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Les Routières

The Thiérache



Basketry was practiced in many villages of France but in the time of industrialization in the 19th and 20th century, Origny-en-Thiérache became the world centre of basketry.
Origny was best known for its
fine basketry and specialized in the manufacture of objects
for small decoration

Basketry became a semi-traditional, semi-industrialized avtivity, and was excercised in all the villages in the surroundings of Origny, thanks to the natural presence of willow on the banks of the Oise and the Ton. At the time of industrialization and the great demand of basketry, wicker were specially grown (« les saussois »).

Late 19th, early 20th century, the Thiérache had 5.500 basket weavers, especially artisans who worked at home, where the negotiating of a factory supplies it of the commodity. Almost all inhabitants of Origny worked in basketry: from the culture of the wicker to the production and finishing of the basketry objects.
Each artisan and each village had its
speciality: for exemple of «  Lucettes », baskets for bakers, small baskets of decoration for chocolate…
After finishing, the dealer accumulated wickerwork objects in its warehouse and exported the command by the rail with stop at Origny.
Basketry were exported to all over the world but especially towards Britain, Switzerland, America, Canada, Nord Africa and Latin America. Many larges factories had a second point of sale in Paris or London.

At the end of the First World War basket weaving industry was recessed because of the increased cost of labour and the competition of the German and Belgian basket weavery.
The arrival of plastic, cardboard and wood as packing boxes, gave the death blow to the industry.

Today you can still see old warehouses and villas of directors, linking Origny and all the surrounding villages to their basketry history.