Nouvelle Orléans, Ghent, Belgium, November 2019

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HughieD

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1. The History
The Ghent cotton industry can be traced back to 1801 when Lieven Bauwens when he smuggled a spinning jenny from England to Ghent via France. It led to an unprecedented growth in the Ghent factories who produced most of the Belgium cotton during the 19th century. the Manchester of the mainland", Ghent owes its international fame to the textile industry. As part of this industry, the Brasseur family had a modest but successful textile company. Father Octave Brasseur, however, liquidated the old family business and joined the Board of Directors of the cotton spinning, twisting and dyeing company S.A. Cotonnière Nouvelle Orléans, which he became one of its first directors on its foundation on 12th June, 1896. The first buildings, the ground-floor spinning mill and office buildings, were erected in Flemish Neo-Renaissance style and were quickly expanded with the gigantic five-storey Manchester building, complete with stair-tower and closing water reservoir in 1899 (most likely designed by S.Detaeye & Co). In the same year Octave’s son, Robert Brasseur, succeeded him. In 1903 he became managing director, and then in 1928, Chairman of the Board of Directors. The company grew and at its peak apparently had work for 9,000 employees.

In 1957 he led the transition to the production of synthetic fibres and Cotonniere Nouvelle Orléans merged with De Waele and Rothlisberger to form Filature Nouvelle Orleans. Continuous modernisation ensured that the company continued to grow and had around 700 employees in 1969. It managed to remain profitable as an independent company until 1972 when it was purchased by UCO. In the 1980s, the FNO name gradually disappeared and the site effectively became part of UCO-Maïsstraat. When it turned out that the factory was not able to cope with the foreign competition, the factory closed in 1988 and the site was sold in 1990 to the Brussels project developer, Immoperel. The building was used by a company called Barco until they then moved out in 1996. Various parts of the factory including the boiler room, the engine room, the horse stable and one of the cotton sheds were demolished illegally. The demolition of the Manchester building was stopped just in time on 3rd January, 1995. Later that year the Manchester building, chimney, cotton house and office buildings were granted protected status. The city eventually became the owner in 2006 and the factory has been derelict ever since for years.

2. The Explore
Having arrived in Ghent after working my may up from Charelroi the day before I started looking at the few places I had pinned in the city. This placed turned up on a search I did earlier and looked like it merited a shufty. It was very easy to get in and a nice way to spend an hour while the autumnal sun went down. Sadly, we weren’t able to access the imposing Manchester building. The main entrance had been sealed with a metal door. We walked all the way round the building to no avail. We even looked under the building in the basement but were finally beaten. But all was not lost. There was plenty of other of the factory to look at and some decent street art too.

3. The Pictures

49086787793_fa85940e33_b.jpgimg4293 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087507382_3a5cae3241_b.jpgimg4294 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49102444582_58f92b2c5d_b.jpgGhent Factory 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087326731_deb6b3a42f_b.jpgimg4256 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Strange looking bird!

49087542637_0e373756b1_b.jpgimg4255 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49086812848_3413b24df6_b.jpgimg4265 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The listed office buildings. NO stands for “Nouvelle Orléans”:

49087325596_6e0a9dc119_b.jpgimg4257 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More graff:

49087323631_7ac2332a60_b.jpgimg4259 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087536257_ae363328c5_b.jpgimg4261 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087534952_76902ac934_b.jpgimg4262 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Most of the factory is in a poor state of repair:

49087319516_6c76d978de_b.jpgimg4264 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49086802323_7faa5b8328_b.jpgimg4275 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087521447_317f6033b3_b.jpgimg4276 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49086800898_c06f33978d_b.jpgimg4277 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087518432_52b9655651_b.jpgimg4279 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But the saving grace is some more decent graff:

49086796533_0c8275dbde_b.jpgimg4280 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49102442247_718f6c7f23_b.jpgGhent Factory 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49102248416_d43bb991ff_b.jpgGhent Factory 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On to the Manchester Building:



49087527882_8156784473_b.jpgimg4269 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087314686_29b0939c9e_b.jpgimg4268 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49087310231_24e729bd11_b.jpgimg4271 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Old van round the side:

49087311731_0e1462854b_b.jpgimg4270 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Underneath there was no way in:

49087516002_4b53f4e838_b.jpgimg4281 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49102247956_930b8daf0d_b.jpgGhent Factory 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49101735468_1e4921715c_b.jpgGhent Factory 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And not forgetting the listed chimney:

49087296321_fb081e5b44_b.jpgimg4289 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49086789598_84e7e96f2d_b.jpgimg4290 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49086784123_769fca01cc_b.jpgimg4298 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a bonus gasometer around the corner:

49087289051_c49dd4e9bc_b.jpgimg4300 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49086782873_1d767571bc_b.jpgimg4301 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

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