If you have been near Margaret Island lately, then you know that hundreds of construction workers are doing their best to renovate it for the water sports’ world championship. The renovation is set to finish at the end of this month. In the meantime, you can check out these twenty photos about the island’s last 150 years, collected by pestbuda.hu.
All photographic stories related to the history of Margaret Island start with palatine Joseph, who built a gorgeous park on the island for his own use, and later opened it to the public as well. In this photo, you will see the palatine’s holiday home from the 1870’s, situated near the ruins of the monastery. You will not find the building today, don’t look for it.
The park needed looking after: this photo is supposedly from 1873. Back then, gardeners still wore folk costumes, loose trousers, boots or were bare footed. Question is, did the ladies used the umbrella against the sun or against the hose?
The design of the buildings was entirely up to Miklós Ybl. This is how the Grand Hotel looked like shortly after the finishing touches, in the 1880’s. You cannot miss the characteristic style of Ybl.
The second most important building designed by Ybl was the Margaret-bath. It combines the elegance and cheerfulness of the Renaissance: behind each window, a separate room is found with a small bathtub.
The palatine was an avid botanic fan, so no wonder that there were numerous exotic plants on the island in the 1880’s. The one featured on the photo was brought from India.
Let’s jump to the beginning of the twentieth century: if our guess is right, then the family is standing in front of that osage orange tree that was dented by the great flood of 1838 – the one that is still standing tall on the island.
Sports are blooming in the 1900’s, but as the trees are still small, many of the balls are lost to the Danube’s stream. If you take a closer look, you will see that the grape yards just disappeared from Rózsadomb (on Buda) and that the pier is yet to be built. But hey, that’s the brand-new Lucas bath!
We’re in 1928, in front of the waterfall, surrounded by a nice pool, elegant fencing, there is a lot to admire, especially if you are dressed as a mariner! According to an urban legend, the stump of the Norma tree (have you heard about the Norma tree excursion spot on Buda?), which came down the previous year, was brought here in the hopes that the lime from the water will preserve it.
Japanese garden, lake with fishes, gigantic trees: outstanding elegance right before the breakout of WWII, in 1939.
1943, Palatinus bath. In front is Carl Lutz with his wife, the man, after whom a part of the tier is named. He was Switzerland’s vice-consul in Budapest between 1942 and 1945; he saved thousands of jews from being deported during the holocaust.
1945, the ruins of the Grand Hotel.
Near the monastery ruins in 1958, this is where the palatine’s holiday home used to be, but it’s only a small stall in its place and the depressing fifties.
The Casino’s bistro from 1960. New times brought new styles: based on this photo, we have to admit that it was very cool.
The small temple of food from 1961, on the Palatinus beach. You’ll get a strange sense of nostalgia from looking at these wavy aluminium-covered buildings (at least if you lived in our East-European region).
Modern life in 1965 on the Grand Hotel’s terrace. The fencing needs some improvement, but capri pants and short hair are already trendy.
It feels like Woodstock at the island entrance in 1971. Tight shorts, no bras rule.
1972: Budapest celebrates its 100th birthday and István Kiss’s artwork is inaugurated on the occasion. You are asked to jump in.
Margaret Island, 1975: the period’s icons are already found on the island: the metal spaceship monkey bars.
And lastly, the mighty eighties: police on duty at Palatinus.
We’re closing the gallery with photo from the present.