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Tributes to businesswoman with mermaid house

PUBLISHED: 13:50 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 07 September 2010

Ingeborg Lane

Ingeborg Lane

Katie Davies WEEKS from her 100th birthday, Norwegian businesswoman and owner of a mermaid-fronted house in Pilgrim's Lane Ms Ingeborg Lane has died. Ms Lane, who was born on April 11 1909, died last Wednesday at home surrounded by those closest to her. S

Katie Davies

WEEKS from her 100th birthday, Norwegian businesswoman and owner of a mermaid-fronted house in Pilgrim's Lane Ms Ingeborg Lane has died.

Ms Lane, who was born on April 11 1909, died last Wednesday at home surrounded by those closest to her.

She is best known for her success in business from the 1940s onwards in her native country and Camden Town, at a time when it was unusual for women to be at the helm.

She made an instant impact when on her arrival in Hampstead she put up the now famous mermaid ship's figurehead on the front of her home.

Her daughter Anne Lise Martinsen said: "She had the figurehead in Norway and brought it over.

"She found it in a barn and had it on her Norway house first.

"I took it down to paint it recently and all the schoolchildren started asking where the mermaid was.

"We will certainly be leaving it on the house and hope the new owner keeps it.

"My mother was a giver not a taker and was quite someone. Everyone loved her, she was so nice.

"She was a very clever businesswoman and a strong woman and we all loved her."

Ms Lane had three husbands before her final marriage to James Lane, who she met when they were both in their 70s.

Born in a small countryside town, she showed early promise in business, forming a clothing factory when she was 23.

She had three children with her first husband who she divorced before falling for famous Norwegian actor Erling Drangsholt.

It was then she founded her link to Camden, opening a dolls factory after finding inspiration at Holloway Dolls in Bayham Street, Camden Town, while visiting her sister.

She kept in touch with the Camden factory and its owner Max Lacey, who she married after Mr Drangsholt died.

It was then that she moved to Pilgrim's Lane and put up her famous mermaid. She lived there with him until he died in the 1980s and then with fourth husband, Mr Lane.

She was well-known for supporting those who worked in her factories and even diversified to make rugs in the Camden base when the business declined - to keep her staff in employment.

She remained independent into retirement - driving until she was into her 90s - and according to her daughter, had "a very pleasant old age".

She died in her home with her family by her bedside.

She leaves her two daughters Ms Martinsen and Ellen Karine Hagen.

Her son Hans Torp, died before his mother.

She had six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


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