Belgium Beckons - April 2005

AIA Spring Tour 

The Borinage is the name of an industrial region surrounding Mons and extending to the French border. Traditionally a coal-mining district, most of the mines have now been closed

The planned mining village of Bois du Luc

Le Grand Hornu was built between 1810 and 1830 by Henri De Gorge. With an iron-working site in the middle of a planned village, it is an example of functional town-planning unique on the European continent at the start of the great era of industrialisation

Charleroi is at the heart of the ‘pays noir’, once known for coal and iron and steel
but now a ‘black country turning green’.

Bois-du-Casier - Scene of Belgium’s greatest mining disaster in 1956 when 262 miners were killed. Now a preserved site.

Charleroi was known for iron and steel working. A museum has been created in one of the buildings of the 'Forge de la Providence' in Marchienne-au-Pont where the Cockerill company had large steelworks.
Soignies is the centre for quarrying ‘pierre bleue’ which is used extensively in Belgium as a decorative building material.

Canal sites

  • The canal lift, Les Fontinettes, at Arques in France.

  • The 4 working canal lifts at La Louvière in Belgium on the Canal du Centre, a World Heritage site

  • Ronquières - a long inclined plane

  • Strépy Thieu - brand new shaft lock - a new great white elephant?