‘Brixham Harbour, South Devon’
A great scenic stereograph taken in Brixham, a small fishing village on the south coast of Devon in England. Its largely unspoilt, picturesque charm has resulted in it becoming a popular tourist destination.
‘Ocean liners at the Albert docks on the Thames, below the world’s greatest city, London’
Underwood & Underwood
London’s Royal Albert Dock was opened in 1880 at the height of Britain’s power as a global empire. It had three miles of quay, but the dock’s usefulness waned with the Empire and the decline in transatlantic liners. It eventually closed in 1980. The dock itself is still used for watersport activities and part of the quay is soon to be redeveloped as the ‘Asian Business Port’.
‘Rue de Royale, Saint-Cloud’
Both stereographs show the damage wrought upon the town of Saint-Cloud following the Franco-Prussian War between 1870 and 1871. The town lies just six miles from the centre of Paris and was occupied by Prussian forces during the Siege of Paris. The Prussians shelled the city from Saint-Cloud and the grounds of the nearby château of the same name. The town was badly damaged and the Royal château, residence of Marie Antoinette in the 1780s, was gutted by fire and later demolished.
‘The Bank of England from Mansion House’
B. W. Kilburn
The Bank of England, shown to the left, was the work Sir John Soane and constructed on an immense scale over a period of fifty years starting in 1790. Unfortunately it was almost completely demolished in the 1920s. The Neo-Classical building to the right is the Royal Exchange. Thomas Gresham’s mid 16th century building on the same site was destroyed during the Great Fire in 1666. Its replacement was also destroyed by fire in 1838. The third, and current, building on the site was constructed to the design of William Tite in 1844. It’s now used as a shopping centre. The statue just visible in front of the Royal Exchange is of the Duke of Wellington. It was cast in 1844 from cannon that had been seized during various conflicts.
‘The Great Bridge over the Rhine at Bonn, Germany’
Keystone View Company
The bridge shown in the stereograph was the Old Rhine Bridge completed in 1898. At the time of its construction it was the longest through-arch bridge in the world. The bridge was destroyed on 8 March 1945 by the Wehrmacht in a futile attempt to stop the American advance on Bonn. The bridge’s replacement was finished in 1949 and renamed Kennedy Bridge following the assassination of the U. S. President in 1963.
‘Salon de Mercure’
The Mercury Salon was one of the rooms at the former royal château of Saint-Cloud. The château was started in 1572, expanded at the end of the 17th century and enlarged again by Marie Antoinette in the 1780s. The Mercury Salon was redecorated in the early 19th century. Its ceiling, by the history painter Jean Alaux, depicted Mercury and Pandora. The walls were hung with Gobelins tapestries copied from Reubens’ History of Marie de’ Medici cycle. The tapestry shown in the stereograph is from The Birth of the Dauphin at Fontainebleau. The château was gutted by fire in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War and the roofless shell demolished in 1891. The tapestries were presumably destroyed in the fire as I can find no evidence that they still exist. Click on ‘Saint-Cloud’ in the tag cloud to the right for more on the lost château.