rush of immigrants to the Ruhr - district at the end of the 19th
century caused a very high need of moderate housing facilities.
But the coal mining companies kept away from to built big tenement
houses as it was usual in other parts of the German Reich at that
time, because they feared landslips.
And so a lot of the so called coal miner´s settlements were
built in the direct near of the coal pits consisting of usually
quite small houses.
The hire for a 50 m² flat was about 10 Marks per month in
the year of 1900, that are about 150 US $ in compare to nowaday´s
The standard of the flats was very poor. There was no running
water, no drains and no heating. Coal ovens were used to heat
the flats, and the coal miners got free of charge coals for the
houses. (So my grandma Auguste. a coal miner´s widow,
got 2 1/2 tons of coal per year till she died in 1993). Artificial
light was produced by petroleum - lamps, but some houses were
fitted with gaslight some year later. Electric light was too expensive
for a long time and should superseede gaslight in the better houses
in the 1920s.
The streets of the settlements were unfortified and muddy soils
when it was raining. The drains were simply running into the gutters.
But this terrible sanitary conditions often were an advance of
the housing facilities in compare to their old homelands for a
lot of immigrants.
The old coal miner´s settlements lack the anonymousity of
the nowaday´s block of flats. The structure of the society
was very rich. People helped each other, the neighbourhood was
taken care of. People celebrated parties, and they often had time
to make a conversation on the bank next to their houses after
the work was done. Common hobbies were cultivated. The soccer
and the breading of pigeons of the Ruhr - district are famous
worl wide still today.
The houses got big gardens and stables. Domestic cattles like
rabbits, goats and even pigs were breaded besides the pigeons,
the so called "race horses of the man in the street".
And so people could produce a great part of their nutrition by
But a lot of this nice coal miner´s houses were pulled down
after the second world war. Their preserve wasn´t still
economical for the coal mining companies. Employers of the coal
pits could buy a small house for about 5.000 US $ at the beginning
of the 1970s. Well preserved buildings represent a sentimental
value today, and the rest of the coal miner´s settlements
are being cared of and are protected to be ruined.
I want to introduce by pictures some of the most intersting settlements