Lignières: Then and Now

Lignières: Then and Now

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Click image for historical view.

This post card, mailed in 1911, shows the most common view of “downtown” Lignières, which is now called La Place du Régent. The building in the centre is the Hôtel de Commune (town hall), which dates from 1730 and escaped the fire of 1832. Its current address is Place du Régent 2, RACN 010-6456-00064. To the left (Place du Régent 5, RACN 010-6456-00063) is the then Pensionnat Bonjour, a summer pension for those spending their holidays in the village. At right (Place du Régent 1, RACN 010-6456-00076) is the present-day Maison de Commune which was, when the “then” picture was taken, the village school, having been built for that purpose between 1835 and 1837. It later assumed the administrative function, with the Hôtel de Commune now a café-restaurant.

Lignières, painted by René Guerdat of Neuchâtel Both the “then” and “now” images evoke the scene depicted in the magnificent watercolour by artist René Guerdat of Neuchâtel which graces the cover of the Lignières history book.

Cows are seen less frequently in the centre of the village than a century ago, but at least one day a year they are present in abundance, and they can get quite excited at the prospect. Toby the Vigilant Village Dog no longer, however, checks everybody's papers when they enter.

Door of Prison Cell in Hôtel de Commune There are many curious features of the Hôtel de Commune. One of the slit windows below the bell tower (look in the “now” image; they're behind shutters in the “then”) looks out from the prison cell in which miscreants were confined awaiting justice. To the left is the door to the prison cell, seen from outside. If you look closely at the top half, you can see a faint inscription of the compass from the Lignières coat of arms which sharp eyed visitors will also spot above the centre first floor window of the Hôtel de Commune in both images and on the blue flag above the door of the Maison de Commune in the “now” picture.

Inscription on Door of Prison Cell in Hôtel de Commune Lignières, Coat of Arms To the left is an enhanced enlargement of the inscription on the prison cell door. The compass is clearly visible, and resembles the present-day rendering in the coat of arms at the right. At the top of the door is a strange inscription which looks like it may be “Lignières” in some kind of curious Runic-like script; I have no idea what that's about.

Back of post card

Map of viewpoint

The historical photograph is courtesy of M. Werner Löffel of Lignières, who kindly contributed images of his post card collection to the archives of the Fondation de l'Hôtel de Commune de Lignières.