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Guesnain (Municipality, Nord, France)

Last modified: 2021-02-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Guesnain - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 17 December 2020

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Presentation of Guesnain

The municipality of Guesnain (4,691 inhabitants in 2018; 405 ha; municipal website) is located 5 km south of Douai.

Guesnain was first mentioned in the 7th century as Gaisnaing. Until 1789, the village belonged to the abbey of Maubeuge, founded in the 7th century by St. Aldegonde. Nothing is known on the village's early history since the archives were burned in 1710 during the siege of Douai by the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugen of Savoy.

The first shaft of pit Saint-René (- 271 m) was established in 1865 by the Compagnie des Mines d'Aniche. In 1871, 29,300 tons of coal were extracted. The village's population, mostly miner's households, increased from 581 in 1871 to 914 in 1881, 1,748 in 1901, 2,350 in 1911, and 3,250 in 1927. The company successively built the Saint-René, Varennes and Louvencourt miner's estates.
In the aftermath of the establishment of shaft No. 2 (- 414 m), coal production increased to 177,470 tons. Pit Saint-René was connected to pit Notre-Dame, in Waziers, and pit Sainte-Marie in Auberchicourt, by a railway.
Destroyed during the First World War, pit Saint-René was re-established in 1921, to be eventually closed on 3 August 1964.

A sugar mill, subsequently connected to the mine's railway, was established in 1879. Production of beet sugar increased from 200 tons in 1879 to 2,000 tons in 1912. The factory was closed in 1945.

Ivan Sache, 10 December 2020

Flag of Guesnain

The flag of Guesnain (photo) is white with the municipal logo, which was inspired by the municipal arms, "Argent three chevrons gules".

The arms were assigned by Th. Leuridan (Armorial des communes du département du Nord, 1909) as the arms of the noble chapter of canonesses of Maubeuge, once lords of Guesnain.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 10 December 2020