Monograph of La Louvière -
city of La Louvière
La Louvière is in 8 km of Binche, 11 km of Soignies, 18 km of Mons, 26 km
from Charleroi and 53 km from Brussels.
La Louvière counted 23 052 inhabitants before the fusion of the
Number of inhabitants listed(counted) on February 21, 1996: 20 526 hbts.
Surface: 868 hectares.
Average height: 133.2 metres.
La Louvière is crossed with the Canal of the Centre and Thiriau.
Publishing(editions) Thill Bruxelles.
The history of La Louvière is confidentially connected to that of
Saint-Vaast; indeed, at the origin of the important city which we know today
existed only modest one hamlet dependent on a nerve center that was
Today, situation was totally reversed: La Louvière is known worldwide for its
earthenware factories or its surrealist culture, as for Saint-Vaast, it
returned to the primitive rural occupations.
Origin étymologique of La Louvière results from the name which carried the
hamlet in the debuts. Each knows that our regions were covered with thick
forests until Moyen-Age, during which one began gigantic works of clearing.
Numerous wolves lived, naturally , in these forests where nobody dared to
come to disturb them. The place where were going to become established the
first houses of La Louvière was called " Ménaulu ", what means
" Den of wolves (Meigne in the leu, in old novel) ". The monks of
the abbey of Alder who possessed lands in this place, Latinized the Romanic
word which became " Luparia ", " Lovaria "; then a
Romanic new translation took place to give " Lovière ", " Le
Lovière ", and finally definitive shape " La Louvière ".
The point of departure of the village in itself was erection by the monks of
the abbey of Alder of an important said farm of Court of La Louvière.
Numerous donations increased the land patrimony of the abbey. Original
exploitation was then divided into five properties: Grande La Louvière
(afterward, a chapel was there assistant. We shall talk again of this one
afterward), The Girl or Low La Louvière, cense of the Mill, Tout-y-Faut (of
which a part is on Houdeng-Goegnies's territory) and Sartiau. All these
exploitations depended on the abbey of Alder until the French Revolution.
As in several surrounding villages, the exploitation of the coal of ground
began hardly early. It began in 1390 but the prosperity of this fuel was
sensitive only in the XVIII-th century. The abbey of Alder possessed numerous
pits, one of them was resumed in 1735 with the ancient bailli of Saint-Vaast,
Gaspard Thiriar associated with his three threads; these based the society of
the Collieries of La Louvière. In 1866, it changed in society of the
Collieries of La Louvière, Peace and Saint-Vaast; then, it merged with the
Inc. of Sars-Longchamps and Bouvy's collieries and took this same name.
The other coalmining societies were in action for the XVIII-th century in La
Louvière; let us quote, for example, Maugrétout's collieries, Longtain's
collieries; they were both closed in 1837. Let us quote also Houssu's
society, based in 1737, which extended over the territory of La Louvière due
to the hamlet of Balm. Coalmining activity stopped definitively in La
Louvière in 1947.
In spite of these numerous exploitations, the hamlet of La Louvière still
counted only some houses established along Redemont's road, some farms... In
brief, it was a question still only of modest one hamlet dependent on
Saint-Vaast. But situation changed very quickly from this moment. Because La
Louvière possessed many communications (put shoes, railroad lines, crossing
of the Canal from Charleroi to Brussels,), of numerous and various industries
came to settle down on the territory louvièrois. Among the most famous,
Boch-frères earthenware factories, Daubresses glass factories, Forges and
Laminoires E. Boucqueau (at the origin of G factories. Boël).
This new industrial contribution attracted numerous employees who became
established in new hamlets surrounding La Louvière (Hocquet, Mitant-de-Camps,
Balm). This lightning increase of population and this massive increase of the
hamlet of La Louvière pulled the separation of this one of Saint-Vaast's
village. Official separation was signed and was decided by the law of February
Who said separation said new organizations.
It(he) became necessary to envisage the creation of new buildings (schools,
church, flats, Municipal House,), to foresee the place and the plans of new
streets and arteries deserving of the economic development ceaselessly
increasing at the time, new squares.
The Grand Master of work of these works was Amand Mairiaux, a mayor of
Saint-Vaast; plans and drafts of the Brussels architects Cluysnaert and
Beyaert and Montois Hubert were chosen and adopted for the realization of
these colossal works.
Second World war caused many damages in the municipality of La Louvière; the
allied Forces bombarded the numerous communications of the region and at the
same opportunity the numerous houses (an estimation of 5000 destroyed
The law of fusion of the municipalities, adopted on January 1-st, 1977,
conferred on La Louvière the responsibility of 10 surrounding municipalities,
it is a question those that I study in this monograph. The total surface of
the new formed entity passed so in 6.507 hectares.
