Jewish Shoemakers in the Lanes of the Old City of Jerusalem, Charles Wilson, late 1800s
An illustration from the book Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt written by Charles Wilson in the nineteenth century. The picture shows a shoemaker's workshop in the Old City of Jerusalem at the end of the nineteenth century. It portrays the building where the shoemakers worked, the tools they used, and the clothing of those times.
Sir Charles Wilson was a British military officer and geographer. In 1864 he participated in a geographical and historical survey of Jerusalem during which he discovered an ancient stone arch on the northeast corner of the Western Wall. This arch, later named Wilson's Arch, is thought to have supported a road that led into the Temple Mount at the time of the Second Temple.
Three years later Wilson joined the Palestine Exploration Fund and surveyed additional places in Israel. He was appointed chairman of the Palestine Exploration Fund and held this position until his death in 1905.
From 1881-1883 Wilson led another expedition to Israel and Egypt. This picture is one of many that appear in the book describing this trip. In this expedition, as stated in the subtitle of the book, he was "assisted by the most eminent Palestine explorers." The illustrated book provides wonderful depictions of life in Palestine at the end of the nineteenth century.
Wilson was one of many explorers and pilgrims who visited the Holy Land in the nineteenth century. These travelers summarized their experiences in books, photograph albums and drawings, many of which are collected in the National Library of Israel.
This picture allows us a peek into the streets of nineteenth-century Jerusalem and could be most effective in history lessons dealing with the history of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. It could also be used as to illustrate the differences in industry before and after the Industrial Revolution. (It is interesting, in addition, to note that the Industrial Revolution occurred at different times in different places around the world; these nineteenth-century Jewish shoemakers in Jerusalem had still not experienced the changes in industry that were already common in Europe.)
Describe the picture – consider the building, the clothing and the tools the people are using.
The picture shows people who lived in the Old City of Jerusalem. Look on the internet for pictures of people in the Old City today. What are the differences and similarities?
This picture appears in a book by Sir Charles Wilson. Who was he? What archeological findings is he known for?
Toward the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, many Europeans came to visit the historical sites in Israel. Why were they interested in Israel? What technological developments enabled them to visit the area?