Condé-sur-l’Escaut. I tested for you… the Ledoux pit brought back to life by virtual reality

The fog that covers the Chabaud-Latour site is appropriate, on this Wednesday morning in autumn. “Fosse Ledoux, the disappeared mine”: this is the name of the brand new digital application that I have been asked to test in Condé-sur-l’Escaut.

And it is indeed difficult to distinguish the headframe through the mist from the café La Roselière, where it is possible to start this interactive walk of an hour and a half.

With a first piece of advice: download the “LegendR” app from the warmth of your home before hitting the road.

Because it’s not easy to find network in this large green and border area. “Once the app is downloaded, it works without a network”says Paul Casanova, project manager at Rendr, a company created in 2015 to design virtual reality reconstructions and historical routes.

Virtual reality at the service of heritage

Specializing in the Middle Ages and the Gallo-Roman era, the company is trying its hand at industrial heritage for the first time with the reconstruction of the Ledoux pit. It is indeed difficult to imagine the effervescence that animated Chabaud-Latour, before it became the base of nature and leisure that we know.

“It opened on July 16, 1905recalls the mayor of Condé, Grégory Lelong. On average, 2.2 tonnes of coal were brought up there a day and 2,700 people worked there!” It is towards this past that I head by taking the green path. With a first stop, almost obligatory on the headframe.

The only one of the two to have been preserved after the pit was closed in 1989. With period images, practical information on the mine, the pit or Charles Ledoux from whom it took its name… all enhanced by videos and quizzes for the whole family.

As you walk, the landscape is discovered in a different light and you can imagine what life could have been like at the time, on and under the ground.

From green to black, back to 1952

But the most impressive part is undoubtedly the reconstruction of the Ledoux pit in virtual reality. To take advantage of it, nothing like putting on the “cardboard” a helmet (which will turn you into a black mouth) in which you place your smartphone. From the top of the slag heap, we discover the landscape as it was… in 1952!

“It is a year in which there has been an important work of photographycomments Paul Casanova. It also marks the beginning of the dismantling of the pit…” To be as accurate as possible of the reality of the time – under the gaze of those who knew it – the Rendr team was helped by the archives of the city, those of the historic mining center of Lewarde and the Mining Basin Mission.

Four months of editing were needed to create this application, for a budget of 25,000 euros. Now it remains to make it known to everyone. “The helmet will be on sale for a modest sum at the Office, and soon at the belfry or at the media library”, warns David Boukla, of the OT. The app is free and I can only advise you to try the experience!

To download the app, it’s this way !

We would love to say thanks to the writer of this post for this remarkable content

Condé-sur-l’Escaut. I tested for you… the Ledoux pit brought back to life by virtual reality

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