is a commune
and chief town of a canton
in the Seine-Maritime département
of the Haute-Normandie
region of northern France
. Its inhabitants are called Bolbécais
and light industrial
town situated at the heart of three valleys in the Pays de Caux
, some northeast of Le Havre
. It is the source of the river Commerce
, though here it is known as the river Bolbec. The town has many small lanes (ruelles
) with some pretty houses.
The first written record of the town dates from the end of the 11th century, as Bolebec
. Archeological discoveries indicate that the site has been inhabited since ancient times. The first lord of Bolbec was Osbern de Bolbec (around 992) and the last was the Duc de Charost who was executed during the French revolution
The history of Bolbec is strongly linked to the textile industry.
Bolbec developed thanks to the numerous mills which lined the river banks through the town. These mills, numbering 14 in the middle of the 19th century, allowed the development of a textile industry based on water power, and later steam, to power the machinery.
Today, only three mills remain: one at the source of the river in the grounds of the Oril factry; one at Vallot; and one in the Ruelle Papavoine.
At the end of the 18th century, a number of manufacturers installed themselves at Bolbec to produce "Indiennes" (printed textiles). On the eve of the Revolution, Bolbec had 18 factories. In 1806, 1806, there were 27 producing Indiennes employing nearly 800 workers.
The importance of textiles in the Bolbec Valley was recognised by the state with the creation of the Chambre des Arts et Manufactures in 1806 (which became the Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and, further, with the creation of a Conseil des Prud’hommes in 1813. But, over the years, the textile industry suffered economic crises and by the end of the 19th century there was just one indiennerie remaining.
The last textile works closed in 1986.
Little remains of the textile history of the town. A single former factory remains, that of the Desgenétais works. In effect, this site is the last witness of the impact of the textile factories on Bolbec town planning: school, creche, chapel, workers' and foremen's houses… The site provides an exceptional insight into the epoch.
Bolbec is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bolbec - Lillebonne.
The principal employers in Bolbec are Oril Inustrie, part of the Servier Pharmaceutical group, and Cooper Standard Automotive, automobile equipment manufacturers specialising in waterproofing
Sites and monuments
- Former Desgenétais factory, part of the regional textile industry.
- Saint-Michel Church
- Manoir de Cailletot
- Mills: Moulins Seminel et du Vallot
- Château du Val au Grès
Personalities linked to the commune
- François Amable Ruffin, (1771-1811), general.
- Richard Charles Blondel, (1827-....), general, recipient of the Légion d'honneur.
- Marion Gilbert, (1876-1951), writer.
- Jacques Prevel, (1915-1951), poete.
- Dominique Noguez, born 12 September 1942 in Bolbec, writer, winner of Prix Femina 1997.
- Edouard-Ferdinand Collen-Castaigne, Essai historique et statistique sur la ville de Bolbec, Rouen, 1839
- Gustave F Mauconduit, Histoire des rues de Bolbec, Rouen, 1887
- Pierre Dardel, Les Manufactures de toiles peintes et de serges imprimées à Rouen et à Bolbec aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, Rouen, 1940
- Jacques Vauquelin, La libération de Bolbec (Aout-Septembre 1954), Bolbec, 1969
- Jacques Vauquelin, Bolbec, ses rues… ses places…, Bolbec, 1970
- Jacques Vauquelin, Bolbec et son histoire…, Bolbec, 1974
- Jacques Vauquelin, Chateaux - Manoirs - Monuments et Sites de la région Bolbécaise, Bolbec, 1977
- Bolbec. Les hôtels de ville, les statues du jardin public, 1982
- Collège Roncherolles / L.E.P. Pierre de Coubertin, Bolbec et son canton <>, Bolbec, 1982
- Alain Avenel et Raymond Bernard, Splendeur des indiennes bolbécaises, Bolbec, 1996
- Raymond Bernard, Bolbec. Ses rues d'hier à aujourd'hui, 2003
- Alain Gilles / Jean-Marc Derrien, Bolbec dans les années 1900 - 1 - Monuments, lieux publics, gare, rues..., 2004
- Alain Gilles / Jean-Marc Derrien, Bolbec de 1900 à 2000 - 3 - Travail et distractions des Bolbécais(es), biographie de Léon Desgenétais, sports, divers..., 2006
- Raymond Bernard, Bolbec. Ses écoles d'hier à aujourd'hui, 2006
- Philippe Delacroix, C.C.P.W.E n° 23. Le camp de prisonniers de guerre allemands de Bolbec (février 1945 - Août 1946)