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© Marc Balters 2007 / 2017

SLIDE SHOW COAL MINES

 

Coalmines in Cevennes, some dates :

- The coal is known and used in Cevennes for a very long time, the first papers giving evidence of ,its exploitation date the XIIIth century - on 1619, the inhabitants of Anduze seeing itself threatened by the armies of Louis XIII sent one of theirs to stock up with coal of ground to Alès - on 1773, Louis XV grants to Mister de Tubeuf the exclusivity of the exploitation of the coal in the pond of Alès.

- From 1815, several Companies build up themselves and are divided the cévenol coal - Between 1830 and 1850, the pond of Alès, thanks to the coal and to the iron, becomes one of the main industrial areas of France 1836, birth of the Company of the Mines of Grand combe - on 1840, creation of the third railroad line in France: Grand Combe / Beaucaire - on 1848, law limiting at 12 am the working day - on 1867, 1 300 000 tons are extracted from the cévenol basement - 1870, 7900 persons are employed by the mining Companies; in 1880: 13000 - on 1874, law forbidding the work at the bottom to the children of less thirteen years and to the women.

- The extraction of the coal will go by increasing (except towards 1890/1910: economic crisis) the region develops, the population increases, the farmers become miner. They have to supply a considerable work. The security at the bottom is practically invalid, the pay is thin. Industrial disputes burst. The " sowers of disorder ", the " makers of strike are pursued, sent back. But this does’nt avoid the fights to continue: strikes in 1896, 1897 ( three months), on 1902, 1906.... The mining Companies prosper until 1945.

- At the liberation, Coalmines are nationalized - on 1947, about 21000 miners work on it - on 1954, the first mine shafts close: Rochessadoule, Vernarède, the others are going to follow - By twenty one wells or galleries of extraction, after St Florent's closures in 1974, of Ricard in Grand Combe in 1978, we arrive in 1980 at the last well still in service: Destival, with a total staff of 1200 employees among which 200 underground workers.

- Then begins, after many others: 1929, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1963, 1968, 1975 one of the most bitter strikes in the history of the mine - On May 5th, 1980 the miners occupy the well Destival and ask for the opening of the deposit of Ladrecht - During thirteen months, the miners will stand up to the Collieries of France and to the power in place - 1981, meadows of 300 young people are hired After the closure of the Well Destival, the reopening of the well of Oules - on 1985, the last underground workers occupy the well of Oules to the announcement of its closure ......