Nowadays, the numerous light industries, which formed the economic and social
landscape of La Louvière, closed their doors; it remains only the Kéramis
earthenware factory and the Boël factories to call back the young people
Louvièrois the rich industrial past of their city. City? Yes, La Louvière is
recognized in conformance with city since August 2, 1985 (law spent in the
Belgian Instructor, on August 21, 1985).
It seems to me important to underline, still, wealth and importance of the
school network louvièrois. Many renewed, technical establishments,
professional, of social advancements are at the disposal of the population of
neighborhood (Saint institute Marries, Saint Joseph institute, Athenée Royal
Mixte, Athenée Provincial, Provincial Institute of Arts and Professions by
Hospitable care are also represented well in the city. Modern and recognized
Tivoli's hospital (built in 1976) contributes to the prosperity of the inhabitants.
As of numerous cities of Belgium, La Louvière is coupled with a foreign city,
it is about the French city of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, in the Valley of the
Marne, near Paris.
The fusion of the municipalities in some words.
Administrative, practically unchanged limits for a century and a half, pulled
severe problems of organization; furthermore, most of the Belgian
municipalities were too small and arranged too excess few financial means to
envisage a more dynamic politics of regional development, a rationalization
of public services and a better distribution of the community facilities.
One decided, so , to merge several municipalities they enter to make them
stronger administratively and financially. It was the case of La Louvière and
the 11 municipalities which surround it.
Several plans were proposed and abandoned, but one arrived all the same at a
consensus on September 17, 1975.
According to the royal order of this date, the municipalities of La Louvière,
Boussoit, Haine-Saint-Paul, Haine-Saint-Pierre, Houdeng-Aimeries,
Houdeng-Goegnies, Maurage, Saint-Vaast, Strépy-Bracquegnies and Trivières are
merged in a new municipality which carries the name of La Louvière. Besides,
a part of the ancient municipality of Familleureux: Besonrieux's hamlet is
added to the 10 already regrouped municipalities.
The new municipality of La Louvière depends so on the administrative district
The city of La
The law of fusions was put into practice from January 1, 1977.
La Louvière, Capital of the Centre.
Importance and brilliance of La Louvière conferred it the title of "
Capital of the Centre ".
But what the Centre?
It is in fact about the region, in the South of Hainaut, grip in sandwich
enters Borinage and region of Charleroi. Officially this region does not
exist, it's as if one indicated a locality; but who does not know this
first-rate region fame of which comes especially of the coalmining industry
and the Canal of the Centre?
The Centre regroups about sixty old municipalities which, since the municipal
fusion of 1977, are associated in 12 important entities, La Louvière is one
of these entities.
The surface of the Centre is about 64000 hectares for some 250.000
By the cultural, economic and social role which it played and which it
continues to play, La Louvière has very fast recognized as central city of
With it 77.116 inhabitants (population raised in the 21-02-1996), entity
louvièroise is the most important third city of Hainaut and the second year
of secondary school of Wallonie.
Some other figures:
Total surface of the entity louvièroise: 6.507 hectares.
Italian immigration counted in the 31-12-1995: 14.429 persons.
Population foreign to the 01-01-1990: 20.103 persons.
Chomeurs suits in the 01-03-1996: 6.523 persons.
Whether it is in the even sports and industrial, school, cultural domain (let
us note that a price for the Sports Merit is put back every year by the
city), La Louvière knew how to become famous with dignity and knew how to
prove its resistance in front of economic and social assaults (bankruptcies,
All the municipalities of the entity louvièroise have a socialist municipal
past; La Louvière, moreover, is steered with a majority P.S. led by the mayor
in office Michel Debauque (although a net ascent of the National Front was
registered in the last municipal elections).From the 2000 eleciton, the
socialist past is on the top and has rejected the National Front
How to explain this socialist colonization in our regions?
It is very simple, numerous regional industries attracted uncountable masses
of employees adhering, naturally , to the " Party of the workers "
what made of the region of the Centre, an ground of preference of the
Armorial of La Louvière.
Coats of arms of La Louvière.
Armorial official of Belgium.
The ecu granted to the municipality of La Louvière by the royal order of
March 5, 1954, is, in fact, the ancient ecu of the abbey of Alder.
