Loos-en-Gohelle

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For other uses, see Loos (disambiguation).
Loos-en-Gohelle
Écopole du 11-19.jpg
Loos-en-Gohelle is located in France
Loos-en-Gohelle
Loos-en-Gohelle
Coordinates: 50°27′30″N 2°47′39″E / 50.4583°N 2.7942°E / 50.4583; 2.7942Coordinates: 50°27′30″N 2°47′39″E / 50.4583°N 2.7942°E / 50.4583; 2.7942
Country France
Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Department Pas-de-Calais
Arrondissement Lens
Canton Lens-Nord-Ouest
Intercommunality Communaupole de Lens-Liévin
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-François Caron (Green)
Area
 • Land1 12.7 km2 (4.9 sq mi)
Population (2005)
 • Population2 6,904
 • Population2 density 540/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 62528 / 62750
Elevation 31–74 m (102–243 ft)
(avg. 44 m or 144 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Loos-en-Gohelle is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.[1]

Geography[edit]

A former coal mining town, three miles northwest of the centre of Lens, at the junction of the D943 and the A21 autoroute. Its nearest neighbours are Lens to the south, Grenay to the west, Hulluch to the northeast and Bénifontaine to the east. The two largest (184m & 182m) spoil heaps in Europe are found here.

Slag heaps of pits 11 and 19 at Loos-en-Gohelle

History[edit]

The place was first documented in 1071, as "Lohes". The name has changed considerably over the years: Lothae, Lo, Lohes, Loes, Loez and Loos. It was not until 1791 that the name of "Loos" was officially sanctioned. According to some, the name comes from the Germanic "Lôh" and Dutch "Loo" which mean "wood", but there is no archaeological evidence of what could have been a forest. According to others, the name derives from the Germanic "Laupo" which means marshy meadows, which, given the topography of the town, tends to support this theory. In 1937, after much confusion with Loos-lez-Lille (today Loos), it was decided to add the region’s name (Gohelle) to that of the commune.

The oldest documents that specify the existence of Loos date from the eleventh century, at the time of construction of the abbey of Anchin. But with the foundation of a church dedicated to Saint Vaast, it suggests that the village existed long before (St. Vaast lived in the 6th century).
By the Middle Ages, Loos-en-Gohelle was a large village whose inhabitants lived mainly by farming: in 1569, 350 inhabitants, in 1759, 600 people ; In 1824, 700 inhabitants and in 1850 around 800 people.

It was around 1850 that the town started to become prosperous; farmers could fertilize previously uncultivated land, thanks to technology provided by Guislain Decrombecque and the discovery of coal resulted in a very rapid increase of population. Many monuments and cemeteries reflect the destruction during World War I which completely destroyed the town, particularly during the Battle of Loos, from 25 September - 8 October 1915. At the end of the war, not a single building or tree had survived the pounding of artillery. Reminders of the war persist with the periodic discovery of unexploded ordnance.

The mining infrastructure, industry and transport were hit again during World War II.
In recent years, Loos has experienced another kind of destruction: that of the mining towns (about 1000 homes have been demolished in the recent past) as the population has left seeking work elsewhere. These tragedies could have removed Loos from the map of France, but each time, man has decided otherwise. Loos has been reborn 5 times, and is still undergoing transformation. Unfortunately nothing remains of the past.

Coal was mined here from 1855 until 1986. The very rural village changed into a town, with many foreign workers, especially from Poland, swelling the workforce. A former mining site (Écopole) has been preserved and now hosts many cultural, economic and environmental activities which are the symbol of new developments for the commune. Écopole 11/19 comprises buildings dating from 1923 and a modern concrete winding tower (height 66m) which operated from 1960 to 1986.

The landscape is still marked by enormous spoil heaps, those of pits 11 and 19, visible for miles around. They are part of the mines of the Nord-Pas de Calais region that have become the 38th French site on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as "a living and changing landscape".[2]


Nowadays, Loos-en-Gohelle is a town whose economy is dominated by light industry, textiles and workshops for artisans and professionals, but it also still retains a strong rural connection (there are thirty farms within the commune).

Population[edit]

Population history
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006
7522 7733 6958 6706 6561 6992 6904
Census count starting from 1962: Population without duplicates

Places of interest[edit]

The Loos memorial at Dud Corner cemetery

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "INSEE commune file". Insee.fr. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  2. ^ "The mines of the Nord-Pas de Calais make their debut as a UNESCO World Heritage Site". France.fr. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 

External links[edit]