Conquering the West
Lieu : Centre historique minier de Lewarde
Centre Historique Minier, Fosse Delloye, Rue d'Erchin, 59287 Lewarde, France
November 25, 2023 @ 13h00 – September 15, 2024 @ 18h00
By the Lewarde Historic Mining Centre
At the beginning of the 19th century, unsuccessful drilling in the Arras region led to the belief that the deposit had come to an end. Although the extension beyond Douai was discovered by chance at Oignies in 1841, it was the rational exploration work carried out by Alban du Souich (1812-1888) that confirmed it, proving that a systematic study of the geological structure of the basin was essential. In fact, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais deposit trends from east to south-west before bending abruptly to the north-west in the Douai region.
While this discovery was based on science, the new companies could also draw on the know-how and techniques that had been in place for over a century in the Nord region. The growth in production was considerable and spectacular. The landscape of the coalfield was transformed by the mining installations and the thousands of dwellings that sprang up like mushrooms. In 1878, the Pas-de-Calais coalfield became France’s leading coalfield, ahead of the Nord and Loire coalfields, thirty years after its discovery. Around 1880, twenty-six companies shared 122,000 hectares and produced 9 million tonnes a year, equivalent to 45% of French production.