CHARBONNAGE FT

CHARBONNAGE FT

In terms of Belgian mining industry, this Charbonnage FT was a rather modest coal mine, which was operated for rather a short period of time. In this region coal was already mined from 1755. The French-Belgian company that exploited the mine was established in 1865. It was mined in countless galleries, mostly dug at relatively low depths. Coal was brought up from 1875 to 1935. In 1920, twelve miners died as a result of a gas explosion at the bottom of the mine. From this moment on the activity of the mine started to decline, until in 1929 only one last seat was still exploited. Finally, the mine closed permanently in 1935. At the beginning of the 21st century, the headframes were demolished and only the old buildings remained. Today, after almost 85 years of dilapidation, they are in a particularly bad state. The regional government has taken the necessary steps in recent years to sanatize the site, which is suffering from heavy pollution. Those works will begin soon…

Check out the complete series by clicking THIS LINK, which will take you to the high quality images on Flickr.


HEAVY METAL REVISIT

HEAVY METAL REVISIT

The first time I was here, is more than two years ago. I was in total awe of this huge factory. Over the past two years, copper thieves have wreaked havoc here, dismantling the wiring to retrieve the copper. They must have stolen several tons of copper and other metals by now… As a matter of fact, they were still at it when we were there this time! Luckily they didn’t bother with us too much. They were even galant enough to stay out of our shots. In spite of all the damage, this abandoned steel mill is still easily the most impressive industrial site I have seen so far. If you enjoy rust & dust as much as I do, you’re gonna love this!

Tumblr won’t allow me to attach more than ten photos to one post. So if you would like to see the full set, you can do so by clicking THIS LINK, which will navigate you to the entire album on Flickr.

If you would like to have a look at the photos from the first visit, two years ago, clicking THIS LINK will bring you to the corresponding album on Flickr. The blog post I wrote about the previous visit on Tumblr can be found by clicking THIS LINK.

Enjoy 🙂


OLD IRON

OLD IRON

Somewhere in the middle of the Walloon grain fields we came across these two unsightly sheds. You would never suspect they were hiding these beautiful classic cars… I saw – among others – an old Mercedes Benz 200 from the end of the 1960s, a “Baader Meinhof Wagen” (BMW). 2002 ti) from the early 1970s and an original Mini Cooper. The absolute showpiece of the collection (for my personal taste) is the Citroën C4 of 1930 though. Also the Renault Juvaquatre of 1939 and the Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe of the early 1950s are special and striking pieces … What the history of these cars is and why they are rusting away in these godforsaken sheds is a complete mystery. According to rumors, they belong to the owner of the nearby garage/gas station. Maybe (hopefully) he has plans to restore these classic beauties…


WATTMAN

WATTMAN

This still active tram depot was built in 1915. There is not much left today from the original depot. Over the years it expanded into a modern maintenance depot for all trams and buses in the city. The size of the depot is not only apparent from the surface it occupies. It was also an important player in the development of the power lines. The site has the capacity to produce its own electricity (2400 KW) to strengthen the power supply of the grid. On a sidetrack of the depot are several old, rusty trams, which may still be preserved for spare parts for the trams in the museum that is connected to the site. The old trams rusting away here, were originally not newly built trams, but converted S-trams. The conversion program started in 1978, but was discontinued in 1988 when most of the tram lines around the city were discontinued. Shortly afterwards, these trams were completely removed from passenger service. “Wattman” is a local term for a tram driver.


BRAINS TOWER

BRAINS TOWER

Due to the increasing demand for cokes in the steel industry and the resulting rise in prices, people started looking for a more cost-efficient technique. This was found by injecting pulverized coal (Pulverized Coal Injection) as a replacement for the heavy oil used until then in the melting process. Pulverized coal is mixed in the primary air supply and blown into the blast furnace. The most noteworthy aspect of this method is that it is possible to use cheaper coal in the system and to replace expensive cokes, thus significantly reducing costs. The process was developed in the 19th century, but was only industrially implemented in the 1970s. In this blast furnace, the method was only introduced in the mid-1990s. In the factory in these photos, pulverized coal was produced until the closure of the nearby blast furnace in 2008.


ROA’S FACTORY

ROA’S FACTORY

These factory ruins are all that remain of the large-scale cotton spinning mill and weaving mill that was established there in the second half of the 19th century. The textile factory remained active until its bankruptcy in the 1960s. Afterwards a copper foundry settled on the grounds and in the buildings. The copper foundry evolved into a metal processing company, which became mainly active in supplying parts for the automotive industry. Due to the increasing demand, the company was soon bursting at the seams. In 1997 they moved to a new and larger site and these buildings have been empty ever since. Inside the factory we come across some fine examples of graffiti art by artist ROA, who we also encountered earlier in Skeleton Factory. The city, which now owns the land and buildings, plans a new housing project here, which will attempt to integrate ROA’s artworks into the concept…


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