At the heart of the raison d’être of our association

One of the major objectives of the association Vieille Montagne Heritage is to value the memory of the company Vieille Montagne in all its forms. The subject of the inventory and classification of his exceptional archives foundnwas therefore determining in the decision to create our association.

An exceptional industrial archives fund

With the purchase of the Vieille Montagne in 1989 by Union Minière, and with the closure of its historic headquarters in Angleur transferred to Woluwé St Lambert, these archives, rather than being dispersed in the company’s sites, were voluntarily transferred to three institutions in Liège: the Museum of Metallurgy and Industry of Liège (MMIL) received the objects, models, posters and sculptures; the University of Liège (CHST – ULiège), the iconographic collection (photos, watercolors), catalogs and mining journals. The Archives de l’État-Wallonie (AEL) inherited the documentary collection, the most important in fact. It is certainly one of the richest and most complete industrial holdings in Europe, as it concerns a flagship of the metallurgical industry which, from the mid-19th century, had an international activity and remained a leader until the early 1960s. This collection represents more than 700 linear meters of documents perfectly preserved in the dry and protected from light.

The story he tells can be approached from several angles: technological, historical, social, commercial or heritage. It is a gold mine for researchers interested in this intense period that runs over two centuries, especially since certain products of this company are still sold today under the prestigious banner VM

Funding for the ranking

Thanks to initial funding provided by the UMICORE group (which itself is issued from the UNION MINIERE group which had bought the assets of the Vieille Montagne in 1989), our association was able to convince another specialized association, the AVAE (Association pour la Valorisation des Archives d’Entreprises), to embark on this tedious but very exciting work aimed at inventorying and classifying the VM fund according to the latest digitization standards in force.

We are proud to have AVAE as a partner and member of our association. Its director, motivated by the quality of the material available and the importance of the issue, quickly decided to participate in the financing. At the end of 2019, two seasoned archivists (three since the end of 2021) started to classify the valuable documents selected for their information density (in particular the annual activity reports of the head office, the different subsidiaries and the sites located throughout the world). Their work has already enabled several members of the association to publish very complete works on Vieille Montagne sites in Sweden (Ammeberg site), Italy (Porto Flavia Sardinian site) or England (Nenthead site).

The objective

To date (mid-2022), just over 200 ml of the selected documents have been classified and carefully placed in boxes adapted for their long-term protection. The archivists work on a rate of 100ml per year with the objective of reaching the 400ml inventory at the end of 2024. We are therefore looking for the necessary funding to succeed in this very exciting challenge.

Access to the Vieille Montagne fonds, currently being classified, is not possible. However, in agreement with the AEL and the AVAE, archivists will be able to search, on request and subject to conditions, in the scope of the already classified documents for any information useful to researchers and historians. The association Vieille Montagne Heritage will be honored to be your intermediary for this research.