Cimenterie Vicat


Explore ‘Cimenterie Vicat‘, a cement plant that dates back to 1928 when it was built by industrialist Ernest Cambier. Eventually it was sold to competitive cement factories in 1967 and 1972. The old cement plant straddles the territory of the municipalities of Pont-à-Vendin, Meurchin and Estevelles.

In 1928, the plant known as ‘Société des Anciens Établissements Ernest Cambier’ was established. Within its walls, limestone extracted from nearby quarries was combined with clay, finely pulverized, and blended with water. This mixture was then agitated and subsequently heated in a rotary kiln. After heating, the material was pulverized once more. The most vivid memory for local residents is the pervasive white dust that settled over everything.

The Cambier company was bought by Portland cement in 1967. The company was rebranded ‘La société du ciment Portland artificiel de Pont à Vendin’.


In 1972 Vicat took over the company. Vicat is a French family business founded in 1817 by Louis Vicat, inventor of artificial cement. André Merceron-Vicat implements a program of modernization and capacity increases for Vicat cement plants as a result of concentration of the French cement industry. Because the Pont-à-Vendin plant was not enough profitable, this cement plant was closed in the 1980s. Two hundred people worked at the plant at the time it was closed. The Vicat company is still active today, they now employ 8 thousand people and generate a profit of 2.5 billion euros.


The photographs of the Cimenterie date back to 2017. At the time of my visit, the derelict site had become a refuge for ten goats. In 2022, photographers found the animals deceased, prompting a police investigation that led to several arrests on charges of animal cruelty.

Also check these reports of cement plants in Spain and Italy.

Built 1928
Abandoned 1984
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