600 years of Łódź
2023 is a special jubilee for Lodz - it marks the 600th anniversary of the City Charter issued to the city. This digital exhibition fits into events in celebration of its founding. The history of Lodz should be cherished because it is extremely interesting and dynamic, but it is also distinct from other Polish cities. For the first 400 years it was relying on agriculture - owned by a bishop Lodz was a little town on the route from Łęczyca to Piotrków. It did not look like a municipality as we know it today and the only remnant of this period is the Old Town. It was not until the 19th century when Lodz really spread its wings. The agreement to establish the weaving industry here determined the development of the city and influenced its rapid expansion. There were only 767 inhabitants in the town in 1820, whereas in 1900, after 80 years, the population rose to 300 000 people. Even today this pace of growth is incredible. Thanks to the booming textile production at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Lodz increasingly reached the status of a leading Polish and European metropolis. It is equally hard to imagine the most recent period in the history of the city - effects of the economic transformation and collapse of the textile industry resulted in ongoing visible scars in urban as well as social landscapes. The jubilee should therefore be an occasion to ponder, look back and analyze the past events. We hope the exhibition objects will facilitate such reflections.
Despite the fact that most of the production in Łódź was made of textiles, many facilities were also built in the city, which the inhabitants of Łódź used on a daily basis. Often these were small factories, producing ordinary, simple things, so ordinary that they were easy to forget. On the other hand, these are common things throughout the country, which not everyone associates with Łódź, such as turntables. Objects in this category also show the richness of small Łódź productions or social and cultural life in the city. Everyday objects are also silent witnesses of the dramatic history of Łódź in the 20th century. Souvenirs from Litzmannstadt, things created in the ghetto are a testimony of the most tragic days for the city.
Production of clothing in a natural way is connected with textile industry, understood as production of fabrics and knitted fabrics, which is why Łódź has a rich history in this field. This part presents objects created in old, pre-war fashion stores in Łódź, as well as objects created in post-war clothing factories or knitwear factories. Many other factories, whether cotton or woolen, also produced clothing accessories, such as scarves, scarves, scarves. Łódź plants of this type were often known throughout Poland, and their names became synonymous with style, elegance and good quality. Everyone knew the names "Próchnik", "Wólczanka", "Telimena" or "Olimpia", and many people still store these products in their wardrobes with sentiment
Along with the development of industry, other branches of the economy in Łódź, crafts and trade, also developed. The importance of craftsmanship, mainly services, grew due to the growing needs of the city's growing population. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, craftsmen were grouped in 15 guilds: cooper, carpenter, furrier, blacksmith, tailor, painter, bricklayer, ropemaker, butcher, butcher, locksmith, carpenter, shoemaker, weaver, weaver, tokar and Danish. The total number of craftsmen reached 5 thousand people. Along with the development of crafts and industry, trade gained in importance, which is evidenced by the souvenirs associated with the confectionery shops presented at the exhibition.