Last modified: 2005-03-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: nievre | fourchambault | torch | hammers: 2 | war cross | bee | power hammer | cog wheel |
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by Pascal Vagnat
The municipality of Fourchambault stretches over 455 hectares and has an average elevation of 172 m a.s.l. The 1999 census yielded 4,957 inhabitants. The city is made of two parts, called La Brasserie (The Brewery) and La Fonderie (The Ironworks).
The city was mentioned for the first time in 1404 as Frechambaut, slightly changed to Frechambault in 1449 and Forchambault in 1568, and finally to Fourchambault in 1597. The name of Fourchambault might have came from Germanic words frisk (fresh, recent) and bald (happy, proud). A more probable etymology is Four Archambault, refering to a village oven (four banal) owned by a lord named Archambault.
In 1789, there was nothing in Fourchambault but a watermill located on the right bank of river Loire and owned by the Bishop of Nevers. On 1 April 1821, the building of the ironworks started under the guidance of engineer Georges Dufaut, appointed by the manufacturer Louis Boigues. Ironworks were put into service on 15 October 1822. Smelting works were built nearby the ironworks in 1823. Several workers from Wales and Staffordshire were hired because of their skills in ironworking. In 1836, a suspension bridge was built over the river Loire. The six-span bridge had a length of 400 m and a width of 5.50 m. A company (Compagnie du Pont de Fourchambault) was set up to operate the bridge. Toll was 10 centimes for a person, 20 c. for a loaded horse, 15 c. for a non-loaded horse, 15 c. for a loaded donkey, 12.5 c. for a non-loaded donkey, 10 c. for a pig and 40 c. for a cart, without extra fee for the carter. The inhabitants of Fourchambault repeatedly complained about the toll and the queues it generated, so that on 13 July 1884, the departements of Nièvre and Cher and the cities of Nevers and Fourchambault purchased the bridge, whose toll was suppressed. In 1940, the French Army blew up the bridge with dynamite in order to slow down the progress of the German Army. The bridge was rebuilt in March 1950.
On 5 May 1855, the municipality of Fourchambault was established by "upgrading" the former Fourchambault section of the municipality of Garchizy. There were already 5,380 inhabitants in Fourchambault in 1856. On 7 July 1862, Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie de Montijo visited the ironworks. In 1901, the ironworks were closed, but they were rapidly reopened in 1903.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 8 February 2002
The municipal flag of Fourchambault is white with the municipal coat of arms placed in the middle of the flag and the name of the city written in black below the coat of arms.
The shield is blue and shows a silver power hammer placed on a red terrace. A red lingot is placed on the anvil. The power hammer is flanked with two affronted golden lions holding a golden torch with a red flame. Through the terrace is placed a silver wave over a flying golden bee. The shield is placed over a golden smelting furnace with a red flame and above a silver cog wheel whose upper part is hidden by the shield. Two silver hammers with a golden handle flank the shield in oblique. The War Cross 1939-1945 is placed below the shield over the cog wheel.
The arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 20 April 1956. They symbolize the industrial history of the city. The bee symbolizes work.
Pascal Vagnat, 8 February 2002