The Grossouvre Metal Space, a dive into the history of iron with Jamy Gourmaud

Happy, playful, interactive. Words are not spontaneously associated with the idea of ​​diving into the world of metallurgy. However, this is what governs a visit to the Espace Métal in Grossouvre, which for thirteen years has offered an astonishing journey to the age of blacksmiths and the industrial revolution of the 19th century, which turned the Val d’Aubois upside down.

Discovering iron in all its forms at the Espace Métal de Grossouvre

Two virtual guides to accompany the walk in this former coal shed built between 1841 and 1844 – and which alone deserve the detour: the grand master of the old forges by Berry Georges Dufaudand the legendary host of the show This is not rocket sciencefrom Jamy’s world and many programs whose DNA is to combine meaning and pleasure, Jamy Gourmaud. The round-glassed idol of millennials, their parents and grandparents themselves fed the scenography. Between the two men, over the stages of the visit, experiences, models, films, period photos, an unusual dialogue between past and present is built up.

Photo Christophe Masson

Natural elements necessary for the development of metallurgical activity (water, iron ore, wood), large iron and cast iron structures of the 19th century (railways, bridges, metal skeletons), workers’ daily lifeWelsh inspirations, consequences of this industry on the natural environment (especially deforestation), operation of a blast furnace and the chemical reactions that occur there, explained by Jamy: the transformation of iron ore into cast iron is examined in all its aspects, 360 °.

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And continuing upstairs (which offers a breathtaking view of the structure of this extraordinary place) with another transformation, that of cast iron in steel. There, too, the past rubs shoulders with the reproduction of a Bessemer furnace, which makes it possible to transform molten cast iron into steel, and a Martin furnace with the present with pride contemporary techniques and at metal recyclingsubject of the film projected in the cinema hall, which shows the transformation of an old car into a work of art.

From this place, which was classified as a historical monument in 1999, the glorious history of part of Cher takes shape. Also a world history. That Espace Métal has promised to explore in a fun and educational way.

Photo Christophe Masson

This promise of joyful discovery is also at the heart of a exploration and adventure game on tablet (“Berry explor’games”) posted by SPL Les 1000 lieux du Berry, which operates the site. A proposal that allows you to explore the highlights of the town of Grossouvre with your family, from Les Galeries workers’ housing building to the church passing the old train station.

Immersion in the era of the first industrial revolution, discovery of the village of Grossouvre shaped by the iron industry: to these two ways of delving into the history of the place are added a series of agreements, linked to knowledge -TO DO. The temporary exhibition, first. Borrowed from the golden city of Saint-Amand-Montrond, “Heaven?! My Jewels” found in 19th-century tools and objects, in a film and in two exhibitions, Florence Closset’s enamels and wire jewelry.

Another highlight of the summer: a demonstration of the creation of a forged part of Antonin Decreux, iron worker and art cutter, on Sunday, August 21. Way to show that we are not just in the past at Espace Métal. But both feet nowadays. Jamy’s, the craftsmen’s, those who will look at this decor.

Valerie Mazerolle

Upcoming agreement

Photo Christophe Masson

Demonstration. Antonin Decreux, iron worker and art cutter. Step by step, the progress of creating a forged part. Sunday, August 21. From 10.00 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 18.00. Price: €7 (adult) / €5 (from 6 to 16 years). Site visit included.

Workshop for jewelry making. Wednesday 26 October. Sessions at 14.00 and 16.00. Duration 1 hour. Prices: €11 / €9.50 from 6 to 16 years / guide €6. Equipment included in the price.

Foundry workshop. Sunday 23 October and Wednesday 2 November. Sessions at 14.00 and 16.00. Duration 1 hour. From 4 to 10 people. Single price: €8.

Flower making workshop. Tips and tricks from Catherine Joyaux-Corselli. Sunday, October 9. Sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Duration 1 hour. From 6 years. From 4 to 25 people. Prices: €30 / €18 from 6 to 16 years / €27 adult + child package. Equipment is included in the price.

Aperitif conference. Modern times and the mutation of the gaze – photography, film, art, technology and society (1839 – 1914). By Michel Cegarra. Saturday 8 October at 17.30 Single price: €7.

European Heritage Days. The talents at the meeting: Iron workers, master carvers, potters, leather workers, sculptors, enamellers… Sunday 18 September. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Possibility to eat on site. Prices: €5 / €4 from 6 to 16 years.

Halloween Special. Animation “A diabolical memory”. Hunt for clues for the whole family. Between 22 October and 6 November 2022. Thursday to Sunday from 10.00 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 17.00. Game booklet: €2.

Practice. Space Metal / Halle de Grossouvre. 2 Vereaux road. Telephone: Website:

Photo Christophe Masson

Opening hours from 9 April 2022 to 6 November 2022. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:00 (until 18:00 in July and August). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Prices: €6 (full price) / €5 (reduced price) / €4 (child from 6 to 16) / free for children under 6. €4.50 upon presentation of a partner site (Apremont-sur-Allier Flower Park and Sagonne Castle, Privilege Pass for Route Jacques-Coeur, Crédit Agricole members). Industrial Heritage Pass (ticket combined with CIAP La Tuilerie valid during the season): €7.50. Family price (two adults, two children aged 6 to 16): €16, €4 per extra child. Demonstration on 21 August: €7 (adult) / €5 (6 to 16 years) – site visit included.

Berry Explor’game: from 10 years. €15 per tablet. From 1 to 4 players

Photo Christophe Masson

Built between 1841 and 1844, the Grossouvre Coal Hall was classified as a historic monument in 1999. Originally used to store charcoal from the blast furnace and then from the tile works, it was particularly inspired by the Welsh Halls of the early 19th century. . The departmental council of Cher has rehabilitated it to make it a place dedicated to the discovery of the history of iron. Espace Métal was inaugurated in 2009. It is now one of the sites run by the local public company Les 1000 Lieux du Berry, as Pôle du Cheval and Assen in Lignières, Pôle des Etoiles in Nançay, the leisure village of Goule in Bessais- le Fromental and Lake Sidiailles.

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