Abandoned Silk Plant of Cellatex Usine

Cellatex SA is on the 89 to 93 block of Route de Bon Secours in ‘The Four Chimneys’, the commune of Givet, the Ardennes department of France.

The factory seen today on the Route de Bon Secours began in 1902. It was opened by Hilaire de Chardonnet, the father of artificial silk. The Givet factory began with the copper method of creating silk and in 1912 turned to the process of viscose. Using this method was cheaper as it allowed for the ingredients to be taken from wood pulp along with using cheaper chemicals. The Givet factory grew and grew and had 790 employees by 1914.

By the time World War I came into full swing the Givet silk factory was in occupied territory and transformed into part hospital part factory for canned food, fat and margarine. The equipment was seized, stripped, looted and sent to Germany. At the end of World War II the plant was able to return to its former state after help from the Ministry of Industrial Reconstruction enabled them to receive back some of their missing machines. The factory was able to resume work in December of 1919. The production of fake silk greatly increased in the 1920s. In the 1930’s things begin to decline and artificial silk is now called rayon. By World War II the use of artificial fibers begins to increase again.

The name Cellatex did not form until 1981 and this factory was not given to Cellatex until 1991. Things decline continuously until 2000 when the 153 employees find out the the liquidation of the company has been ordered by the Commercial Court of Charlevill-Meziers. The 153 employees feeling betrayed and knowing the chemicals of what they deal with begin to occupy the plant. Upset and wanting to be heard the workers poured acid into the Meuse river but only enough to show that they were serious about the situation but not enough to cause serious pollution. The workers end up receiving nothing in the end knowing that a proposed take over by a Bavarian Group is a lie.

Celletax has now been sold for scraps with the spinning machines scrapped, the land cleared and the power plant razed. Roofs were removed and over half of the 50,000 Meters of this massive silk factory were demolished. The facade and main entrance still stands to this day and was acquired by the community of Communes Ardenne-Rives-de-Meuse to host companies and the like. So far no more has been completed and it remains abandoned.

The silk plant in 1906 first and 1914 second.

Where is the abandoned Cellatex SA of Givet located? You can find it with these coordinates. 50.153648,4.823891.

Images 1, 2 and 3 used and licensed under CC By SA 3.0. Images 1, 2 and 3 by Henry Docquin / Wikimedia Commons.
Images 4 and 5 under Public Domain.

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