Westwall 188

In 1999, after 2 years of restoration, our house at Westwall 188 in Krefeld was completed. Because this is an exceptional building, it deserves some attention here on the web.


The House

The house was built in the style of the 'Gründezeit' around 1880. It is a three story building, a 'Putzbau' in four axes. The middle axes in the upper storeys are emphasised by ionic pillars, attractive architraves and pediments. The staircase is made entirely from oakwood and decorated with nutwood lean support sticks which are beautifully hand-turned and cut. Extraordinary marble floors and a bronze statue complete the picture. The doors to the staircase are decorated with bull's-eye panes which are all still intact and lend the infiltrating light a unique, warm and friendly atmosphere.

Short History of Westwall 188

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Drawing of the facade, made by the former
proprietor and architect Victor Woytowicz.

The architect Peter Schroers, who lived on the opposite side of the quarter at Hubertusstraße 152, bought the parcel at Westwall 188 in 1893. He designed and constructed the present house. On the same Hubertusstraße, a certain Heinrich Heinen (born 04.03.1852, died 26.11.1923) owned a velvet factory by the name of "Heinrich Heinen Samt und Samtbänder Velvet und Velvetbänder Fabrik, gausrix Anstalt und Samt- und Velvetdruckerei", that bordered exactly on the back of the Westwall. In those days, the wealthy Heinrich Heinen, a Pruis en katholic, himself lived at Westwall 190. When the house was finished in 1896, he bought it from Schroers and could now walk through his garden to his mill with ease.

The door that connected both houses
was covered with this hall stand in 1920

His son, August Heinrich, took over the business and lived at number 188 where he connected the houses by means of a doorway between the entrance halls. This doorway was hidden by a wall stand in 1920, but it is probably still there.

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The proud new owner, probably August
Heinen, on the balcony of his new house.

Heinrich Heinen lived there until 1920, as he moved to Hubertusstaße 187. In that year he rented the house to the owner of a metal mill by the name of ? , who bought the house - after the death of Heinrich Heinen in 1923 - from his brother, Robert Heinen.

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View from the Liebfrauenkirche (in those days Marienkirche)
over the street of beauty in Krefeld. The house is marked
with an arrow on the enlargement.

Krefeld is called the city of silk and velvet. The textile businessman, August Heinen, was in good company in the years that he lived there. His next-door neighbour at number 186 was a textile printer called "Wolff und Beckerath Zeugdruckerei" and on the other side there lived a silk and velvet trader. If you read through the telephone book of those days you will see that 30% of the houses were owned by silk and velvet traders or manufacturers.

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View to the north with the Liebfrauenkirche. The trees were
sacrificed due to the cold winters by the end of the worldwar II.
During the bombings that hit the house on the right side and
destroyed most of Krefeld, the balcony was also apparantly distroyed.
Not untill 1999 was it restored to its original design.

Today the former mill is a fitness room.


The house is remarkable because of its rare and worthy details as well as its originality. It became a listed building in 1985 and added to the catalogue of the state of North Rhine Westfalia under the list ID 357.

On completion of the restoration between 1997 and 1999, the house was split up into 4 legal units, 3 appartments and 1 office on the ground floor - just as in the old days. The office is now to be transformed into an appartment though. The architectural planning is almost completed and more information will follow later.


The Penthouse

High over the roofs of Krefeld, with a beautiful view of the court, there is now a penthouse with an spacious terraced roof. It is split over two floors and because of its extraordinary decoration has become, without doubt, one of Krefeld's most beautiful appartments. The new proprietors have created something really unique.


First and second floor

The second floor contains an appartment that is very similar to the living quarters on the first floor. The layout of the rooms is the same except for the first room on the Westwall side which is split up into two rooms in the upper living quarters and one large room in the first floor. But even here, in the second floor, the ceilings are more than 4 yards in height and have been oppulantly decorated with stucco.

The even more luxurious first floor ceilings are decorated with delightful cherubim. The unique ceiling in the dining room has been labouriously and expensively restored as close as possible to the original. Even the antique floors are protected nd have been renovated in their original quatre-carré style. Even after 123 years they are still in remarkable shape.




Ground floor

The former bureau on the ground floor was transformed into an appartment in 2003. A bathroom and a kitchen were added. Now, after 8 years, the restoration is completed.




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