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European Themeroute | Service and Leisure Industry

The Industrial Revolution resulted in more and more smokestacks shooting out of the ground and a huge increase in factories, coal mines and steelworks; villages merged into towns, and sleepy hamlets were transformed into booming cities. For the first time trading, administrative and leisure facilities ... more

Icon: Service and Leisure IndustryBeyond the shift. European Theme Route Service & Leisure Industry

The Industrial Revolution resulted in more and more smokestacks shooting out of the ground and a huge increase in factories, coal mines and steelworks; villages merged into towns, and sleepy hamlets were transformed into booming cities. For the first time trading, administrative and leisure facilities had to be organised for masses of customers in new, heavily populated centres.

The precursor of the huge department stores was "Les Halles", the huge and legendary market halls in Paris which were built in the middle of the 19th century. The town planner, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who radically modernised the mediaeval building structures of the French capital, expressly requested that they be built of glass and prefabricated iron segments in accordance with the time. A little later, the first major department stores like "Les Magasins du Printemps" opened. Here an iron skeleton replaced walls as the major supporting structure in the building. This also allowed sales spaces to be more flexibly designed. Typical features included glass-roofed inner courtyards with galleries, and curving staircases in the middle of the rooms.

At the start of the 19th-century the majority of products in the upper price ranges were sold in so-called passages. These were lines of shops in a glass-covered gallery, at first in Paris and London and later in Brussels, Berlin and other major cities. Around the turn of the 20th century, the splendid "Galleria Vittorio Emanuele" in Milan inspired the German entrepreneur Leonard Tietz to copy his model in Berlin and Dusseldorf, where he built department stores with impressive facades containing large areas of windows.

Around the same time architects like the Austrian, Otto Wagner, began to design public buildings in an objective and functional manner. The Savings Bank Office in Vienna, built by Wagner between 1904 and 1912, has become a milestone in the history of architecture. Since the owner demanded "maximum solidity" the facade was clad with precious marble: that said, Wagner left the assembly bolts visible for all to see. The form of the building was determined by the functions performed within it.

The American Louis Sullivan summed up this basic principle of modern architecture with the pithy formula: "form follows function". Sullivan had a major influence on the style of the new office blocks that began to be built in major cities at the end of the 19th century, above all in the USA, because leading companies needed increasingly larger administration sections to market mass products. Office work was a dynamic new service sector, and in the United States it triggered off countless new techniques. In 1876, the American Alexander Graham Bell constructed the first marketable telephone, and in the 1880s the Remington company launched the typewriter on to the market.

New office buildings were particularly prominent in Chicago. By building skyscrapers it was possible to exploit expensive real estate in the city centre in an optimal manner. The safety lift, developed by Elisha Graves Otis in the mid-19th century, ensured that people could be reliably transported to the top floors, because it was equipped with an automatic braking system which went into action if the cable broke. Iron skeleton frames soon took over from bricks as the major support structures for skyscrapers; here the supporting structures were coated with terracotta or cement as a protection against fire. Facades were mainly structured by large windows and – with the exception of an eye-catching ground floor –were uniformly designed from top to bottom to enable as many similar storeys to be piled up on top of one another, as one wished.

As work became ever more mechanised during the industrial age, manufacturers increased working hours, without heed to the increasing stress on men, women and children who were operating the machines. Things only began to change around the 1870s, when the working week was reduced to around 70 hours, mainly as a result of pressure from the unions: this had sunk even further to around 50 hours by the First World War. Increasing leisure in the evenings, and soon on work-free Sundays, meant that a huge variety of new forms of entertainment sprung up in heavily populated cities.

The forerunners in France, from around the middle of the 19th century, were the large permanent circus halls. In Paris the "Cirque d’Hiver" was built right on the Champs Elysées, and the "Cirque Napoléon" was constructed with a glass and iron dome. Smaller towns also had their own "hippodrome", as the halls were often called, where spectacular horse shows, circus shows and operatic performances took place: there were even water battles as in the ancient Roman circuses. That said, the fate of the "Hippodrome du Champ de Mars" in Paris in 1911 was typical for the 20th century: it was rebuilt and opened as the "Gaumont Palace", the largest and – after further extensions - allegedly the most impressive cinema palace in the world.

Public film shows started in Paris in 1895 and quickly became the leading mass medium. The over-decorated facades of the first cinema buildings, which were built around 1910 in many towns, showed that films were at first regarded as a form of fairground attraction. But soon the architects were striving to build neoclassical buildings with luxurious equipment in order to give the cinemas an impression of respectability. The boom years of film theatres followed in the 1920s, when – principally in the USA – glittering dream palaces were built, like the art-déco "Radio City Music Hall" in New York and "Graumann’s Chinese Theater" in Hollywood. The new objective style of building was most predominant on mainland Europe, even in cinemas like the monumental "Lichtburg" in Essen and the "Universum" in Berlin, built by the famous architect, Erich Mendelsohn.

