Stunning photos show world’s most iconic landmarks in the making

These stunning photographs give a rare glimpse into the construction of some of the world’s most iconic landmarks – when builders wore flat caps instead of hard hats.

The remarkable shots – some dating back more than 130 years – show historic monuments, including The Statue of Liberty, The Eiffel Tower and The Empire State Building, being built.

The black and white snaps, released by The Mary Evans Picture Library, give an extraordinary insight into the construction of historic bridges, buildings and monuments during the 19th and 20th century – before strict health and safety rules were introduced.

In one image builders can be seen wearing flat caps instead of hard hats as they hang from the edge of the Empire State Building and put the finishing touches to the iconic New York skyscraper.


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Eiffel Tower (1889)

Pillars in place on the Parisian landmark, which took two years and 7,000 tonnes of iron

White House (1902)

The Oval Office takes shape, extending the President’s residence in Washington DC

Mount Rushmore (1941)

Carving the faces of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln into the mountain rock with dynamite in South Dakota

Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932)

It took 1,000 men eight years to build the arch, with two teams meeting in the middle

Empire State (1931)

New York’s most romantic meeting place took a year to build, with 5,000 bags of cement arriving each day .

Statue of Liberty (1889)

The structure surrounded by scaffolding in Paris, before being shipped to New York.

Another picture, taken in 1885, shows the Statue of Liberty surrounded by scaffolding in Paris before it was shipped to New York in July later that year.

And an earlier snap shows Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the French creator of the monument, explaining the construction of the hand to a visitor.

One photograph, taken in 1937, features dozens of workmen climbing ladders, standing on platforms and scaling rocks in South Dakota, USA as they sculpt the now globally recognised Mount Rushmore.

While another interesting picture shows the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in July 1930 – with two separate teams building the arch of the bridge from either side using creeper cranes.

Other landmarks documented in the collection include The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tower Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge in London, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, The Suez Canal in Egypt and The White House in Washington.

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