The Maciej shaft complex, Zabrze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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A representative example of ground facilities accompanying an early 20th-century mining shaft serving both as an excavation and bleeder shaft, serving as a perfect illustration of the technological issues related to vertical mining transportation as well as water drainage and ventilation of underground mining facilities. In addition, the complex, enjoying the status of a regional landmark, is also a valuable ensemble of utility buildings, designed to satisfy the objectives and requirements associated with their industrial function; the buildings are also structures of a special artistic value due to the incorporation of historicist themes in their design and décor. Their almost perfectly complete, authentic appearance, layout and nature of the entire complex, coupled with the minimum amount of alterations made to the oldest part of the site, warrants the inclusion of this complex among the most valuable examples of industrial monuments associated with bituminous coal mining in the entire region.

History

The complex of buildings accompanying the Maciej shaft (formerly known as the West shaft) forms an integral part of the Concordia bituminous coal mining facility, which began its operations back in 1841. The mining facility, owned by count Łazarz Henckel von Donnersmarck, initially obtained coal from the deposits located on the Concordia mining site; later on, the range of its operations was extended to include the Amalia mining site, the exploitation of which lasted intermittently from the 18th century onwards and which was acquired by the Donnersmarck family in 1826, as well as the Michael mining site. Coal extraction was initially effected by means of three mining shafts: the Julia shaft (255 m), the Karl shaft (67 m) and the Concordia shaft, which was deepened to 575 metres in the early 20th century. The coal extracted at the mining facility was then forwarded for processing to the Concordia coking plant or used at the local ironworks. In 1873, the mining facility and the aforementioned processing plant were acquired by the company known as Donnersmarckhütte A.G. The rising demand for coal as well as the efforts made by the company to increase its output led to a flurry of investments, including the acquisition of new mining sites and the sinking of additional shafts, allowing deeper deposits to be reached. As a result, by 1916 the following mining sites were being exploited by the Concordia mining facility: Borsig II, Ludwik II, Ludwik III, Emma II, Mont Avon II, Johan August, Królowa Wiktoria (Queen Victoria) and Belfort; these were all accessed through a number of newly sunken shafts: Schmidt (transport shaft, 141 m), Wetter (ventilation shaft, 87 m), Guido (30 m), Grenz (33 m), Michael (60 m), Rodon (60 m) and the deepened Concordia shaft (575 m) and the West (Zachodni) shaft (198 m), which would later become known as the Maciej shaft. After all those investments were completed, the Concordia mining facility was considered to be one of the most modern and deepest mines in all of Upper Silesia. The final shaft to be excavated in the years 1905-1915 - the West (Zachodni) shaft, which would later become known as the Maciej shaft, was situated at the western edge of the Belfort mining site. The sinking of this shaft was necessitated by the need to explore new ways of providing water drainage and ventilation of the latest parts of the underground section of the mining facility as well as the need to connect the Belfort mining site with the primary coal extraction shafts. Once the drilling was complete, a complex of technological, auxiliary and social facilities was erected in the years 1922-1928 in the vicinity of the shaft, before the exploitation of the Belfort mining site began. The complex included the existing hoist house with headframe, machinery hall and weighing house as well as a warehouse, the cart weighing building as well as the deferrisation plant and the accompanying motive power depot. The mining carts would turn around inside the chamber on the uppermost storey of the building, with an additional outside hoist positioned on the western side thereof. The machinery hall was built to contain an electrical winding engine. The power converter room was situated in the northern part of the building, while the northern and southern annexes contained the switching station and transformer, ensuring the optimum power supply for the winding engine and ventilator, the latter being situated in the neighbouring building. As the mining operations gradually moved towards the west, the shaft - in addition to its ventilation and water drainage functions - was also used for transportation and extraction purposes, resulting in the accumulation of a mine dump behind the facility. At the same time, in 1942, a tailings pond was formed near the hoist house; there, the waste would be loaded onto narrow-gauge railway wagons and transported to the spoil tip located in the north-eastern part of the facility. Once the Maciejowice coal deposits were depleted and the coal extraction ground to a halt, the Zachodni shaft, known as the Maciej shaft by then, formed part of the consolidated Rokitnica mining facility (later renamed as the Pstrowski mine) and served exclusively as a ventilation, transportation and water drainage shaft. In the year 1990, the shaft and the accompanying structures, which were scheduled for closure, were purchased by a company known as Demex, which transformed the former mining shaft into a deep water well. The lower section of the bleeder shaft, about 198 metres deep, was partially filled in with earth.

