Belated Happy Birthday Switzerland

While I'm finding the history of Switzerland to be rather complicated, I suppose the birthday of the modern state as we know it today can be identified as September 12, 1848, with the creation of a federal constitution following a brief civil war.  This constitution marked the establishment of a strong central government and replaced the treaties which loosely united the independent cantons.  Confusingly, today's Swiss National Day is celebrated on August 1st, a date imprecisely associated to the first treaty between three founding cantons in 1291.

I'm reminded of this happy occaison by an illustration I recently obtained from an 1869 issue of The Illustrated London News, showing the celebration of the Swiss National Festival in Geneva.  Notice the three clocks in the Tour de I'lle tower, occupied by V&C at this time.  Although replaced by a single clock in 1886, before then these clocks showed the different times in Paris, Geneva and the Swiss capital, Bern.  Speaking of confusion...Paris was 15 minutes, 16 seconds behind Geneva and Bern was 5 minutes, 6 seconds ahead.

The Tour de I'Ile itself has been described as the last medieval structure left in Geneva and was once part of a Bishop's fortress chateau, then became a prison and gatehouse guarding this strategic river crossing from invaders.  As the place of execution, it is marked by a statue to Swiss patriot Philibert Berthelier, who was beheaded there in 1519 for leading resistance against the Italian House of Savoy.

Belated Happy Birthday Switzerland

V&C's future premises at 1 Quai des Moulins can been seen, where people can be glimpsed through the windows enjoying a private celebration.  They moved across the road in 1875.

Belated Happy Birthday Switzerland
really interesting about the 3 clocks on the tower
09/25/2012 - 11:01
A closer look
09/25/2012 - 17:01
Interesting (as always)! Thanks for sharing (nt)
09/25/2012 - 20:47
3 clocks out of sequence and not a clue for a softly boiled egg...
09/26/2012 - 22:35
Dean, I haven't a clue how you dig these things up - but don't stopangel. Bit by bit the learning curve improves and the mind is refreshed... Whether you're up a mountain or sat at base camp, you come-up with the goodsyes. It's all appreciated- be assured! Best wishes Tony
a photo from 1875
09/27/2012 - 12:21
Tour de l'Ile 1875
Alex, you've whet my appetite...
09/27/2012 - 13:39
What is the actual location? Is it still standing? Tony
to paraphrase the great poet E.John...
09/27/2012 - 18:29
"It's still standing" Central Geneva on the Quai de l'Ile
A lyrical note.....
09/28/2012 - 00:16
Thanks, Alex  -  your message is music to my earscool. Tony
Old postcard
09/28/2012 - 18:00
Sweet photo Alex, any way to download the full-size version?  Here is an old hand-colored postcard, before the streetcar tracks.  Looks like "Ville de Manchester" office on the main floor of the Maison.
We're making progress bit by bit...
09/29/2012 - 19:55
The hand-coloured postcard is beautiful, Dean. I wonder if Alex is able to oblige with your request? The early years of V&C are so interesting. Thanks again Tony
Unfortunately I don't have a larger version
10/01/2012 - 00:04