It consists of an ecu of azure in the fasce of silver, accompanied chief of
three female blackbirds also, arranged, to which one added, sharp, to
personalize weapons in the emblem of the municipality, a Roman she-wolf of
The most ancient
construction of La Louvière: the chapel of Grande La Louvière.
of Grande La Louvière in La Louvière. Photo Places.
Street of Grande La Louvière.
The chapel constituted one of the oratories of the Court of La Louvière,
property of the abbey of Alder and point of departure of the development of
the hamlet of Louvière (to consult the historic of Louvière on this subject).
Built in 1531 near the farm of Grande La Louvière (today disappeared), the
chapel is considered as being the most ancient construction of the village.
Strongly damaged, the Chapel of Grande La Louvière was restored by the
Committee of Monuments and Sites, here is some years.
All the charm of the building lies in its picturesque and rural aspect.
At present, the chapel constitutes one of three antennae of the regional
Museum of man and the environment of the Centre; this permanent exhibition is
dedicated to the evocation of the parishes of the Ancient R®gime within the
framework of their business.
Selection of three religious buildings in
The church Saint Joseph, the church Saint Antoine and the Protestant temple.
The church Saint Joseph.
Church St-Joseph in La
Louvière. Photo Places.
Place Maugrétout. In front of the church raises draws up itself the
Boulevard Mairiaux and far off, the Municipal Place.
The first church of La Louvière was situated in the heart of the current
Place Jules Mansart and was called Church of Balm. This first religious
building was demolished in 1873.
The plans of Amand Mairiaux's urban reorganization foresaw the construction
of the new church on the Place Maugrétout; in spite of the discord of the
storekeepers who saw so spining urban pole in the other end of La Louvière
and consequently, contrary to their establishments.
Plans were confided to the architect montois Hubert. Style chosen as the
building was the Novel.
The laying of first stone took place on October 6, 1867 by the mayor in
The new church dedicated to Saint Joseph was delivered to the cult on
November 20, 1870.
In 1969, a shock shook the municipality of La Louvière, provoking some
damages and notably a movement of the bell tower; situation becoming too
dangerous for the surrounding population and for the passers - by, one
demolishes the bell tower of the church Saint Joseph. This anecdote explains
shape more than surprising of the tower of the church (a bare high and light
tower in the summit).
The church Saint Antoine de Padoue to Bouvy.
Place René Petre. The choir of the church gives on the street of the
This church was the commemorative work from the seventh centenary of birth to
1195 of Saint Antoine de Padoue.
Construction began in 1896, this one was realized in Gothic style according
to plans established by the architect Constant Sonneville of Turned.
This building possesses two bell towers symmetric as those of Padoue's
Inside, an ambulatory allows to by-pass the choir and to reach Saint Antoine's
chapel fitted out outside of the apse certain stained glasses of which
deserve to hold attention by their composition and the game of their colours.
The pulpit of the truth telling facts of the life of the patron saint is
remarkable; it's the same of the bench of religious community, work of the
Saint Luc school of Turned.
The fountain of the baptismal fonts which is very ancient is of style revival
and results from the church Martinmas to Ath.
Besides a picture of the painter Mr Deligne ( 1860 ) representing descent
from the cross, Bouvy's church contains a beautiful reproduction of the holy
image of Our Lady of the Good council.
The building was usual on August 4, 1903.
A fire damaged it strongly on August 11, 1914.
In 1940, the Germans seized two bells, which were replaced after the war.
Bouvy's church is a place of pilgrimage; on every Tuesday a mass is said in
honour of Saint Antoine and its holiday is celebrated on June 13.
The first Protestant temple of La Louvière.
At the beginning of the street of the Temple.
Seen important number of followers of the cult luthérien for La Louvière,
municipal administration decided to create, in 1863 , a protesting temple
(inauguration took place on December 25, 1863).
The architecture of the building is very simple.
Curiously, this building being of use to the Protestant evangelic cult was
the first religious building of La Louvière-Saint-Vaast.
Another temple was raised, afterward , in the Street Anatole France.
Two industries at the origin of the development of
Boch-Kéramis earthenware factories.
Street Sylvain Guyaux, 70.
In 1841, Jean-François Boch, a rich faïencier already possessing important
companies in the grand duchy of Luxemburg and in the region of the Saar
(Germany), decides to widen its markets by basing a factory of fine
earthenware factory in Belgium.
