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Travel adventures, life in London, books, music and art Built between andit is probably the modernist masterpiece of iconic Dutch architects, Johannes Brinkman and Leendert Van de Vlugt.
The company was founded in when Johannes and Hendrika van Nelle opened a store in Rotterdam selling coffee, tea and tobacco. The location for the new building was just outside the centre of the city but with easy access to roads, railways and canals.
Visitors from Amsterdam arriving in Rotterdam by train get a good view of the factory, demonstrating its closeness to the railway line.
The factory is supported on a structure of reinforced concrete with facades composed of glass and steel. During my tour of the building it was explained that it was also felt to be beneficial to be able to be observed whilst working, showing that you were pulling your weight and not slacking.
This is a very large building, running to 8 storeys and metres in length. Coffee, tea and tobacco were processed in different areas.
Raw materials were delivered to the top floors where processing commenced and moved down a floor at a time to complete each stage of the process until they were shipped out from the ground floor and taken to retailers. A series of bridges link the main building and the former stores opposite.
These are sloping and were used to transport goods between the different parts of the complex, making use of gravity to do so. In keeping with the spirit of modernism, the factory was designed with the wellbeing of the workforce in mind.
Showers were provided for the workers at a time when very few, if any of them would have had such facilities at home. A cinema, library, light filled cafe and sports facilities were also provided for the workers. De Leeuw was a close friend of philosopher and one time potential "messiah" of the movement, Jiddu Krishnamurti.
However, the altruism only extended so far and the tennis courts in the factory grounds were only for the use of managers! At its height more than 2, people worked here - the equivalent of a large village or small town.
The workforce was segregated with men and women performing different tasks and working separately. The magnificent double staircase pictured in this post was designed to accommodate this regime with one set of stairs for women and one for the men. The reasoning for this was that segregation would prevent romance budding in the workplace and distracting the workers from their labour.
During my stay in Rotterdam I also visited the Chabot Museum which is housed in the former Kraaijeveld Houseanother modernist gem. A film was being shown there that included footage from the construction of the factory and of the staff at work. The female staff wore very business-like overalls that would not be out of place in a laboratory and almost all of them sported the fabulously glamorous Marcel wave hairstyle.
As well as keeping the genders apart, other measures were taken to remind employees of their social status. Important guests and buyers from retail outlets would be received in a part of the building separate to the parts frequented by the workers.
The Sonnenveld House still stands and can be visited today. The factory came through the Second World War unscathed and over time, the company diversified and included cigarettes, instant puddings and rice amongst their products, continuing to produce goods until It inspired significant plot points in the novels Waterways by Eleanor Dark () and Careful, He Might Hear You by Sumner Locke Elliott ().
Today, on the 90 th anniversary of the disaster, we tell the story of Betty Sharp, the teenage girl who had a haunting impact on the recovery teams at the time of the accident and through .
A Description of the Sad Story of a Little Boy With a Strange Name by Sumner Locke Elliott. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. The Reader's Digest Condensed Books were a series of hardcover anthology collections, He Might Hear You - Sumner Locke Elliott; The Cincinnati Kid - Richard Jessup; Volume 57 - Spring.
The Strange Fate of the Morro Castle - Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts Volume 97 - #1. Source Description: (title page) A School History of the Negro Race in America, from to , With a Short Introduction as to the Origin of the Race; Also a Short Sketch of Liberia.
Negro orators told in eloquent style the sad story of . Laughing Boy is the name of one of the lead characters, a traditional Navajo, in about He is a young man, a silversmith of some modest note, and he comes to a .