Former “Queen Louise” mining facility complex, Zabrze
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Former “Queen Louise” mining facility complex

Zabrze

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The complex, situated in the eastern part of the “Queen Louise” mining facility site, remains an exceptionally valuable regional landmark, being one of the oldest bituminous coal mines in all of Upper Silesia. With very few alterations to the complex itself, the former mining facility also presents an immense research value due to the presence of the partially preserved machinery and other pieces of equipment.

History

Zabrze is one of the most industrialised cities in all of Upper Silesia. According to the available source materials, ore mining existed here as early as in the 13th century, while three centuries later, in 1548, the city was granted a special mining charter. The establishment of the “Queen Louise” mining facility was the direct consequence of the discovery of coking coal deposits in 1791. Initially, the mining facility was known as the “Royal Mine”, with most of the coal being mined from shallow deposits. The greatest difficulty faced by the engineers at the time was the need to draw water away from the excavation site using a system of adits. The very first piece of steam-powered machinery was installed in 1795, in the “Piotr” shaft, with the greatest investment made during that period being the construction of the Main Key Adit connecting Zabrze and Królewska Huta. In 1811, the complex gained access to new coal deposits and changed its name to “Queen Louise” - a name which remained in constant use for more than 100 years. Due to the shallow deposits becoming depleted in the first half of the 19th century, the output of the mining facility fell dramatically; in order to reverse this trend, new, deeper shafts were constructed in the 1840s and 1850s. These included the “Dechen” (1842), “Maria” (1846), “Skalley” (1853) as well as “Krug” and “Prinz Schönaich” shafts, accompanied by a pair of drainage shafts known as “Oeynhausen” and “Carnall”. In the 1870s, the “Krug”, “Prinz Schönaich” and “Carnall” shafts, forming part of the “West” field, were equipped with headframes with a single inclined support, machine halls and shaft buildings. The next stage in the extension of the complex took place in 1884, when a sorting facility was constructed, with the early 20th century bringing about the construction of new facilities in the form of the compressor building, the boiler house and the electrical switching station. Following the liberation of the city of Zabrze in 1945, the mining facility was subdivided into the western field, known as “Zabrze-West”, and the eastern field known as “Zabrze-East”; however, due to the depletion of the coal deposits in the western part of the complex, the two facilities were merged into one once again in 1957, when the gradual process of decommissioning of the western part of the facility began. In the 1960s, numerous enhancements were introduced at the mining facility, entailing the modernisation of the facility itself and the improvement of its operating efficiency, with the new devices introduced during that period including hydraulically operated self-advancing supports and a longwall coal-cutting machine. Yet despite the modernisation and the partial automation of the mining operations, the output of the mining facility was falling dramatically. As a result, in 1976 the mining authorities announced the merger of the “Zabrze” and “Bielszowice” facilities in 1976. In the end, in 1998, the mining operations were discontinued, with most of the buildings forming part of the “East” field being demolished, while the former “West” field now served as an open-air mining museum known as “Queen Louise” - a living monument to the city’s industrial history.

Description

The former “Queen Louise” coal mining facility complex is situated in the south-eastern part of Zabrze, in the Zaborze district, at 402 Wolności street. The complex is situated on the site of the now-defunct “East” field, positioned in the immediate vicinity of the Zabrze Heat and Power Plant industrial estate which stretches towards the north and the east. The preserved surface structures form a complex of dispersed buildings surrounding a central machine hall and “Carnall” shaft building. The buildings are made predominantly of brick, with some of the buildings featuring a timber-framed structure with ceramic brick infills. The complex, formed during the second half of the 19th century, consists of the following structures:

1. The former “Carnall” shaft building - a two-storey building designed on a rectangular floor plan, its compact main body covered with a flattened gable roof with a row of upper windows right beneath the eaves. A steel headframe with a single diagonal support forms an important part of the complex; located in the south-eastern part of the site, the riveted headframe is more than 24 metres tall and features a pair of sheave wheels positioned in parallel.

2. The former “Carnall” machine hall building - a two-storey building designed on a rectangular floor plan, its compact main body covered with a flattened gable roof. The façades are enlivened through the use of simple lesenes; notable features of this building include the surviving machinery in the form of a steam-driven winding engine from 1915.