After numerous prospectings on the Belgian territory, it is Saint-Vaast's
domain which is retained for the construction of the new factory. One can
wonder why to have chosen this village hennuyer; reason is there simple:
Saint-Vaast was then in the crossroads of important communications (crossing
of the canal of Charleroi, outcome of several mining railroads); furthermore,
the basement is rich in coal. These combined elements are going to bring
creation and inauguration on August 1-st, 1844 of the Kéramis earthenware
factory (name given in honour of the ceramists athéniens; Kéramis means, in
Greek, vase of ground or pottery). It is there the beginning of La Louvière
as independent municipality (for reminder: industry and environment are going
so to develop in the hamlet louvièrois that it is going to get loose from
Eugène ( 1809-1898 ) and Victor Boch ( 1817-1920 ) succeeded one another in
the head of the company (this one is, moreover , so known under the name of
Victor Boch builds the castle of Closière in the park adjacent to the
factory; it will be question of it later in this monograph.
The first artisans of the earthenware factory are Luxembourgian, Sarrois and
inhabitants of Lorraine come from the companies of the Boch "
multinational " to throw the new Belgian branch; afterward, they are
Belgians formed on the heap and the ancient artists of the famous factories
faïencières of Delft and Maastricht which are going to be employed on
To accommodate these new inhabitants, the family Boch builds " the
district " so called " the district of the Germans " (so named
by the other inhabitants because their new neighbours spoke only about their
maternal Germanic language).
Numerous activities are going to develop due to the new inhabitants; let us
indicate, in passing, the creation of societies of gilles: Boute-en-Train, a
choir: Kéramis's choir, a brass band, a casino and naturally schools and
construction of a chapel for the believers.
Industry makes essentially of the crockery and the ornamental objects
everything it fine china; among numerous works taken out of the workshops of
La Louvière, it is necessary to indicate the magnificent imitations of Delft,
Rouen and especially the production " Art Déco " due to the famous
artist - ceramist Charles Catteau.
At the same time as this sector, a division dedicated to the production of
porcelain sanitary facilities glazed is opened in 1945 and is distributed
under the name of " Vitribo ".
The years of post-war years constitutes, for the Boch earthenware factory, a
period of considerable expansion; numerous housekeepings are reconstituted a
necessities of crockery and sanitary material.
The 70s are going to bring at Boch, as in most of the companies, crisis and
its consequences: production "crockery" is going to be abandoned
for the benefit of the "sanitary" sector.
In 1985, the company is in liquidation; however, jobs and production are
saved by the creation of the group Novoboch for the sanitary department and
the MRL BOCH company for the service crockery. Two new companies are,
partially , financed with the Walloon Region.
Today, two ceramic companies remain in the centre of La Louvière: Novoboch
who, associated to the Sphinx multinational, the factory of the sanitary
material of up-market and Royal Boch who produces of the crockery and
Within the framework of the factory, a Centre of the Earthenware, created in
1993, opened. This centre gets organized around the Museum, around the
Kéramis studio, around the Counter of the Earthenware and the Coffee of
Faïenciers. He proposes to the guests of numerous possibilities of visit and
The Museum presents permanent exhibitions old details evoking the artistic
talent of the factory and of it workers; the Kéramis studio offers to the
public to get acquainted with the various stages of the elaboration of the
earthenware and even to venture in the realization of one or the other work;
the Counter of the Earthenware, as for him, proposes of the crockery of
second choice to reduced prices as well as some recollections in earthenware.
Finally, the Coffee of Faïenciers offers to the tourists a small restoration
in a frame evoking the former(old) factories.
Gustave Boël factories.
The entry of factories is street of the Rivals, in esteemed with the Hall of
From second half of XVIII-th century, metallurgy industry is present in the
region of the Centre.
Due to industrial revolution, metal industry is going to occupy the second
important place behind the coal.
In 1854, the brother Cambier installs in their Saint-Vaast's factory (in the
place of the Hall of Exhibitions, maintaining La Louvière) the first blast
furnace of the Centre.
In 1880, Gustave Boël acquires Foundries and Laminoires E. Boucquéau, it is
the beginning of the first-rate Boël factories of La Louvière.
In 1887, the company is transformed into steelworks; in the course of the
years, the Steelworks of La Louvière acquire celebrity and become one of the
most powerful industries of the country.
In 1928, Steelworks change name to become the Inc. of Gustave Boël factories.
The success of this company is due notably to its interesting geographic
situation; indeed, the U.G.B. is in the crossroads of the waterways of the
Canal, the lines of the station of forming and the accesses of highways E19
All the family Boël put a lot into the development of the factory; besides,
they are also known in the political world to have lined up in the ranks of
the P.R.L.; numerous members of the clan Boël were municipal councillors, a
mayor, a senator and the same president of the Senate.
