Pit head buildings

Presentation of the pit head

Présentation schématique du carreau de mine. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

The pit head is the collection of surface installations required for a mine’s operations. The Wendel headquarters pit head, in action between 1865 and 1986, consists of three headframes (Wendel 1, 2 and 3), two wash houses (wash houses Wendel 1-2 and Wendel 3), three workshops, a shop, an ‘energy’ building and the miners’ building (shower and bathrooms, offices, a lamp room etc.) now containing the Musée Les Mineurs Wendel. All buildings have been preserved and some are listed as historical monuments.

The Wendel 1 and 2 pits were sunk in 1868 and 1871, respectively, gaining headframes on the same date. The Wendel 1-2 wash house was built and then modernised between 1891 and 1961.

In 1946, the Wendel headquarters, which until that point was owned by the company Les Petits-Fils de François de Wendel et Cie, was attached to Houillères du bassin de Lorraine.

It was enlisted in the battle for coal, supplemented with the Wendel 3 pit – sunk in 1952 – and equipped with the state-of-the-art wash house 3 in 1958. The Wendel 1 and 2 pits were also modernised and equipped with new headframes.

The headquarters ceased activities in 1986, but some of the site’s infrastructure continued to be used up until 1989 to serve other pits in the Wendel franchise that were still in operation. The Wendel 1 pit was closed in 1989, Wendel 2 in 1992 and Wendel 3 in 2001.

The Vuillemin 2 pit was sunk in 1889 and gained a headframe on the same date, which can still be seen at the site entrance. It is the oldest metal headframe still on view in the Lorraine coalfield.

Classed as a historical monument, it was once part of the Vuillemin headquarters which ceased activities in 1962.

The outdoor visitor trail

Borne explicative du parcours extérieur de visite du carreau. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

The pit head is accessible to all visitors free of charge. A visitor trail running from the Musée Les Mineurs Wendel entrance to La Mine Wendel explains the history of the pit head, as well as the role and history of the main buildings making up the ‘above ground’ section of a mine.

The visitor trail consists of 10 terminals in three languages (French, German, and English) placed near the buildings and illustrated with old photographs of the 1950s.

In order, the ten terminals present:

  • The Wendel 2 pit
  • The development of operations at the Wendel headquarters
  • The winding gear from the Wendel 1 and 2 pits
  • La Mine Wendel
  • The Petite-Rosselle central heap
  • Energy at the site from the mid 19th century to the 1980s
  • The shop and workshops
  • Extracting coal from the Wendel 3 pit
  • Processing coal in the Wendel 1-2 wash house
  • The architecture of the Wendel 1-2 wash house

Educational activities