3. The “Prinz Schonaich” machine hall building - a single-storey building designed on a rectangular floor plan, its compact main body covered with a gable roof. Inside, the building features a two-rail gantry crane from 1915.

4. The compressor and 6kV switching station building - a two-storey building designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan, consisting of four segments covered with gable roofs. All that remains of the original equipment is one control panel and a voltage switching station.

5. The former building of the so-called chain bathhouse and marker office - a single-storey building designed elongated rectangular floor plan, its compact main body covered with a gable roof. The name “chain bathhouse” is a reference to the chains from which the hanging hooks for miners’ personal belongings were suspended, while the marker office handed out special markers or tags which all miners carried with them as they travelled down the shaft and which could also be of assistance when identifying a miner’s body in the event of an accident. The façade is punctuated with segment-headed windows, with the architectural articulation of the façade further accentuated through the use of lesenes.

6. The air condenser building - a two-storey building designed on a roughly L-shaped plan, its compact body covered with a barrel roof and featuring a pronounced stone socle.

7. The pithead building - a one-and-a-half building designed on a square floor plan, its compact structure covered with a flattened gable roof.

8. The pithead building - a one-and-a-half building designed on a rectangular floor plan, its compact structure covered with a gable roof with a central avant-corps projecting from the north-eastern façade, surmounted by a simple steeple.

Accessible site; today, the former mining facility serves as the “Queen Louise” Open-Air Mining Museum, forming part of the Industrial Monuments Trial of the Silesian province. Information on opening hours and admission prices are available online at http://kopalniaguido.pl/, with the “Carnall” shaft buildings serving as primary exhibition space.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 17-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Zespół zabudowy d. kopalni Królowa Luiza-zachód, ob. KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice rejon zachód (Former Queen Louise-west mining facility complex, currently serving as the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine (western region), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek nadszybia szybu Carnall, ob. Zabrze II KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice wraz z wieżą wyciągową (Carnall shaft building with headframe, currently forming part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine no. 2, prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek maszynowni szybu Carnall, ob. Zabrze II KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice wraz z wieżą wyciągową (Carnall shaft machine hall building, currently forming part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine no. 2, prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek d. maszynowni szybu Prinz Schonaich, ob. Zabrze I KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice (former machine hall building of the Prinz Schonaich shaft, currently forming part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine no. 1), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek d. kompresorów i rozdzielni, ob. magazyn i rozdzielnia 6 KV Zabrze-Bielszowice (former compressor and switching station building, currently serving as a warehouse ant 6 KV switching station - part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek d. łaźni łańcuszkowej i markowni, ob. nieużytkowany KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice (former building of the so-called chain bathhouse and marker office, currently abandoned, part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek skraplarni powietrza, ob. warsztat elektryczny KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice (air condenser building, currently serving as an electrical workshop - part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Budynek d. magazynu, ob. warsztat KWK Zabrze-Bielszowice (former warehouse building, currently serving as a workshop - part of the Zabrze-Bielszowice Bituminous Coal Mine), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Karta Ewidencyjna Zabytków Architektury i Budownictwa, Budynek d. cechowni, ob. sklep meblowy (former pithead building, currently serving as a furniture store), prepared by P. Wybraniec, A. Szewczyk, 1993, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Frużyński A., Kopalnie Węgla Kamiennego w Polsce, Łódź 2012, pp. 158-160
  • Jaros J., Z dziejów kopalni ,,Zabrze’’, [in:] Kroniki miasta Zabrza no. 7, W. Ławicki (ed.), Zabrze 1974, pp. 165-175
  • Czas czynem i sukcesem znaczony: w 40 rocznicę czynu kongresowego: Kopalnia Zabrze-Bielszowice, Zabrze 1988
  • Kopalnia Węgla Kamiennego ,,Zabrze’’ w Zabrzu, Zabrze 1973
  • Kopalnia ,,Zabrze’’, przewodnik turystyczny, Zabrze 1971

General information

  • Type: mine
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wolności 402, Zabrze
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Zabrze, commune Zabrze
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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