Open and free access (by appointment only)
From Monday to Friday
9 am to 5 pm
+ 33 (0)3 27 95 74 22


Virginie Malolepszy


Frédérique Delforge




The Mining History Centre holds an extensive collection of paper archives, which can be consulted independently by appointment at the documentary resources centre.

Collection of material

In the mid-1970s, mining archives started to be collected within the Nord-Pas de Calais nationalised mining company. The company decided to bring together on the Delloye colliery site not only objects and mining equipment but also documents. The primary objective was to amass a range of documents which could be presented in exhibitions. In 1984, the Nord-Pas de Calais coalfield nationalised mining company was granted authorisation by the French Archives Department to manage its archives itself and entrust the collection, management and use of them to the Mining History Centre.

Between 1985 and 1992, as the pits and mines closed, the Mining History Centre was entrusted with the documents produced by the former mining companies and the Nord-Pas de Calais coalfield nationalised mining company which had been kept on the various sites.

The archive collection

The 2.4km of archives of archives conserved at the centre cover the entire history of coal mining in the Nord-Pas de Calais (1720-1990), from the beginnings of the private mining companies to the closure of the nationalised mining company. They cover all the themes relating to the world of mining: company organisation, economic and social welfare history, knowledge of the pits, mining techniques and industrial heritage. Some collections, for example those from the Anzin, Lens and Bruay companies, were especially well preserved and by analysing these documents we are able to build up a wealth of information on the history of these companies. For the Anzin Company for example, there are watercolour plans of the various sites, files on and plans of the complete railway network and numerous documents dating from between 1752 and 1970 on how the company was organised, its social welfare projects, mining itself, etc.

A privileged research source

The documentary resources centre is a privileged source of ideas and information for research work. While it is primarily used by the Mining History Centre for creating the museum programme (exhibitions, projections and events) and for its various publications (the “Mémoires de Gaillette” collection, internal newsletter, press, etc.), a large amount of work is also carried out by researchers from a variety of backgrounds: publishing and cinema professionals and academics, but also individuals wishing to trace the history of their workplace, a specific event or isolated incident, or to obtain further information following a visit to the museum.

Each year, the centre plays host to some one hundred researchers. Half of these are academics from universities in the region or elsewhere in France, from all disciplines and at all levels from bachelor’s degree to doctorate. The centre houses within its collections more than 200 pieces of academic work, created using its collections, in a range of disciplines: architecture, law, social sciences, science, medicine, engineering studies and more. Subjects vary widely: electrification of the mines in the Pas-de-Calais between 1880 and 1930, social law in the French nationalised mining company between 1810 and 1939, the role of physical activity in the Nord-Pas de Calais mining companies’ management policy during the 1870-1939 period or the Pas-de-Calais wind bands, brass bands and brass and drum bands between 1880 and 1950, to name but a few.

Numerous themes have yet to be explored. Within the centre’s collections, researchers will find sources capable of throwing new light on the history of the coalfield.

Other centres also hold collections of documents on the mines :

Agence Nationale pour la Garantie des Droits des Mineurs (ANGDM -National agency for the protection of miners’ rights)

Centre des Archives du Monde du Travail (World of work archive centre)

Carmaux town. Jean-Baptiste Calvignac cultural centre

Lorraine coalfield nationalised mining company. Moselle departmental archives service, Jeanne d’Arc annexe.