Friday, 26 August 2016

Art Deco Hopital Riche, Jeumont.

Main entrance of the Hopital Riche.
On my research expedition to the various frontier posts of France, I came across this establishment in Jeumont. It is the Hopital Riche.

Originally called the Institution Riche, it was built in the 1930s from a legacy donated by the local rich industrialist, Monsieur Albert Riche, as an infirmary, a creche and a dispensary. It evolved into a hospital and served the town of Jeumont until it was replaced in 1977.

As is often the fate of such buildings, it was then left to go to rack and ruin. Luckily, somebody in the town had a conscience and the buildings have been renovated and restored to use as a centre to care for heavily handicapped patients.
The Dispensary at the Hopital Riche, Jeumont.
Jeumont attracted my interest initially because at the height of its importance it possessed three customs frontier posts: one for the road, one for the railway and one for the maritime traffic on the river. The railway station is an enormous building as was necessary to accommodate the 150 customs officers who processed the trans-frontier traffic, be it French hops on their way to Belgian breweries or Russian Royalty on their way from Paris to Moscow. Up until World War 2, all international trains had to stop for an hour at Jeumont to allow the customs frontier formalities to take place. This delay even entered into literature with the Maigret short story by Simenon which was publilshed in 1944, Jeumont 51 minutes d'arret.

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