A trip to Berlin had been planned for a long time and this gave me the opportunity to combine research with pleasure. At the archives, we are digitising glass lantern slides so that this rich bank of history will be available for future generations. One way for the public to become involved with the project is to visit and re-photograph the sites from the lantern slide and so I went to Berlin with two photographs from the archive. We had no information what the buildings in the lantern slide image were, but a quick search on the internet identified one of the pictures as the Bode Museum on the Museum Island. I could not find any reference to the other picture.
The Bode Museum c.1890 (l) and 2014 (r)
The weather was great and on our first day in Berlin we took a bus tour of the city. I, of course, was armed with the two pictures and almost right at the start of the tour found the “unknown” building – there are now traffic lights right in front of the building – it is the Humboldt University on Unter den Linden.
The Humboldt University c.1890 (l) and 2014 (r)
While comparing the photographs, differences become apparent almost immediately. At the Bode Museum, the statue has disappeared, the railings along the river have changed, and modern buildings , cranes and pipework that carries the ground water are now prominent.
The changes at the university are less pronounced, although there is now a busy road rather than a quiet square in front of the building, the main change is the inscription on the building – now in modern German rather than Latin!
Not many of the old buildings survived the war although many have been restored or rebuilt. Berlin now seems to be a city of glass and steel and many more changes are happening.