The coalfield in the département of Calvados in Normandy was one of the first to be exploited in France, and was productive over more than two centuries. Coal seams were discovered at Littry in 1741 and the Compagnie des Mines de Littry, formally established in 1747 produced fuel for potteries and glass works, for the boilers of ships and for gas works over the following century. There were 30 pits in the region in 1840, but in 1880 production ceased as a result of competition from British coal shipped to the ports of northern France. In 1940 the German occupying authorities ordered the resumption of production, and mines in the area continued to work until the early 1950s. The museum, one of the first in France to be devoted to coal mining, dates from 1902, and provides a broad picture of the archaeology of the industry.