Pleasure parks in European capitals have an even longer tradition. They flourished in the 19th century. In London, "Vauxhall Gardens" even existed since the mid-17th century. This was a respectable park with shaded walkways and fountains: later additions included concert pavilions and restaurants. Illuminations and firework shows were also presented there. The "Prater" in Vienna developed in a similar fashion. It was originally an imperial wild game reservation, but in the mid-18th century it was opened as a public municipal park. It was not long before it was equipped with bowling greens and roundabouts. The famous Big Wheel was built for the World Exhibition of 1897. By contrast the "Tivoli Gardens" in Copenhagen, based on London parks and built in 1843, were equipped from the start with exotic buildings, concert stages and fairground rides.

At the end of the 19th century seaside piers began to spring up in British coastal resorts – a national peculiarity. They developed from landing stages and stretched out into the sea to enable walkers to enjoy the water and sea air even at low tide. Competition between the various seaside resorts triggered off further investment and soon pleasure piers became one of the main characteristics of the Victorian époque. Soon visitors were passing through representative arched gateways to restaurants and music halls, many of them decorated in an oriental style with onion-shaped cupolas, towers and cast-iron decorations. Other attractions offered on piers included orchestral concerts, ice-skating and penny-slot machines; all of them just a few metres above the waves. 


Member Sites ERIH Association

Bochum | Germany
This impressive hall was built as an exhibition hall by the Bochumer Verein ironworks for the 1902 world exhibition in Düsseldorf, after which it was used as a gas-blower and dynamo station in the cast-iron works. The airy steel construction is one of the first examples of purely functional ...

Hall of the Century Bochum
An der Jahrhunderhalle 1
44793 Bochum, Germany

Stralsund | Germany
If you want to experience the sound and the atmosphere of an old printery visit Stralsund at the Baltic Sea. In this medieval Hanseatic city until 1931 the largest German game cards factury operated. Since 2009 the society „Jugendkunst e. V.“ runs a living museum called „Spielkartenfabrik ...

Stralsund Game Card Factory
Katharinenberg 35
18435 Stralsund, Germany

To protect the Portuguese capital from foreign invasions from land and sea, a series of fortifications, called 'Campo Entrincheirado de Lisboa' (entrenched fields), was built along the then city limits of Lisbon between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The core of the ...

Nirvana Studios at former ammunition warehouses
Estrada Militar 66
2730226 Barcarena, Portugal

Donostia-San Sebastian | Spain
The oldest cable car in Euskadi covers 312.5 metres at a speed of 1.5 m/s, climbing 151 metres. It was opened on 25 August 1912, and its wooden carriages still conserve the charm of that period. From the base of the mountain, the cable car takes you directly to the panoramic terraces of Mount ...

Monte Igueldo Cable Car
Funicular Monte Igueldo
Plaza del Funicular, 4
2008 Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain

The collection on show at the Fournier Museum of Playing Cards in Álava was started by Félix Alfaro Fournier in 1916 when he took over the family business of manufacturing playing cards. His interests as both a manufacturer and an avid collector led him to build up a collection of playing cards, ...

Fournier Museum of Playing Cards in Álava
Museo Fournier de Naipes
Cuchillería, 54
01001 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain


Vienna | Austria
The Prater is 1300 ha park between the Danube and the Danube Canal, an area donated to the city by the Emperor Joseph II in 1766, where bowling greens were laid out, merry-go-rounds erected, and gingerbread bakers (Lebzelter) set up their stalls. It was the site of the World Exhibitions of 1873 and ...

Prater Museum
2 Prater, Hauptallee
1020 Vienna, Austria

The Galeries Saint-Hubert form one of the most elegant retailing complexes in Europe. As with later developments in London and Naples, they were built in part in order to obliterate an area of squalid alley nears to the hub of the city centre in la Grande Place. There are two principal arcades, the ...

Galeries Royales de Saint-Hubert
Galerie du Roi 5
1000 Brussels, Belgium

Marianske Lazne | Czech Republic
Marienbad was one of Europe’s most celebrated spas in the decades before the First World War when Bohemia formed part of the Habsburg Empire. Amongst those who stayed there were Friedric Chopin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxim Gorky, Henrik Ibsen, Franz Kafka, Rudyard Kipling and King Edward VII ...

