Tourcoing - Encyclopedia

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TOURCOING, a manufacturing town of northern France in the department of Nord, less than a mile from the Belgian frontier, and 8 m. N.N.E. of Lille on the railway to Ghent. Pop. (1906), 62,694 (commune, 81,671), of whom about one-third are natives of Belgium. Tourcoing is practically one with Roubaix to the south, being united thereto by a tramway and a branch of the Canal de Roubaix. The public institutions comprise a tribunal of commerce, a board of trade arbitrators, a chamber of commerce, an exchange and a conditioning house for textiles. Together with Roubaix, Tourcoing ranks as one of the chief textile centres of France. Its chief industry is the combing, spinning and twisting of wool carried on in some eighty factories employing between o,000 and 12,000 workpeople. The spinning and twisting of cotton is also important. The weaving establishments produce woollen and mixed woollen and cotton fabrics together with silk and satin drapery, swanskins, jerseys and other fancy goods. The making of velvet pile carpets and upholstering materials is a speciality of the town. To these industries must be added those of dyeing, the manufacture of hosiery, of the machinery and other apparatus used in the textile factories and of soap.

Famed since the 12th century for its woollen manufactures, Tourcoing was fortified by the Flemings in 1477, when Louis XI. of France disputed the inheritance of Charles the Bold with Mary of Burgundy, but in the same year was taken and pillaged by the French. In 1794 the Republican army, under Generals Moreau and Souham, gained a decisive victory over the Austrians, the event being commemorated by a monument in the public garden. The inhabitants, 18,000 in 1789, were reduced by the French Revolution to io,000.

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