York Minster from Museum Street, c.1860

‘York Minster’

William Sedgfield

c.1860

Stereoview York Sedgfield

This stereograph shows a scene that has changed considerably since it was taken c.1860.  Close to where the tree is on the left now stands St. Wilfrid’s Catholic Church, completed in 1864, and all of the houses shown beyond the junction on the right have since disappeared for road-widening. York, with its minster, city walls, gatehouses and many medieval houses, still remains England’s best-preserved medieval city by some distance.

Chaos in King William Street, London, c.1860

King William Street, London

c.1860

king william st london

King William Street, London

c.1860

king william st 2

The two stereographs show that London has always been a crowded city! It’s interesting to remember that this is the London that was familiar to Dickens, a claustrophobic mass of horses, carriages, carts and people. When it comes to expressing the atmosphere of 19th century London these are two of the best stereographs I’ve seen.

‘Het Steiger, Rotterdam, c.1860

‘Het Steiger, Rotterdam’

W. Eelkem

c.1860

rotterdam c1860 Steiger

A badly faded stereograph but important. It’s a rare view of pre-war Rotterdam, taken c.1860. The canal, one of many in Rotterdam, was called the Steiger, translated as the Scaffold. The church in the background is the medieval Cathedral of Great St. Lawrence. The church was gutted by fire during the Nazi air-raid on the city in 1940. The centre of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed and afterwards rebuilt in a modern style. The cathedral was one of the few buildings to be reconstructed to its pre-war appearance. Click on ‘Rotterdam’ in the tag cloud to the right to see a few more pre-war images of Rotterdam.

Eschenheimer Tower, Frankfurt, c.1890

‘Eschenheimer Turm, Frankfurt’

G. J. a Paris

c.1890

Frankfurt turm

The Eschenheimer Tower is the last surviving gateway from Frankfurt’s medieval fortifications. The 47m tower was constructed in the early 15th century. As can be seen in the stereograph, the street used to run directly under the tower but now it goes around the side. The area was largely destroyed during World War Two but the tower survived and is now the oldest and least-altered medieval structure in Frankfurt’s old city centre. The people and cart in the distance must’ve moved during the photographic exposure as they shuttle from one side of the street to the other.

Frankfurt across the Main, c.1905

‘Frankfurt am Main – View towards the city from Sachsenhausen’

Neue Photographische Gesellschaft

c.1905

frankfurt river view

The stereograph shows the view across the River Main towards Frankfurt’s city centre. The tall tower on the right belonged to St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. I’m not sure what they’re up to in the foreground.

The Last King of Prussia, 1894

‘Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Germany, with the Crown Prince’

Underwood & Underwood

1894

kaiser

The stereograph shows, standing on the left, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last Emperor of Germany and the last King of Prussia. He was also the first grandchild of Queen Victoria and of course the leader who lead Germany into the pointless war that caused the deaths of millions of people on both sides of the conflict. Standing next to him is his son and heir, also called Wilhelm. Presumably the Empress is the one sat at the table. Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918 after Germany’s defeat and went into exile in the Netherlands. He died in 1941.

‘Cambrai – The Cathedral’, c.1919

‘Cambrai – The Cathedral’

L. L.

c.1919

cambrai cathedral c1919

The medieval cathedral at Cambrai in Northern France was regarded as one of the ‘wonders of the Low Countries’. It was sold off after the French Revolution and used as a quarry. Arras Cathedral suffered a similar fate as did the monumental cathedral in French-speaking Liege. No trace of Cambrai’s Gothic cathedral survives today. The city’s ecclesiastical status was restored in 1802 and the abbey church of St. Sulpice was used as the seat of the bishop (later the archbishop). The building was constructed between 1696 and 1703. It was damaged by fire in 1854 but subsequently restored. The cathedral was damaged yet again during World War One, as shown in the stereograph, but was restored for a second time.