Countdown to Oignies - 2022


 Images: description and information

  - Week 52 - 

At this very moment, we should all be on our way to share a glass together in Oignies, but Covid has decided something else for us.

We all hope this event is now merely postponed until May 2022, and to help us to anticipate next year's visit, in collaboration with Images - our local Photographic Club, we propose to share a new picture of Oignies every week with all our Friends in Buxton.

So let's begin the countdown with week 52.

Alain Cieslak - 29th May 2021

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  - Week 51 - 

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The Villa les Floralies was used as the English headquarters during the battle of Oignies in may 1940.

On the 28th of May, as the German troops took the town, an English soldier tied to a chair was burned alive in the villa, which has since been known as "La Maison de l'Anglais Brûlé / The house of the burned Englishman".

The soldier could not be identified and remains "known only to God", where he rests, among his brothers in arms, in the town graveyard.


  - Week 50 - 

Oignies is well known for the quality of its sporting facilities. The Stade Municipal offers an opportunity to participate in multiple sport disciplines; not only athletics, with the renowned L'Etoile de Oignies our local club, but also basketball, volleyball, football, tennis and judo, amongst other sports.

Guy Drut - gold medallist in the 110m hurdles at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 - was born in Oignies and trained wearing the colours of L'Etoile. Also born in Oignies was Michel Jazy - 1500m silver medallist at the Tokyo Olympics in 1960. His career, which included 9 world records including the mile, 2000m, 2 miles, 3000m, and the 4x1500m relay, began too at L'Etoile de Oignies.

Who will be next?


  - Week 49 - 


Henriette Crombez - de Clercq (1812 - 1878) is well known in Oignies as a town benefactor. In 1842, having bought the Château de Oignies with her husband, she began excavations in order to create ponds in the park. In addition to water, coal was also discovered.

It was the beginning of an industrial era that saw the small village develop into a substantial town.

Henriette played a significant role in the development of the town, overseeing the construction of schools, public facilities, churches, and the installation of gas lighting, amongst other civic projects. Reminders of her life and work are to be found throughout Oignies.


  - Week 48 - 

Construction work on Shafts 9 and 9bis (9 & 9a) at the colliery in Oignies commenced in 1927, and in 1933 the first coal was extracted using these shafts.

On December 20th, 1990, it was also here that the very last wagon of coal mined in the Nord - Pas de Calais was brought to the surface, bringing an end to this major chapter of industrial history.

Today the 9 - 9bis site is listed as a World Heritage Site.

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  - Week 47 - 

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You could almost be in a scene from Star Wars, at the boarding gate for a far off planet...

But the Métaphone offers an entirely different journey, into a concert hall that can accommodate an audience 650, with a sound system ready for musical concerts - rock, rap, pop...


...It can also be a musical instrument itself, when the wind vibrates the panels of its outer shell, which tinkle and chime, providing a reminder of the machinery noise from the nearby pithead - La Fosse No. 9.


  - Week 46 - 

Serving as both changing room and showers for the 9 and 9bis pitheads, the Hanging-Up Room takes its name from the way it was organised. Every miner had a token with his number on it, which corresponded to a chain at the end of which he hung his clothes. As each shift finished, it was thus easy to check at a glance if everybody had returned safely to the surface.

Now renovated, along with the rest of the mine buildings, the hanging-up room serves as a venue for many musical events.

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  - Week 45 - 

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14th July - Bastille Day, la Fête Nationale

On the 14th July 1789, the citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille - the city's fortified prison. This date has since been recognised as marking the beginning of the French Revolution.

This historic day is celebrated every year with firework displays, held in towns and cities all over the country.


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  - Week 44 - 

Le jardin de l’église St Barthelemy

The recently laid out gardens of St Barthelemy's Church, situated right in the centre of the town, offer the passer-by a tranquil place to relax.


Legend has it that Henriette de Clecq had a tunnel built from her nearby house to the church, for use on rainy days. If the town gardeners ever discovered it, they have kept the secret to themselves...