“Kluse” station of the suspension railway in Wuppertal, about 1910
“Kluse” station of the suspension railway in Wuppertal, about 1910
Max Biegel, Elberfeld

Industrial culture and industrial heritage are important components of structural change. Former industrial plants and buildings are today industrial monuments or museums. They are learning places for the mediation and appreciation of the industrial heritage. Complementary media, documents or narratives help to preserve the old traditions, the history and the life of the industrial society and to bring them closer to the people. Awareness of the importance of industrial heritage for today's society creates regional identity. The communication of industrial history in the context of structural change is aimed at those interested of all age groups, but especially at teachers and adult educators. The aim of this essay is to provide all interested people with access to industrial history and industrial culture and to connect them with the postindustrial landscape. The aim is to show how the knowledge of the (post) industrial heritage can be obtained, passed on and conveyed with the help of places, documents and narratives. With the links to the post-industrial heritage, you can become more familiar with the topic and more aware of places of industrial culture in your area.


In the reel-factory of the Barthels-Feldhoff Company in Wuppertal, undated
In the reel-factory of the Barthels-Feldhoff Company in Wuppertal, undated

Work together in a group and write an essay about a place of industrial heritage. In addition, you can also work on a presentation or a small exhibition. Present your results to the other working groups. Essay, presentation or exhibition should include: a. How has the place of (post) industrial heritage changed? b. How did the industrial building once look like, what were the conditions of working at the time? c. Describe what has been preserved of the historical site and to what extent the industrial heritage of this place shapes or influences today's situation.


The task should be solved in a working group. First inform yourself on the Internet or in the literature about the definition and concepts of the post-industrial heritage, industrial history and industrial culture. Then get together in the working group and discuss your research results, your thoughts and ideas. In addition you will find important information for you below the link section. Agree on which place of industrial culture you want to write your essay about. Visit together the chosen place of industrial heritage, then capture and film or photograph the spaces. Imagine what this place once looked like, what were the conditions of working at the time. Go to the Internet to learn the history of this place. Visit the city archive to search documents, photos, books, etc. about this place. Interrogate older people who still remember this place of industrial heritage as a living industrial site or who may have worked there. Use the research results to write your essay on the evolution of this place to a place of post-industrial heritage and also use the documents to convey your findings in a small presentation or exhibition.



The participants research the information for their essay independently, which ideally includes one to two pages. It comprehensively explains the concept of (post) industrial heritage and relates it to the real local conditions.


Learning Outcomes

  • You will get a very good overview of industrial history since the beginning of early industrialization in the 18th century and the development of industrial society.
  • An awareness is created that many modern developments were and are possible only on the basis of the successful production and innovative power of individual industrial companies.
  • Not only relationships between the history of individual businesses and today's economy are made clear, their influences on the social, cultural and political life in the present are also recognized.

Knowledge Acquired

  • You have a good general knowledge of the history of Wuppertal's industrial culture and its networking as well as specific knowledge of key technologies that play a major role in local economic history (in particular, textile production, toolmaking).
  • You are also acquainted with the history of some selected industries whose former sites are made visible as sites of cultural heritage.
  • In addition, you are familiarized with the precarious social situation of the working class in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.

Skills Acquired

  • You will be consciously aware of the evidence of industrial heritage in public space and will be able to capture and visualize their historical function.
  • You are able to pass on your knowledge to those who are interested.

Competences Acquired

  • On the basis of selected industrial monuments, you can independently research the history of individual industrial companies and deepen them using existing identified media and documents.
  • You are able to compare the existing conditions of your own region with the situation of other regions.