
However, the investment turned out to be a complete washout. Marble turned out to be useless, because the blocks disintegrated as a result of frost. The investment was completed in 1920, and Ny-London was finally abandoned in 1933 and has remained a symbol of disappointed hopes to this day.
In the Ny-London area you can often encounter representatives of Svalbard fauna: reindeer, polar bears and whales appearing in the waters of the fjord.