THE VENUE

History of the GUIDO Coal Mine

 

Railway lines development since the mid-nineteenth century, allowing the transport of raw materials and finished products had contributed to the rapid development of Upper Silesian industry. In the area of Zabrze new mines were opened, as well as mills and factories using steam for driving machines and equipment. This resulted in rapid growth of coal demand. In 1855, Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, magnate and industrialist, founded in Zabrze a new coal mine, which was named after him - Guido.

Sinking of Barbara and Concordia shafts (the latter was several years later renamed Guido) faced many difficulties. Running sand and Saara tectonic fault precluded sinking the first – Barbara - shaft. In 1856 this shaft, sunk to the depth of 30 meters, was abandoned. In contrast, Guido shaft sinking was continued. Exploiting of first mining level was started 80 m below the ground. However, mining work encountered further difficulties – tectonic disturbances, hindering production. In 1862 at a depth of 117 m Guido shaft came across the aquiferous layer and was flooded. In order to raise investment capital for further mining operation, it was decided to set up partnership with the Upper Silesian Railway Association (Oberschlesische Eisenbahn Gesellschaft).

In 1870 the Guido shaft was drained and sunk to 170 m. In 1872 coal extraction at level of 80 m was restarted. At the same time work on drilling the Railway shaft were carried out. Railway shaft is the shaft which is used now to transport tourists to the undergrounds of the mine. The structure of the preparatory and shortwall excavations was extended. The maximum extraction of 312 976 tons of coal was reached in 1885. In the years 1885-1887 the “Guido” mine was purchased by Prussian Treasury and included as a southern field to the state-owned Queen Louise Mine. Most of the easily-attainable coal resources at the level of 170 m were extracted and it was started to reach the level of 320 m.

Near the Guido shaft the Guido auxiliary shaft was drilled. The Railway shaft was deepened to a depth of 320 m (in 1890). In 1912, the Guido mine was merged with the newly built Delbrück mine and coking plant. After the partitioning of Silesia in 1922, the Delbrück mine (with “Guido” mine) was cast for Germany and made over to Prussian Preussag mining company. In 1928, the Guido shaft was closed down and the Railway shaft became transporting shaft for the crew and materials. On the level of 170 drainage facilities were installed draining the entire mine. After 1945 the Delbrück mine was renamed Makoszowy Coal Mine, and the former Guido mining area lost its importance. The temporary recovery took place in 1967 when the Experimental Coal Mine M-300 was created. Research was carried out there on new technologies and mining machines, also small amount of coal was extracted from the level of 320 m.

In 1982, thanks to the efforts and commitment of the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze then director, Mrs Krystyna Barszczewska, on the level of 170 the Guido Mining Museum was opened to the public and several years later registered a national monument. In 2000, because of costs reduction and restructuration of the Polish coal mining industry, The Guido Mining Museum was closed-down and disassembling of the Mine was started. However, by dint of efforts of many institutions, notably Zabrze local government and individuals, this destructive practice was stopped, and in 2007 the Historic “Guido” Coal Mine has been founded, as a cultural institution operating under the auspices of Zabrze municipality. Today the The Guido Coal Mine is a part of the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze.

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