In 1865, flooding at the “Grande Bacnure”: 29 victims, a terrible disaster.
On Thursday, June 15, early in the afternoon, the water suddenly invades the galleries of the “Grande Bacnure” colliery. The twenty-nine miners working at that time were all drowned or asphyxiated.
Upon the announcement of the disaster, parents and neighbours arrived on the scene. Heart-breaking scenes took place in front of the gates of the colliery, "a father asks for his children, children ask for their father, their brothers and sisters". The colliery management appealed to the police for "perfect order." Indeed, the crowd was not only teary but angry as they attributed the responsibility for the disaster to the manager of the mine.
Amongst the first corpses, rescuers found a young worker suffocating. She was aged 15. She died before the arrival of the doctors. His body was then deposited in a room of the factoryd. In this improvised mortuary, there was in the day after the disaster "thirteen corpses lying on straw! On one side, seven men, on the other, six young ladies aged from 15 to 20 years old! "
Some bodies were removed from the bottom the day of the disaster others were extracted from the muddy waters 19 days after: 15 men and 14 women aged 15 to 64. The average age of women was 22 years old.
The following day the newspapers of Liège were shocked: "Mining should not be the lot of women". However, the ban on women's work in mines was only voted in 1911.
The colliery is now closed. Some claim, however, that a spirit haunts the area still marked by two coal hills overlooking the Coronmeuse area.
This spirit, nicknamed Dark Coal, would manifest itself on the 15th of each month and would have inspired the making of the beer that bears his nickname. A light, nutritious, black beer that the "coalmen" drank with a raw egg to give strength and courage before entering the mine.
Who is Dark Coal? The controversies are spreading widely: it could be Jean or Elisabeth Franco, a father and his daughter both dead during the disaster. Some people think that it is Marie Radoux who had the reputation of being addicted on this beer. We also suspect the unfortunate Guillaume Plumier, the one who was said, "gave the blow of fatal peak that triggered the flood." Others think that it is not any of them: a 30th miner would have never been extracted from the mine and would still be waiting to be released.
It is in honor and to remember these unfortunate miners that the Belgian Brewery (installed at edge of the mine) composed this recipe. When you taste the Dark Coal, remember these unfortunate people. And avoid abusing it at the risk of being haunted by the spirit of Dark Coal
The legend of Dark Coal was inspired by tasting the Dark Coal beer, the black beer of the Belgian Brewery, a light and witty beer brewed in honor of the "coalmen" of the time .
Excess of alcohol is dangerous for health. Enjoy our recipes with wisdom!
The information collected is largely inspired by a Walthère Franssen publication that can be found on the link: