Mairie de Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire - The Chaussade ironworks: magnificent industrial heritage

The Chaussade ironworks: magnificent industrial heritage

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The Chaussade ironworks: magnificent industrial heritage

The water of the Loire and the Nohain, the woods of the central Nivernais, the coal of the Massif Central, the iron ores of Berry and the Donziais...

This wealth of natural resources literally forged the destiny of Cosne. Yes, forged, because it was the Forges de la Chaussade which marked the starting point of the town's industrial history in the 18th century.

Under Louis XVI, the golden age

The founder was Pierre Babaud de la Chaussade, born in Bellac in 1706. As a young man, he followed his father into the lumber trade for the navy before becoming a master blacksmith. Introduced to the court of King Louis XVI, he owned forges and woods in the Nivernais. He operated the ironworks at Cosne-sur-Loire from 1735 and ensured its growth, with production reaching its peak between 1744 and 1781. The ironworks produced anchors and metal accessories for the French navy, supplying the sports of Brest and Lorient.

Babaud became almost the exclusive supplier of the French navy. In 1777 he foresaw a decline in activity, and prudently began negotiations with the state, which bought the ironworks in 1781. The ironworks became a royal possession, but retained its name in tribute to the service rendered to the nation by Babaud de la Chaussade.

The train blows the final whistle

By the 19th century, the ironworks was suffering from evolutions in techniques, and business collapsed. In 1860, the arrival of the railways dealt the fatal blow: waterways were no longer used, and goods were now transported by train. The ironworks finally closed its doors in 1871.

But the site remained home to industrial activity, which was varied to say the least. A nail factory, a laundry, a felt works, a shoe factory and finally an electric cable factory from 1941 to 1987, when industrial activity at the ironworks site finally came to an end.

Today, a treasure of Cosne heritage

As The owner of the site since 1905, the town of Cosne has a particular interest in it.

Historically, this was the site where industrial life began in Cosne.

Today it remains a privileged area, the town centre's façade on the Loire. The "Sévigné" gate and the former forge building have been saved. The site now houses a municipal hall and the library.