Monday, 10 March 2014
Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin map for Monday
Le bassin minier du Nord et du Pas-de-Calais is one of the more recent (2012) inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I bought the card myself when passing through the area, not long before it was accepted onto the list.
When driving through Nord-Pas de Calais along the motorway, it seems a flat and featureless place with the exception of the slag heaps here and there. Some appear to have been converted into artificial ski slopes. The slag heaps are all that remain of the coal mining industry which continued from the 18th to the 20th century. It ended when the last mine closed during the 1990s.
The pictures around the map show "scenes" from the mining museum at Lewarde. The conditions for workers were often harsh, as described in "Germinal" by Emile Zola though employers did provide community buildings and "model" villages.
It isn't the most fascinating area visually, but an interesting part of industrial heritage.