The centre at Guesnain 8km SE of Douai is the largest mining museum in France and occupies the surface buildings of the Delloye Colliery that was sunk in 1920. Most of the principal surface structures remain, two steel headstocks with their winding engines, coal-handling and -screening plant, the area where miners changed into their working clothes, leaving their other clothes hanging from the ceiling (‘la salle des pendus’), the lamp room and the offices. A 450 sq m exhibition gallery illustrates the development of coal-mining technology, the history of coal as a source of energy, and the social life of mining communities in northern France, particularly in the 1890s when the area featured in Zola’s novel, Germinal. Life-size models demonstrate the role of horses in mining. The Centre holds the historic archives of the colliery companies of the Nord Pas-de-Calais region, and collections of railway rolling stock associated with mining and of twentieth century mining machinery. Many notable examples of miners’ housing, from terraces of the 1820s to Garden City colonies of the 1920s, remain in the area.