The headframes of the former “Polska” (Poland) mining facility, Świętochłowice
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The headframes of the former “Polska” (Poland) mining facility

Świętochłowice

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The headframes forming part of the “Polska” mining facility are one of the oldest surviving structures of their kind in Poland - a testimony to technological advancements in the field of coal mining. Today, these structures, towering above the surrounding landscape, present a considerable aesthetic value, especially since they are all that remains of the now-defunct “Polska” mining facility established by Gwidon Henckel von Donnersmarck, a Silesian industrial tycoon.

History

The process of coal extraction in the area located adjacent to the “Polska” mining facility began back in 1822, when count Karol Łazarz Henckel von Donnersmarck, the erstwhile owner of the city of Świętochłowice, began prospecting for coal deposits. The first coal mine, known as “Faust”, was established in 1827, followed by the “Florian” steelworks (formerly known as “Falva”), which began operations in 1828 and was powered by the coal from the accompanying mining facility. In 1873, count Gwidon Henckel von Donnersmarck decided that the coal mining fields known as “Gefӓll’’, “Bohlen’’, “Faustin’’ and “Hexerkessal’’ would be combined into a single site, which he named “Deutschland” in order to commemorate the unification of Germany. Later on, however, this name was, likewise symbolically, changed to “Polska” (“Poland”). On October 24, 1873, the Higher Mining Authority in Wrocław approved the consolidation of the aforementioned mining sites. The mining facility also extended its operations to the remaining fields owned by Gwidon himself or by the mining enterprise in which he had a majority stake, including the “Ottilie’’, “Heyduk’’, “Kleinigkeit’’, “Kalina’’, “Guttmannsdorf’’, “Hugo II’’ and “Gut Glück’’ mining sites. In the 1880s, the exploitation of new deposits located at the depth of 180 metres and 225 metres began owing to the sinking of shafts no. 1 and no. 2 respectively, with shaft no. 2 also being used for the purposes of extraction of coal from another, shallower deposit located 140 metres below the ground. In the 1880s and the 1890s, numerous investments and extension works took place, with shafts no. 1 and no. 2 being equipped with new winding engines, while the shaft no. 3, located inside the mining facility itself, taking over the extraction of coal from the deposits located at the depth of 140 metres. In addition, a sorting facility, a mine dump and a boiler house were added to the facility, as was a new route connecting the facility and the Upper Silesian narrow-gauge railway. Due to the rising demand for charcoal, in 1889 further investments were made. In 1889 and 1892, parts of the facility were engulfed by fire, with the shaft facilities accompanying shafts no. 1 and no. 2 being lost to the blaze.

In the 1890s, shaft no. 2 became equipped with the first electrical winding engine to be installed in Upper Silesia, with the electricity being supplied by the nearby power station which also formed part of the facility and which was subsequently extended in the years 1907-1910. In 1908, the old, steel headframes standing above the shafts no. 1 and 3 were replaced with new structures designed to accommodate electrical machinery. Following the Silesian plebiscite of 1922, the “Deutschland” mining facility found itself in the Polish part of Upper Silesia, its name being promptly changed to “Polska” (Poland). In the 1950s, the mining facility saw a significant growth, with a new coal layer at the depth of 510 metres now accessible. In addition, new backfilling systems were also installed. In 1972, the mining facility was merged with another facility known as “Prezydent” (President), located in Chorzów. Another major consolidation took place in 1995, when the facility was merged with the

Description

Nowy Wirek plant; it was at that point that it was decided that the “Polska” mining facility would be gradually wound down. In the year 2000, the facility was decommissioned.

The headframes of the “Polska” mining facility are situated in the western part of the historic complex, located in the centre of Świętochłowice at 16 Wojska Polskiego street, in the vicinity of the railway line and the “Florian” steelworks. The headframes towering above shafts no. 1 and no. 2 are the most valuable parts of the now-defunct infrastructure of the “Polska” mining facility, their structural components produced at the Wilhelmshütte manufacturing plant in Wałbrzych.

The headframe of shaft 1 was constructed in 1908 and is based on a steel frame with brick infills; the structure, designed on a square floor plan, features an overhanging two-axial top section designed to accommodate the winding engine, its overhanging section supported by steel diagonal braces. The load-bearing structure consists of four latticework posts linked by horizontal steel beams. The tower is topped with a barrel roof, its total height exceeding 29 metres. The tower still features the original winding engine, manufactured in 1908.

The headframe of shaft no. 2 was constructed in the years 1889-1891. It was likewise designed as a riveted steel structure, based on two pairs of diagonal supports and originally equipped with two winding engines. The load-bearing structure consists of four diagonal supports attached to sturdy foundations as well as two posts forming part of the guiding shaft, their spacing being approximately 3 x 5.4 metres. Originally, the tower came equipped with a barrel roof, its total height exceeding 23 metres.

No visitor access, revitalisation and adaptation works in progress; once the works are completed, the headframes and the surrounding area will serve as an educational and cultural centre.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 21-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Deutschland (Niemcy), ob. kopalnia KWK ,,Polska’’- karta zespołu (The “Deutschland” mining facility, currently known as the “Polska” bituminous coal mining facility), prepared by E. Szady, Katowice 1990, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Zespół KWK ,, Polska’’, wieża wyciągowa szybu I (The “Polska” bituminous coal mining facility - headframe of shaft no. 1), prepared by E. Szady, Katowice 1990, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Zespół KWK ,, Polska’’, wieża wyciągowa szybu II (The “Polska” bituminous coal mining facility - headframe of shaft no. 2), prepared by E. Szady, Katowice 1990, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Frużyński A., Kopalnie Węgla Kamiennego w Polsce, Łódź 2012, pp. 194-195
  • Jaros J., Z dziejów kopalni ,,Polska’’ w Świętochłowicach, [in:] Zaranie Śląskie, issue 1, W. Długoborski (ed.), Katowice 1961, pp. 107-118
  • Wybraniec P., Zabytki Architektury Przemysłowej w województwie Katowickim, Katowice 1989, p. 30

General information

  • Type: mine
  • Chronology: 1889-1891 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wojska Polskiego 16, Świętochłowice
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Świętochłowice, commune Świętochłowice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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