Souvenirs of the Golden Years in the Bernese Oberland 1860 - 1914

In 1855 Thomas Cook organised the first trip from England to the continent, but he lost money with it. By offering mass tourists to the railway companies, he was able to offer in return cheap tickets to the continent. This started off organised tourism, as we know it today. In 1868 he offered his first trip to Switzerland. Early tourism followed the route and evolved out of the "Grand Tour" the English Noblemen used to do in the later part of the 17th and the 18th century. He visited with larger number of people, places like Geneva, Chamonix, Leukerbad, Gemmi, Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. Thomas Cook was bringing middle class tourists to places, where just upper class travellers went before. With that he changed Switzerland a lot, all the things the English wanted, like roast beef, tennis courts, proper plumbing, English churches, suddenly the Swiss started to build and to produce. Switzerland became less an adventure, more a tourist experience with the view of the dramatic mountains. Tourist always tried to make their journey to a foreign land memorable. Souvenirs were important objects in these days for the tourists and offered income to local people. This development happened at a time, when the wine production declined in the Thune area and Heimberg-pottery suffered from the new porcelain. The production of souvenir pottery, paintings and woodcarvings offered new income for many local people.