Since 1993, the group Boël is associated to an invest: Boëlinvest.
Recently, Boël, having been bound with the Dutch group Hoeghovens, was
resumed by the Italian group Duferco what provoked many bustles among the
employees and the syndicates which are afraid for their use.
The house of the family Boch: Closière.
The castle is situated a little more low than the station of La
Street of Closière, 6.
During the creation of the Boch earthenware factory, Victor Boch, his director
settled down with his family in the premises of an ancient brickyard near
houses workers of the "district".
Seen the lightning prosperity of the company, Victor Boch decided to change
place of house and confided to the architect Joseph Poelart (this one
remained famous to have realized the plans of the Law court of Brussels), the
care of building her one castle around its factories. The castle took "
La Closière's " name and was finished in 1862. According to the papers
of moment, it was about an impressive house settled in a case of greenery
with a plan of parks in the English.
It is almost impossible to define the architectural style of the castle;
indeed, several genres are represented to it (tudor, neogothic, neo-classic,
During excavations executed for the construction of the castle, one updated
Roman vestiges (fragments of grindstones of mills, fragments of pottery).
Internal and outside alterations considerably damaged the remarkable
La Closière was occupied during several years by the Chamber of commerce and
industry of the Centre; at present, it is the regional Centre of the FOREM)
which settled down there.
The castle Gilson.
Bouvy's street. The park of the castle gives in the street of Beautiful Sight.
Just a step from the crossroads of the Flag - white.
The ancient mayor of La Louvière, Augustine Gilson, acquired the castle in
1912 in the family Engrave; it is from this moment that the buildin) took the
name of his owner.
It is about a beautiful simple and regular, classic construction of style,
without superfluous decorations.
A park was fitted out behind the construction. This oasis of greenery in full
city center suggest rest and relaxation.
During the construction of the new city hall, the castle Gilson served of
municipal house then, one acted as it of municipal Museum; at present, a part
of the castle is occupied by the Centre of "Indigo" Young people,
the other part is allocated to the Media library of the French Community.
A strange sculpture - fountain of the artist Pol Bury thrones in front of the
The Ianchelevici museum.
The museum is installed in the premises of the ancient Law court.
Municipal place (next to the municipal Theater).
The Rumanian sculptor Idel Ianchelevici and the city of La Louvière are very
connected; indeed, besides the revealing of one of the works " Appeal
", to the exit of the highway, a seriously maintained museum is
dedicated to him.
In 1939, when La Louvière acquired " Appeal ", Ianchelevici was
already a renowned artist in Wallonie.
From 1945, the Rumanian sculptor participated actively in the artistic life
louvièroise by exposing numerous works in the town. It was not, so , the
surprise to learn that Ianchelevici had chosen La Louvière to open a museum
proposing his realizations.
The museum was installed in the buildings of the ancient Law court, saving it
so from a sure destruction; during the works of restoration, the restoration
of the facade allowed to update a magnificent building of classic style
dating the end of XIX-th century.
The museum, in itself, proposes drawings and sculptures offered by the artist
to the foundation which carries its name.
Besides two hundred bronze realized sculptures, stone or marble, exposed, one
can see mouldings in plaster of the busts of the personalities louvièroises
and more than two thousand drawings.
The first floor, consisted of five rooms, is dedicated to a permanent
exhibition of Ianchelevici's works.
The floor is, as for him, reserved for temporary exhibitions.
Conducted tours are proposed to the guests.
The Centre of the Carving and the Printed Image.
Le Centre de la Gravure et de
l'Image Imprimée de la Communauté française de
Situation : Rue des Amours, 10.
Tel : 064/27 87 27
Site web :
Courriel : email@example.com
Le Centre de la Gravure et de l'Image
Imprimée est née d'une association de la Ville de
La Louvière et de la Communauté Française en septembre 1988.
Il s'agit d'une A.S.B.L. dont l'objet est la gestion
d'une collection exceptionnelle de
5.000 estampes d'artistes
contemporains belges et internationaux, 5.000 affiches et 500 livres
d'artistes et portfolios. Cette collection
réunit les achats du Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique, de
l'Administration communale de La Louvière et ceux du Centre de la Gravure ainsi
que d'importants dons ou legs d'artistes ou mécènes. Le musée est également un
lieu de rencontre, de recherche et d'étude
dans le domaine de la gravure et de l'image imprimée. De nombreuses expositions
sont fréquemment réalisées.
Il est également possible de feuilleter l'un des 6.000 catalogues de
documentation ou l'un des 450 ouvrages mis à disposition.