Everyday life on-site during the restoration of the château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Artillery platform during the restauration with workers © DBV/Inventaire Alsace - Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, Alsace, France

We have found out more about several people involved in the work thanks to construction site reports.

Charles Dickely

This metal-worker from Orschwiller (a village located at the foot of the castle), was in charge of the iron-workers. His team made all of the castle's iron objects (locks, portcullises, chains etc) and set up and maintained machinery.

Until 1905, he walked to the castle every day. Later on he slept on site, beneath the forge and kept his animals in the lower courtyard at Oedenburg! After the castle was unveiled to the public, he made several more decorative objects, including the fire screen in the Kaiser's room, which he forged with his son, Armand. At the same time, he led guided tours of the château.

Henri Brenner

The foreman of the carpentry team. He was already well-known in this field when Bodo Ebhardt asked if he would become a foreman, taking his orders directly from him. He got married in 1905 and walked to the château every day from Châtenois (a village about ten kilometres from the castle) where his descendants still live today.

He was involved in finishing and fitting work until 1910. In 1908 his work was recognized with the award of a commemorative bronze medal, one of only nine to have been awarded.

Wages

Charles Dickely and the cook, Rosalie Gassmann, were paid monthly. After a strike in May 1902, the quarry-men were paid according to the number of stones they cut out. All other workers were paid an hourly rate and received their pay every two weeks.

They were also entitled to sick leave, invalidity benefit and a pension when they retired. From 1904 onwards, compensation was paid to those injured in accidents at work and, for workers killed during workplace accidents, to their widows. This compensation was funded from a percentage of the money made from the sale of entrance tickets, which first went on sale in 1904. The château was actually open to the public all the time that work was going on. The entrance fee made up for the time that the workers spent showing the increasingly large numbers of visitors around.

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Artillery platform during the restauration with workers © DBV/Inventaire Alsace - Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, Alsace, France