The Hidden Home - some history
"The Hidden Home" is hidden in the alleyways of Speyer's historic old town in the former tanner's quarter, directly on the medieval city wall.
For centuries the history of Speyer was marked by conflicts between citizenship and the clergy.
The emergence of an urban leadership was originally a by-product of episcopal city rule. From the noble and civil servants as well as experienced and wealthy citizens emerged an administrative patriciate.
From the 1270s a new leadership was created by merger of the administrative patriarchy with merchants, the local nobility of the area and especially the Münzer-Hausgenossen, which was particularly distinguished by their economic power.
This administrative patriciate faced the artisans, organized in guilds.
"The beginnings of the guild system are not proven in Speyer. When first mentioned at the beginning of the 14th century, they are already characterized by a high level of organization. A key function in Speyer was cloth manufacturing, which was the reason for the cultivation of the dye plant Krapp in the area.
It is considered for sure that the guild bourgeoisie had by far the largest share of the population of Speyer. Professionally organized occupational groups in Speyer were bakers / millers, fishermen, gardeners, farm workers, butchers, who account for about one third of all entries in documents. The sector of textile production and services (trade, wine shop, transport, market traffic) is mentioned at about one fifth each. In addition, there was fur and leather processing and trade, the construction industry, metalworking and, last but not least, municipal employees and supervisors.
Some of the trades were represented more or less in certain urban areas: the Lauer in the west of the Hasenpfuhlvorstadt, the Hasenpfühler around the harbor area on the Speyerbach, the gardeners in the Gilgenvorstadt, the fishermen in the Fischervorstadt. The guild houses of the shopkeepers, shoemakers, Brontreger, old garments and blacksmiths grouped themselves to the south, the bakers, butchers, Salzgässer, tailors, wine, weavers, clothers and stonemasons north of the large market street (today Maximilianstraße), with emphasis in the area Salzgasse / fish market and Greifengasse. "(Wikipedia)
The term "Lauer" does not come from "ambush" (German: "Auflauern"), as one might suspect. Rather, the alley is named after a medieval trade: the tannery. Already in the Middle Ages, there was a clear division of the leather industry after the different tanning processes. The white tanners (Irher, Ircher) mainly produced nobler and thinner leathers (for example, Glacé and Kidleder or Chevreaux) made from calf, sheep and goat skins by mineral tanning with alum or table salt.
The red or tanned tanners (Loher, Lorer, Lauer) processed the skins of almost all kinds of animals into sole, insole and shell leather, to belt, suitcase and furniture leather, to carriage tops, harness, stuffed and blank leather for saddlery and the carriage construction. The tannins used were ground red bark, for example oak, spruce, fir, but also willow, hemlock, birch and alder. The tanner liquor was formerly called "Lowe", "Loue" or "Laue". Red Tanners were also specialized in the production of luxury leather such as varnish, saffron, morocco leather and Juften or Juchten and counted, in contrast to the white tanners, mostly to the wealthy and socially respected craftsmen, often represented in the council of a city . (Wikipedia)
Of course, "the Louer" also needed water nearby, so it is not surprising that our "Lauergasse" is only a few meters away from the Nonnenbach - a section of the Speyerbach. There are three narrow alleys that can only be walked on foot: Lauerbachgasse, Bachgasse and the Gerbergasse.
It is easy to imagine how this area used to be made up of small houses that have been destroyed, rebuilt and expanded over the centuries.
Thus, the Lauergasse no. 29, "The Hidden Home", still existed at the beginning of the 20th century as two small houses with a passage in the middle to a shed or annex on the city wall. It was not until 1947 that the left-hand house was demolished and the site was covered with a concrete ceiling and overbuilt. Today's garage was built. In 1996, the attic was increased, but not expanded.
In 2012, we, Katja Paeschke and Wolfgang Rillig, took over the completely obstructed property and subjected it to a total renovation. The rear building on the city wall was completely removed, the main house gutted and renovated. This resulted in a total of five beautiful apartments of about 36 - 46 sqm, all with bright beamed ceilings, some with private terrace to the southwest, a private small courtyard and a car storage facility.On the basis of the history of the house, the change of the here once resident trades and thus of the society can be read off well. During the renovation, we found interesting evidence from the beginning of the last century.
The property was owned for a long time by the Merl family, whose ancestors were tailors in the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century one of the sons was interested in the then revolutionary technique of sewing machines. From the penchant for machines and technology grew the interest in the ever-spreading motor vehicles. And today, three generations later, Merl is the largest taxi company in the city of Speyer.
Another industry, in turn, is still there in this now purely residential area: that of the baker. For example, the most prominent bakery in Speyer, Berzel (really writes like that), produces only 50 meters from here - the famous Speyer pretzel. Fresh from the oven simply irresistible. Just enjoy them!