Cologne 6th - 9th June 2002
Researched and led by Sue Hayton
Cologne was heavily bombed during the Second World War and a lot of its industry was destroyed. Nevertheless, much of interest remains. This safari was based at the Altstadt Hotel in Leverküsen - some 20 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) or main station by local S-Bahn trains. The family-run Altstadt provided excellent and very friendly accommodation despite some problems during rebuilding. The group assembled for dinner on Thursday evening when we had an introductory talk on the industries of Cologne by our leader, Sue Hayton. This was the preliminary to a 9 o’clock start on Friday morning.
Leverküsen, now part of ‘Greater Cologne’ was founded in 1930 by uniting four smaller towns, notably Wiesdorf, which was the largest. The name is derived from the chemist Carl Leverkus, who set up an ultramarine works here in 1889. His sons sold out to Bayer whose chemical works are now the dominating industry of the town. The town was badly damaged in the Second World War but we had a brief walk round to look at some of the few old buildings remaining. The train then took us into the city for an exploration of commercial Cologne.
The first industrial monument to be seen is the Hohernzollern Bridge (right) which takes the railway over the Rhine. It originates from 1907-11 but had to be rebuilt after bombing and it was widened in the late 1980s.

This leads to the impressive main station built in the 1890s to replace an earlier structure. The three-bay shed is the only survivor from this time. A new entrance hall was built in 1951-2 and, more recently, a new roof covers an extension.
In the Marzellanstrasse there is a plaque commemorating the nine years from 1817 that Georg Simon Ohm, of Ohm’s Law, spent on Cologne. (Ohm - do you remember your laws of electricity?) Moving on we admired the banking area, with a number of impressive buildings in contrasting styles depending on when they were built, the Dom Hotel, an early iron-framed building, and the later shops. One of these, now the Kaufhaus, was originally a warehouse built in 1913. Going back in time, the walk also included a section of Roman sewer, restored and re-erected at street level, the 15th-century government building which became the stock exchange and market hall, and the 4711 Eau de Cologne factory. In 1709 Johann Maria Farina established the world’s oldest Eau de Cologne factory. An Italian from Domodossola, he came to Cologne in 1714. Originally a much stronger product it was used as a medicine but, when Napoleon decreed that the recipes of all curative medicines must be put into the public domain, Eau de Cologne, was diluted and sold as a perfume in order to keep its ingredients secret, which they still are. The building in Gülichplatz is now only offices but include a shop where, besides selling Eau de Cologne, there are displays.
The afternoon’s walk started at the Süd Bahnhof (South Station) a typical 1950s four-bay building with a higher glazed central booking hall. Nearby is a semi-circular building which, despite the adjacent railway is not a round house. It was Fort V of the 1847 defences, became the administration building of the isolation hospital, which was built here, but is now used by the geological-mineralogical institute of the university. This area was badly bombed but a number of old or restored houses remain. In Vondelstrasse there is a fine early 20th-century fire station. Further on there is a large public utilities complex, the Städtliches Wasser und Elektritätswerk. Although visits are allowed they are apparently only for citizens of Cologne and we had to be satisfied with walking round the boundary wall and looking through the various gates to the site.

Lastly in this area we went to the Grossmarkthalle (Market Hall) a long parabolic-arched hall in reinforced concrete with two large glazed gables on the north side to give light, leaving the south side sheltered from sunlight. A particular feature here is a large above ground air-raid shelter built rather crudely with a tower so that it resembled a church - a form of camouflage. At this point a sightseeing excursion, with some IA, intervened. By two long tram rides we went via Bonn to Königswinter for the ascent of the Drachenfels by rack railway. It is the oldest rack railway in Germany, opened in 1883. It was electrified in 1955. One of the original steam locomotives is displayed near the bottom station. It was late in the day and there was not a lot of time at the top but we could admire the view up and down river and to the Eiffel Mountains, visibility was not too bad. We dined in Königswinter and, with German railway punctuality seemingly not much different from this country, arrived back in Leverküsen quite late. It must be admitted that there were a large number of speeding freight trains thundering along the line whereas, at that time in the evening, the passenger trains only ran hourly.
Saturday morning started with a walk in Deutz, the cross river settlement from Cologne. The station of 1914 has a high domed entrance flanked by two lower pavilions and seems too imposing for the place. In the station yard there is a memorial to Niklaus Otto the inventor of the Otto gas engine. On the other side of the station are the Messe (Trade Fair) buildings. During the Second World War it was used as a concentration camp for those on the way to Buchenwald and outside there is a memorial to these unfortunates. The river front gives good views of Cologne across the water. We crossed the Rhine by the footway on the Hohernzollern Bridge, all that remains of the original road alongside the tracks, and went on to the Rathaus (City Hall) which has been rebuilt a number of times. On one corner a figure of Johann Maria Farina was erected in 1995 to commemorate his contribution to the city. In the middle of the square the site of Jewish ritual baths was recently uncovered. Downhill in the Fischmarkt, not much fish but lots of eating places, we stopped for lunch.

In the Marsplatz there is an old water supply pump, still working, as Sue demonstrated. The Heumarkt (Hay Market) is an impressive square with a large monument to the unification of the Rheinland into Prussia. Otto’s house is in one corner of the square. From the Heumarkt we crossed the river by tram over the Deutzer Brücke and after a short walk in old Deutz returned, again by tram, over the Severinsbrücke. Around the Barbarossa Platz we found the large brick water tower of 1870, which has surprisingly been converted into a hotel. The staff were most helpful and invited us in to see the internal structure of the tower and models of the conversion. Nearby is the fine church of St Pantaleon (not the patron saint of trousers, as more than one wag suggested) the tower of which was used for a telegraph station. Along the street are the offices of the first Köln-Bonn railway. This brought us to the brewery pub and the end of industrial monuments for the day.
Sunday dawned the warmest and sunniest of the three days and the morning was spent in the now no longer commercial harbour area between the Südbrücke (railway bridge) and the Severinsbrücke (road bridge). There are 1920s warehouses, one block of which is known as the Siebengebirge after its seven gables. Coincidentally Sue later collected a free copy of the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung in which there was an article about the proposed conversion of these buildings into apartments. (Warehouse lofts are not confined to London.)The Hafen-Zollamt (Customs Offices) of 1896 are impressive. At the harbour entrance there is a hydraulic swing bridge of 1896 with an adjacent hydraulic tower, known in Germany as a Malakoff Tower after the name of a defensive tower of the Crimean War. Most of the party then adjourned to a riverside restaurant for lunch from which we dispersed on our various ways.

Many thanks to Sue, our leader; Paul Saulter, who, as Heritage of Industry, makes all the travelling and hotel arrangements, and Danny, as ‘back marker’ who keeps the group together. Between them these three do a lot of research, not only on industrial sites, but on local travel, restaurants, cafés and their beers, etc. which make City Safaris run enjoyably and smoothly.
Words by Bill Firth, from the GLIAS Newsletter No 201 August 2002
All images Copyright © Dan Hayton 2001