From 30 to over 200 people worked on the château du Haut-Koenigsbourg restoration project at any one time

Brenner and his carpenter team - DBV/Inventaire Alsace - Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, Alsace, France

Most of the workers and foremen were recruited in local villages through newspaper adverts or after having been recommended. A few Germans made up the rest of the team, especially amongst the carpenters. Local people therefore had a very important role in restoring the castle. 

The workers were responsible for structural and related works (clearing the site, putting up scaffolding, stone cutting etc.) and for making wooden items (shutters, galleries/balconies, frames etc.). The wood was supplied by local sawmills.

Specialized work - plumbing, gutters, the making of copper parts, along with arts and crafts style creations (making of ceramic stoves, models in plaster for sculptors etc)  was given to outside contractors, mostly based in Germany.

A wide variety of trades

Many different trades and crafts were involved in the project: quarry-workers, stone-cutters, masons, machinists, metal-workers, carpenters and blacksmiths, not to mention an inn-keeper and a cook. A café, a canteen and dormitories were set up on the site for the workers, as the son of the carpenter-foreman recounted:

'The working week was made up of six 10 hour days. The workers and employees could eat in the canteen and sleep in the dormitories if they wanted to.

Generally speaking, all the workers made use of these facilities and only went home on Saturdays, on foot, of course, as there was no other means of transport. It took three hours to walk home and then return to the château again.'

Quote taken from 'Chronique d'une famille alsacienne' (the story of an Alsatian family) by H. BRENNER, son of the foreman Henri BRENNER, written at the end of the 20th century.

This didn't mean that the number of workers remained static throughout the year: according to the payroll records at Sélestat, the number of workers went from 30 to more than 200, depending on the time of year!

Brenner and his carpenter team - DBV/Inventaire Alsace - Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, Alsace, France