Description

The Maciej shaft complex is situated in the Maciejów district, in the western part of the city of Zabrze. The complex is positioned along two axes in a relatively small area which stretches on the eastern side of Srebrna street. The middle section of the complex is made up of several buildings erected in the 1920s, the largest of them being the hoist house with headframe, which is accompanied by the relatively small weighing house, a machinery hall positioned further out back as well as a number of other buildings which are left beyond the scope of the inscription into the register of monuments, including the deferrisation plant building located north of the hoist house, the ventilation plant as well as the storage facility positioned next to the machinery hall. In addition, the entire complex is supplemented in functional terms by a number of post-war structures - the switching station building in the southern part of the site, the new ventilator building adjoining the northern side of the hoist house as well as the water conditioning station located in the northern part of the site. The largest and most important structure among the entire historic ensemble is the hoist house accompanied by the headframe to the east, the latter being inextricably linked to the former. The hoist house itself is a three-storey building based on a steel frame with brick infills, designed on a roughly rectangular floor plan and covered with a gable roof, with a brick annex on its north-eastern side. Inside, the dispatcher’s workstation is positioned on the uppermost storey, where most of the machinery is also located. The headframe, linked structurally and functionally to the hoist house, is a steel lattice structure bound together using rivets, with a single diagonal support on the eastern side of the multi-storey, lattice tower equipped with a pair of sheave wheels positioned in parallel on a common platform. The former weighing house (currently serving as the porter’s lodge), positioned south of the hoist house, is a single-storey brick structure designed on a rectangular floor plan and covered with a flattened hip roof. The machinery hall, positioned east of the hoist house and headframe, is a two-storey brick structure covered with a gable roof, featuring a small entrance avant-corps on the southern side. Inside, the building is divided into the machine room and the switching station and power converter rooms. The most notable feature of the building’s interior is the authentic and fully functional equipment in the form of the electrical winding engine manufactured in 1924. East of the listed complex of buildings there is a mine dump where tailings transported from the shaft using a narrow-gauge railway are deposited. The spoil tip occupies an area the shape of which approximates that of a quadrangle. The resulting heap has a flattened top and relatively steep northern, eastern and western slopes. The spoil tip is made up mostly of rock material, including coal slate, sandstone and mudstone. At the present stage, the entire spoil tip is overgrown with self-sown vegetation of varying height. The species present on the site include ash, poplar, birch, maple, oak, black locust, hawthorn and whitebeam.

The site can be explored every day except for Mondays; for details, please visit the official website.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 25-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Barecki Z., Szyb Maciej kopalni Concordia. Historia i nowe oblicze, (http://www.szybmaciej.pl/index.php/historia)
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Zwałowisko skały płonnej ob. nieużytek poprzemysłowy [w Zabrzu] (Former gangue disposal site - brownfield land [in Zabrze]), prepared by Z. Barecki and his team, 2010, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office.
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Szyb „Zachodni” kopalni „Concordia”, ob. Szyb „Maciej” Przedsiębiorstwa Górniczego Demex Sp. z o.o. [w Zabrzu] (Western shaft of the Concordia mining facility, currently known as the “Maciej” shaft owned by the Demex Mining Company in [Zabrze]) prepared by Z. Barecki and his team, 2010, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office.
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Budynek nadszybowy z wieżą wyciągową i studnią głębinową „Maciej” [w Zabrzu] (Shaft-top building with headframe and deep well - the “Maciej” complex [in Zabrze]), prepared by Z. Barecki and his team, 2010, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office.
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Budynek maszynowni szybu „Maciej”, ob. obiekt ekspozycyjny i socjalny [w Zabrzu] (The machinery hall of the “Maciej” shaft [in Zabrze], currently serving as an exhibition facility and social space), prepared by Z. Barecki and his team, 2010, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office.
  • Jaros J., Słownik historycznych kopalń węgla na ziemiach polskich, Katowice 1984, pp. 32-33

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1922-1928 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Srebrna 6, Zabrze
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Zabrze, commune Zabrze
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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