|Location:||Hornu. E19/42 exit St. Ghislain, towards Hornu, turn left onto RN51 towards Mons, turm right into Rue Sainte-Louise.|
All year Tue-Sun 19-18.
Closed 25-DEC, 01-JAN.
Adults EUR 6, Children (6-18) EUR 2, Children (0-5) free, Senior EUR 4, Student (18-26) EUR 4.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||Audio Guides in D=1 h.|
|Address:||Grand-Hornu, Rue Sainte-Louise 82, B-7301 Hornu, Tel: +32-65-652121, Fax: +32-65-613897. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1778||mining started by Charles Godonnesche.|
|1810||after the death of the first owner the widow sells the mine to Henri De Gorge.|
|1814||Sainte-Eugénie pit reaches profitable seam.|
|1816||begin of construction of miners estate.|
|1827||building of the machine-making workshop.|
|1831||workshop starts to make pumps, ventilation, trolleys, rails, and more.|
|1832||Henri De Gorge dies in a cholera epidemic.|
|1971||start of restoration.|
|1989||purchased by the Province of Hainaut.|
|2012||inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.|
The La Louvière Basin runs east-west, to the west the Mons Basin follows, to the east the Charleroi Basin. They are bordered by the Brabant Massif in the north and the Diannt Fold & Thrust Belt in the south. Those basins are composed of sedimentary rocks which were deposited during the Mesozoic, on the surface there are Cretaceous rocks, below Carbon sediments with coal seams. The basins are the main coal areas of Belgium.
Grand-Hornu is former coal mine, but actually it is not primarly known for its mining history, but for the architecture which was created for the needs of the mine and the miners living here. The industrial mining complex was built by Henri De Gorge between 1810 and 1830 in the Neo-classical style. It includes workshops, offices, a miners estate with 440 houses and the administrators' residence called Chateau Degorge (De Gorge Castle) after his owner. So while the site itself is a part of the industrial revolution it is nowadays used as a mining museum, for temporary exhibition and for modern art. It houses the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC).
The mine was started by Charles Godonnesche in 1778. At this time Henri De Gorge is only four years old. But when the first owner dies in 1810, his widow sells the mine to Henri De Gorge for 212,000 francs. Annual coal production is only 10.000 tons, but De Gorge realised the major advantage of this mine: it is located close to an important transport interchange, which creates both, demand and a means of transport. To increase the production he starts to dig new pits, searching for bigger seams. But the first pits were failures, and he had to borrow money. Finally, in 1814 with the fifth pit, Sainte-Eugénie, he found a productive seam which started his success.
But at first De Gorge needed a huge workforce. In order to draw people to this place he offered his workers a unique chance, a housing estate of unimaginable comfort for the period. His investments and ideas worked well and when he died in 1832 as victim of a cholera epidemic his colliery produced 120,000 tons per year and employed some 1,500 people.
De Gorge had no children, after his death the mine was managed by his widow, Eugénie Legrand. She passed on to her nephews who formed a trading company. The mine continued to produce profitable for more than century until it was finally closed of political reasons by the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1956.