In the mid-19th century, the railway arrived in Radeberg – and fired the starting-pistol for rapid change which transformed a sleepy little municipality into a flourishing industrial town.…
… what we’d call a boom town these days. Industry had taken note of the good transport connections, and located near the railway station and the freight yard, south of the historic town centre. Take a look at the map: the coloured tabs with the letters relate to the different industries in the rapidly expanding town. Here, outside the town proper, land was cheap, and the infrastructure was present.
Some Radeberg factories even had their own rail connections. On the map, they’re represented by the broken lines that run into the grounds of some factories. Coal, to power the machinery, for example, was transported to Radeberg by rail, and the finished products were promptly dispatched all over the world.
At the same time, the railway brought workers from Silesia, Bohemia or Lusatia. Within a few decades, the population mushroomed. By 1890, the town had more than 8,000 inhabitants. Many of the newly arrived workers were Roman Catholics, which meant this small Protestant town actually had to build a Roman Catholic church! During the early decades of the economic boom, there wasn’t much mixing of different demographic groups. The old-established Radeberg residents lived in the historic town centre, while the new arrivals settled in the industrial suburbs with their newly laid-out streets and housing developments.
In the next room, you’ll find out about some of the industries that would shape Radeberg’s economic life over the following decades. But first, take a look into the small room to the left of the map, where you’ll discover probably the most famous product ever to come out of Radeberg: the beer brewed at the local brewery, which was set up in 1872 and is called “Radeberger Exportbierbrauerei”. You’ll find some nostalgic advertising, beer glasses and curiosities such as this combination of glass brick and beer bottle … a pioneering invention that sadly failed to catch on.
All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen