these dinosaurs" ?
This DVD-ROM introduces, according to the different cases, either to a
or a deeper knowledge of 120 European big or extremely big size
industrial site, dispersed over some twenty countries..
Their choice, even if restricted to a very limited sample with regard to
the extreme wealth of the industrial heritage of the considered 21
countries, has been by no means an haphazard one, even if not an easy
one. The authors did not want to set aside those sites which are
inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, although they are
relatively well known thanks to other publications; however, they deemed
it fair to make the public better familiarised with sites of a different
kind, which until know did not attain the same level of notoriety on the
international cultural stage, in spite of the fact that knowing and
interpreting them can provide an equally exciting access to the sphere
of industrial heritage.
The intention has been to review, even if through such a quick
itinerary, the main aspects of that heritage. Not more than twenty of
them belong to the scope of textile industries, which have been among
the fisrt ones to be welcomed to the field of exploration of industrial
archaeology. The same what touches some fifteen sites or monuments
(bridges, viaducts, canals, railways, stations) pertaining to the field
of civil engineering and of architecture linked to new building
materials, of which achievements are closely connected with the
different stages of industrialisation.
However, the true meaning of that operation does not lie there. It will
remained marked by the rather long-term conjuncture in which times it
will have been implemented. That conjuncture has been encompassing the
agony of most of extractive industries and of a good number of
industrial basins which had been famous because of their ironworks and
mechanical engineering plants. The attention of the public opinion and
of all kinds of authorities should be drawn to the risks which are
looming on their architectural and technical vestiges, of which size and
cumbersome appearance are raising at first look so much reluctance – as
a consequence of a superficial information. Truly said, they are loaded
with human memory and with features of local, regional or national,
economic and technical history, that should suggest a spontaneously
respectful attitude, in the context of a carefully selective and
justified policy of protection and reuse.
Thus one will not keep from observing the space consecrated to mining
sites – either coal or metallic (about twenty), to ironworks (a dozen),
to metallurgy and mechanical engineering industries (another dozen), but
also to the heritage of ports and arsenals (close to fifteen), which are
analogous to the former sites because of the radical way in which they
have been dismissed and of the physical scale of the problems they are
raising. It has been intended, further, to give fair room to a dozen of
workers’ housing sites, belonging to a very varied typology, which are
establishing a straight connection between life styles from the times of
industry and new ways of life in the post-industrial era.
Each of the 120 files comes with a common structure, which allows to
link the particular cases to the general problematic which is
transversal to the whole thought and action of TICCIH. Apart from the
voices regarding the geographical situation, or the bibliography, the
sites are subject to a presentation (at least for the most important
among them), to a historical study, to an analysis of their current
status and material condition, and finally of the thematic and ways of
enhancement or reuse which are their own fate.
In this way, for each of them their characteristic features are
underlined – either technical, architectural, morphological, etc. –
which deserve a specific attention; their links with the different
historical stages of industrialisation; the degree of protection they
are enjoying or should enjoy; their physical resistance or
precariousness; and finally their contribution to the maintenance of the
memory of such or such major aspect of the industrial European heritage
along the road towards its construction.
The conception and the realization of that DVD have been up to Maria
Teresa Maiullari Pontois*, who has recruited and driven the team of
collaborators (about ninety of them), written part of the notes, revised
the texts, selected the illustrations and provided some necessary
Louis Bergeron** has assisted her in his quality of scientific adviser.
He also ensured the recuperation of a certain number of files which had
been collected by care of TICCIH in the course of the nineties, and
which until then had not been given any form of outlet.
*Ph.D.in History, member of TICCIH Board, researcher at the Ecole des
Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris)
**Professor (retired) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences
Sociales (Paris), TICCIH honorary President for life.
- Ecomusée du
Creusot-Montceau (France), chef de file
Rhenisches Industriemuseum (Allemagne), coorganisateur
- Museu de la Ciencia i de la tecnica de Catalunya
Centro Internazionale "Città d'Acqua" (Italie), coorganisateur