To understand Cheratte and the men who worked at the mine for a few decades, we need to look back on the history of the coalmine and the migratory flow. Enclosed are archival pictures, postcards from “back in the day”, and testimonies from former miners.
Another important building project handled by the Charbonnage was the construction, between 1923 and 1926, of a cite jardin (garden city) for its workers. It is located between the canal and the road that links Liège to Visé. It is a great example of the evolution of the workers’ habitat since the industrial revolution. The cité has 200 homes and a 128-room hostel for single people.
Specific care was brought to the well-being and to the living environment of the inhabitants, who benefit from a tree-filled milieu, a central park, and public lighting. The houses are inspired by English cottages; each house, has connections for running water, electricity, and sewerage. There are also two outdoor areas: a garden at the front, and a vegetable garden at the back.
The Hasard coalmine was shut down on 31 October 1977, leaving 589 miners (including 435 foreigners) out of work. In the 1950s, over a thousand of miners worked at the Hasard.
Almost 40 years later, the deserted Cheratte coalmine is still significantly marked by the memory of the coal industry that defined it.
Over a period of more than 50 years, the village would undergo great change, welcoming a variety of cultures, languages, and religions. In 1846, there were 2,343 inhabitants; that number rose to 3,775 by 1930, and exceeded 5,000 in the early 1950s. However, in the mid-1970s, the population fell due to the decrease in coal-mining.
The life of the workers at the Hasard coalmine was certainly similar to that of other miners in Belgium at the time. Here, as well as in other places, it constitutes a chapter of our shared social history. This collective story is composed of everyday events, often mundane but sometimes violent and dramatic. Rock falls, derailment of trolleys, sudden flooding, etc.
Archives: Musée de la vie Wallone et de Visé
Migratory Flow: Altay Manço et Christophe Partoens
With the support of Wallonie