Marianske Lazne Town Museum
Goethovo namesti 11
353 01 Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic

Teplice | Czech Republic
Teplice, known as Tiplitz-Schonau before the Second World War, is a town of 30,000 people in north-west Bohemia with a long history of iron-working and glass-making, but it also one of the best-preserved spa resorts in Europe. Its hot alkaline springs were supposedly discovered in 762. The spa ...

Teplice spa
Tourist Office
Benesovo nam 840
Teplice, Czech Republic

Paris | France
The icon of Paris, the 325 m high structure that was the world’s tallest building between 1889 and 1931, is one of the most imposing monuments which survive from the international exhibitions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Its platforms provide spectacular prospects over the French capital. Since ...

Eiffel Tower
5 avenue Anatole France Champ de Mars
75007 Paris, France

Paris | France
LaSamaritaine is claimed to be the largest department store in Paris, and its main building is an Art Nouveau structure of outstanding quality with a spectacular galleried interior, designed by Frantz Jourdain (1837-1935) between 1903 and 1910. The present stone-faced exterior, in a more sober ...

La Samaritaine
19 Rue de la Monnaie
75001 Paris, France

Paris | France
The pavilions in the Parc de Bercy near Paris were designed by the architect Louis-Ernest Lheureux (1827-98). Since 1996 they have accommodated the collections of Jean-Paul Favand which are centred on three themes and displayed in three pavilions and three private streets. The first section entitled ...

Les Pavillons de Bercy
53 Avenue des Terroirs de France
75012 Paris, France

Altena | Germany
The buildings of the hospitality (or tourist) industry, hotels, wayside inns, motorway service stations, are readily recognised as part of the industrial heritage. One of the most significant innovations in the industry in the twentieth century was the proliferation of youth hostels providing ...

Altena Castle
Fritz-Thomee-Strasse 80
58762 Altena, Germany

Düsseldorf | Germany
The ‘grande dame of Dusseldorf’s consumer temples’ is one of Europe’s most imposing department stores. Its imposing Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) frontage, with ten pilasters, vast areas of glass and five dormer windows, dominates the city’s principal street. Behind it is a towering atrium surmounted by ...

Tietz Department Store
Galeria Kaufhof
Königsallee 1
40212 Düsseldorf, Germany

This subject of this unusual museum is coin machines for playing games, selling things or playing music – a place unusually full of colour and sound. It presents the collection of the Gauselmann family, who acquired their first juke box in 1985. Two years later they had 400 exhibits. They loaned ...

The German Museum of Coin-operated Machines
Deutsches Automatenmuseum
Schlossallee 1
32339 Espelkamp, Germany

Gelsenkirchen | Germany
The Kampfbahn Glückauf is a monument that symbolises the place of football in the working-class culture of the Ruhrgebiet. It stands in the former mining community of Gelsenkirchen, amongst houses and pubs that were once occupied by men who extracted coal from nearby pits. It was the home of Schalke ...

Glückauf Kampfbahn
Kurt-Schuhmacher Straße 143-145 Ernst-Kuzorra-Platz
45891 Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Göppingen | Germany
The Märklin company, perhaps Europe’s best-known manufacturer of model trains, originated in 1859 in Goppingen, 40 km east of Stuttgart, when a tinsmith, Theodore Märklin, began to make dolls’ houses of lacquered tinplate. He died in an accident in 1866, but the firm was carried on by his wife, ...

Reuschstraße 6
73033 Göppingen, Germany

Kulmbach | Germany
Zinnfiguren (literally ‘tin figures’, but sometimes ‘lead soldiers’ in English) were first made in Germany in the mid-eighteenth century as a tribute to Frederick the Great (1712-86), king of Prussia. In 1775 Johann Gottfried Hilpert (1748-1832) and his brother Johann Georg Hilpert (1733-1811) set ...

German Tin Figure Museum
Deutsches Zinnfigurenmuseum
Festungsberg 29
95326 Kulmbach, Germany

Mittenwald | Germany
The town of Mittenwald in valley of the River Isar in the Zugspitze region of Upper Bavaria, 16 km south-east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, lies on the road from Augsburg to Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass, one of the most important trading routes between Germany and Italy. From the late seventeenth ...

Violin-making museum
Geigenbaumuseum Mittenwald
Ballenhausgasse 3
82481 Mittenwald, Germany

Nuremberg | Germany
Every year the world's largest toy fair takes place in Nuremberg. This is no coincidence, because since the 14th century, dolls with movable limbs made of wood have been made here and have established the reputation as a toy city of international importance. From around 1850 onwards, tin toys were ...

Toy Museum
Karlstraße 13-15
90403 Nuremberg, Germany