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Factory chimneys

They are the most visual elements and symbols of industrialisation, landmarks of past industries

Factory chimneys have long been seen as symbols of prosperity and progress. A rich industrial city was characterized by a forest of factory chimneys. Their use is closely related to the introduction of the steam engine in the 19th century, to evacuate combustion gases and smoke.

Due to changed production processes in the 1960s and 1970s, when many factories were closing down, their corresponding chimneys were demolished. Factory chimneys are still disappearing every day.
One thinks that today less than 5% of these chimneys are remaining.
If nothing happens, an important industrial monument that is so closely related to and a symbol of our industrial development will disappear completely from the horizon. Thus we would lose an essential part of our industrial heritage.






Old factory chimneys are landmarks advertising the industrial heritage site below. They are symbols for the labour which took place at their feet. They are part of the identity of a town, a village, a former industrial area.
They can be seen from a large distance, thus promoting local industrial heritage sites at night as well as during the day by the judicious use of lighting - and also when cleverly used promoting the locality itself

On Wikipedia you can find a list of the tallest chimneys in the world

Conservation, restoration
Some are restored by specialized firms and artisans without fear of heights - and become the pride of the neighbourhood

Chimney restoration Chimney restoration Chimney restoration

Symbols of labour

Since 2006 our French colleagues in the 'Nord Pas-de-Calais' are celebrating each year in May the remaining chimneys as symbols of labour and workers 'Les Beffrois du Travail' (the Belfries of Labour)
This video gives you some ideas on how to celebrate your favorite chimney


.Ideas and proposals

  • Europa Nostra and Placido Domingo launched for the 9th of May, the Europe Day, the #Ode2Joy Challenge : the aim is to perform in a creative way on that day Ludwig van Beethoven's Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy) in front of or in a heritage building or site you care for, to record the event and to share it as much on social media.
    Why not do this in front of a chimney ?
  • Have a barbecue or a party with the neighbours near your chimney - have fun and tell stories about how it was in those times when smoke came out of the chimney
  • organize a guided tour along the sites - explaining what the factories to which the chimneys belonged did produce.
  • Ask former employees to tell their stories in front of the chimney. Record it and share it.
  • Ask children to draw chimneys and have a drawing contest; exhibit the drawings near the chimney
  • Organise an exhibition with old photographs, postcards, pictures, ... on the chimneys that have disappeared in your region
  • If you have somebody who can climb the chimney from the inside or the outside, use this as an event and put a flag or a crown on top of the chimney - or balloons or an inflatable pig as Pink Floyd did in December 1976 over Battersea Power Station in London - and which was re-created in 2011
    Battersea Power Station
  • just be creative !







    • May 9th : A Serenade for a Chimney


    country town event
        more coming soon
        but waiting for your events
    BELGIUM different places A Serenade for a Chimney
    FRANCE Roubaix Le banquet des cheminées

    For this theme month YOU still can register YOUR events