01 May '22

Industrial heritage with a social side

door Wim Troch
Apart from a plentiful supply of labour and access to a nearby market, the success of the Industrial Revolution also depended on having an adequate level of infrastructure for bringing in and out raw materials and products.

So it comes as no surprise that several factories would be located in Ruisbroek, the place where a canal converged with a railway line. The ReyAiné textile mill in Ruisbroek was for a long time the municipality’s economic powerhouse. The owner had a school built and houses for the workers. He was particularly keen to ensure his employees were closely involved with their own parish centre. Apart from being a caring person and having an acute sense of moral responsibility, he, in common with other religious-minded employers, was anxious to steer his workers clear of the temptations of bar rooms, where they might end up becoming slaves to the demon drink. Or even worse: they might be swayed by Socialist or Marxist agitators, and hear people talking about claiming better working conditions or higher wages.