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Topics of the weekend

There are two main topics to be discussed during the weekend - and for both we are looking for YOUR input and contributions
 And as every year a limited number of associations will be allowed to present a short paper about their activities.


 * 2015, the European Industrial and Technical Heritage Year

For the backgrounds and information about the 2015 campaign we refer to the pages on the 2015 Industrial and Technical Heritage Year on the E-FAITH website


 * The industrial heritage: a holistic heritage in a global world

This is the main theme of this year, and for which we are looking for reports

  • that look beyond a single and isolated building, an engine that has been saved without context, or research on traditions and know how that don't take the tangible heritage into account.

We are especially interested in papers

  • dealing with international and bordercrossing projects, with industrial remains and heritage from one country preserved in another country, or industrial heritage projects that refer to the broader European context.

In short: we want to discuss the broader look at industrial and technical heritage, related to the society and to transnational developments.
How preservation, adaptive re-use and interpreting industrial heritage cannot be done without a look at its surroundings, and how it influences its environment.
How one can support research, preservation campaigns, interpretation and presention of our common industrial and technical heritage between countries and regions.

  Holistic and global...                                                                                            

"The" industrial heritage is more than just an empty building or old machinery taken from a factory and exhibited in a museum.
It’s the context that counts, explaining the conditions of those who made their life from industry (not only the workers but also the entrepreneurs), explaining how they by inventing, introducing and using new technologies changed not only the material surroundings of mankind but also social behaviour, philosophy and ideology.

In the context of the 1975 European Architectural Heritage Year the concept of ‘industrial archaeology’ influenced and widened the scope of “heritage” to those remains that until then were omitted. The remains and relicts of ordinary people, the heritage of work. The first paragraph of the European Heritage Charter, adopted by the Council of Europe in October 1975, clearly stated

European Architectural Heritage Year 1975 “The European architectural heritage consists not only of our most important monuments: it also includes the groups of lesser buildings in our old towns and characteristic villages in their natural or manmade settings.”

In 1978, when TICCIH - The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage - was established in Sweden during the Third International Conference on Industrial Heritage, the participants agreed upon a preamble which defined the subject:

“ The study of the Industrial Heritage is concerned with an epoch in man's evolution characterized by industrialization.
Industrialization implies the onset of a fundamental change in the structure of an economy and a fundamental redeployment away from agriculture, with emphasis on industrial and mechanical innovation advances in the techniques of production; and the mechanization of processes in a single industry leading to ‘massproduction’ - all on the basis of large plants driven by other than human power.
The study of Industrial Heritage should be concerned with the society as well as the physical evidence of industrialization, taking into account of men and women, past and present.
In view of the multiplicity of industrial phenomena throughout the world, the Industrial Heritage should further be taken to mean:
1. all immovable goods (landscapes, sites and buildings), and movable goods (plant, equipment, and other fixtures and fittings), which provide evidence of the industrial activities of economically advanced or developing societies, including sources of energy and raw materials, working places, housing, transport facilities, and relating machinery;
2. all written, graphic, and other documents and records of industrial activities; and of industrial sites, structures, and equipment, including documents as refer to the commissioning and construction; together with such technical, legal, administrative, and other text as deal with the industrial heritage in general;
3. industrial products, to the extent that they are essential to the understanding of such activities.
All of which should be listed, studied, conserved, and interpreted for purposes of adequate documentation; and of education, culture, and enjoympent, through selective, planned action along thematic lines.”

This important clear-cut definition was later influencing many other statements.
In 1985, Christian Delaunay, representing the Steering Committee for Urban Policies and the Architectural Heritage of the Council of Europe, told us at the start of the Council of Europe colloquium ‘The industrial heritage: what policies?’ held at Lyon-Vaulx-en-Velin - next to the place where E-FAITH will be meeting in October 2014 :

“The industrial heritage not only consists of factories (buildings and machines) but also all things connected to them: techniques, knowhow, archives and also the homes of the workforce and public buildings built by the industrialists.
When it comes to conservation, to intelligent re-use, even to keeping something going, the action in favour of the industrial heritage can greatly contribute, notably in the cities or suburbs which have been created around one or several industries, in creating the identity of the town, the indispensable symbolism, because it concerns elements of often emotional character of local history; it concerns the roots or the identity of the inhabitants.”

It is clear from these and other declarations and many publications, that to study and to understand our industrial heritage, we do have to use all available sources of information on the material developments of past industrial society, and on the way these do influence today’s society.
These sources are

  • the immovables - the architecture, the buildings, and how they were conceived and constructed, the industrial settlements and the landscapes created by industry
  • the movable remains - machinery, fixture and fittings, the products, etc.
  • the documentary evidences: archives, pictures, photographs, ...
  • the intangible heritage: the passing on of know how, traditions, the stories of men and women.

all of them to be linked together when researching the industrial environment when preparing preservation plans, when interpreting them, and when telling their story to the public.

Industrialization created a new relationship between men and their environment. Working in or next to one’s home disappeared to be replaced by working in the factory - travelling each day to the workplace or living in back-to-back, courtyard houses or even a company village built by the mill owner. New factories and mills were erected next to transport axes, canals, the new railroads, harbours,... to easily ship and export products. Whole natural landscapes changed to become industrial landscapes dominated by weaving sheds, pithead gears, factory chimneys or tip heaps - even the quality of the soil and the flora changed by the waste left behind and pollution.

But the history of industrialisation and modern technology is also the story of globalization ‘avant la lettre’.
Modern industrial espionage emerged in the early years of the industrial revolution and increased in the course of time. In the beginning of the 18th century the Swedish industrial spy, Henric Kalmeter, travelled through England, Scotland, Belgium and Germany and reported on mining, the production of iron and steel, and many other industries. Lieven Bauwens, the founder of modern cotton industry in Ghent, stole in 1799 a mule jenny in England and smuggled it to the continent. Immediately after the Belgian independence the government sent two young engineers to England to 'study' modern transport systems: they returned with railway plans and technology, which leaded in 1835 to the opening of the first passenger railway on the European continent, between Brussels and Mechelen.
Since the late 18th and early 19th c. machinery, tools, products crossed the borders and technology became more and more international. Industrial exhibitions, from the French 'expositions des produits industriels du Département' till the 'Great Exhibition' of 1851 in Crystal Palace and later international and 'world' exhibitions were conceived to create and conquer new markets beyond the purview of traditional outlets. Steam engines and locomotives built in England, France, Belgium and Germany are now preserved and shown to the public in museums and historic sites in Spain, Italy and Greece. The legally protected power station of Zwevegem (Belgium) still has its historic turbines and generators made in Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary and Belgium. The Constructions Elektriques de France (Lyon - Vénissieux) sold water turbines to mills all over Europe. Since 1868 the company Schneider, Jacquet & Cie from Königshofen, near Strasbourg, was selling turbines and building complete standardized flour mills in France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and other countries  - as did Ganz & Cie (Budapest), Seck (Dresden), (Uzwil), Henry Simon Ltd (Manchester), Luther (Braunschweig-Darmstadt), ...

The only mechanical lace loom today preserved in Lyon was made by the Johnson company, who's roots went back to England. 80% of the textile production of Lyon was exported out of France. Before the American Civil War about 50% of exportation was destined for the United States. 



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European Industrial and Technical Heritage Year
Année européenne du patrimoine industriel et technique
Jahr des Industriellen und Technischen Erbes
Anno del Patrimonio Industriale e Tecnico Europeo
Año Europeo del Patrimonio Industrial y Técnico

>>  to the website of the Year