Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Boulogne sur Mer

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BOULOGNE SUR MER, a fortified seaport of France, and the chief town of an arrondissement in Pas-de-Calais,

Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, v. 4.djvu-213.png

1, 2, 3. Establishment.— Including Baths, Aquarium, and Skating Rink. 11. Porte Gnyolle.
4. Place Navurin. 12. Sous-Pre fccturo
5. Rue Wissocq. 13. College.
6. Cathedral. 14. Museums.
7. Palais de Justice 15. St Nicholas Church.
8. Maine. 16. Market Place.
9. Convent (Annonciades). 17. Theatre.
10. Place Godefroi. 18.

English Churches.

19 Place Fr. Sauvage.

is situated on the shore of the English Channel at the mouth of the River Liane (anciently Elna), in 50 44 N. lat. and 1 36 E. long., 157 miles from Paris by railway and 28 from Folkestone, Kent. It consists of two parts, the High or Old Town and the Lower or New Town. The former, situated on the top of the bill, is of comparatively small extent, and forms almost a parallelogram, surrounded by ramparts of the 15th century, and entered by ancient gate ways. In this part are the Palais de Justice, the Chateau, the cathedral, and the Hotel de Ville, the last built in 1774, and the belfry tower of the 13th century is in the immediate neighbourhood. In the Chateau, now used as barracks, the Emperor Napoleon III. was confined after his famous attempt to effect a landing in 1840. At some distance north-west stands the cathedral church of Not Dame, built (1 827-1 86G) on the site of an old building destroyed in the Revolution, having underneath an exten sive crypt which still remains. The New Town extends from the foot of the hill to the harbour and along the shore, and contains several good streets, some of which are, however, very steep. A main street, named succes sively Rue de la Lainpe, St Nicholas, and Grande Rue, extends from the bridge across the Liane (near the railway station) to the promenade by the side of the ramparts and the Hotel de Ville. This is intersected first by the shore- way named Quai de la Flotille, Quai de la Victoire, &c. (where there are numerous hotels), and further back by the Rue Napoleon and Rue Royale, the principal business part of the town, and where the best shops are situated. The principal buildings comprise a museum, formerly the great seminary, a hospital, a theatre, an elegant etablissement (opened in 1863, containing ball-room, reading-room, &c.), a custom-house, barracks, various churches and convents, and a fish-market. Connected with the museum is a public library with 30,000 volumes and a large number of very valuable manuscripts, many of them richly illuminated. Boulogne has for a long time been one of the most Angli cized of French cities ; and in the tourist season a con tinuous stream of English travellers reach the Continent at this point. There is regular steamboat service between the port and Folkestone, the average passage occupying 2-} hours, or about three-quarters of an hour longer than from Calais to Dover. There are two English chapels in the town, and numerous boarding-schools intended for English pupils. Churchill, who died while on a visit to his friend Wilkes, in 1765, is buried in the cemetery, and the house is pointed out where Thomas Campbell expired in 1843. The shore is lined with extensive flat sands, where bathing is facilitated by the use of machines. Among the objects of interest in the neighbourhood the most remarkable is the Napoleon column or Colonne de la Grande Arm6e, erected on the high ground above the town, in honour of Napoleon I., on occasion of the projected invasion of England, for which he here made great pre parations. The pillar, which is of the Doric order, 166 feet high, is surmounted by a statue of the emperor by Bosio. Though commenced in 1804, the monument was not completed till 1841. On the edge of the cliff to the east of the port are some rude brick remains of an old building called Tour d Ordre, said to be the ruins of a tower built by Caligula at the time of his intended inva sion of Britain. The entrance to the harbour of Boulogne, which is tidal, is formed by two long piers running out from the mouth of the river, and serving during fine weather as excellent promenades. On the western side is the basin excavated by Napoleon for his flotilla of flat-bottomed boats in 1804. A large wet dock, con structed at a cost of upwards of 250,000, was opened in 1872, and adds greatly to the facilities of the port, its area being 17 acres and the length of its quay- wall 1150 yards. The depth of water in the harbour is 23 feet at spring-tide and nearly 20 at neap-tide ; in the sluice of the floating basin the numbers are 29 and 23| respectively. The foreign commerce of Boulogne, which is almost wholly carried on in British ships, consists chiefly in the importa tion of manufactured goods, jute, silk, Australian wool, coal, machinery, hardwares, paper-hangings, malt, beer, and chemicals; and the exportation of wine, brandy, eggs, artificial flowers, haberdashery, and musical instruments. The total value of the exports in 1871 was 12,709,675, and of the imports 11,762,500. How rapid the develop ment of the commerce with Britain has been may be seen from the fact, that while in 1840 the British sailing vessels thus engaged amounted only to 66, and the steam-ships to 678, in 1860 the corresponding numbers were 341 and 863, and in 1871, 541 and 1061. In the extent and value of its fisheries Boulogne is exceeded by no seaport in France. The most important branch is the herring-fishery, which is prosecuted northwards along the shores of Scot land ; next in value is the mackerel fishery, and next again the Iceland cod. Large quantities of fresh fish are trans mitted to Paris by railway, but an abundant supply is reserved to the town itself. The fishermen live for tlie most part in a separate quarter called La Beuriere. Among the numerous industrial establishments in Boulogne and its environs may be mentioned several foundries, with blast furnaces, cement-manufactories, flax-mills, steam saw-mills, steel-pen manufactories, carriage-works, tile-works, and a fishing-net factory. Shipbuilding is also carried on to some extent. The population of the town, which in 1821 was 16,607, amounted by the census of 1872 to 39,700.

Boulogne is usually, though on somewhat dubious grounds, identified with the Gesoriacum of the Romans. At an early period it began to be known as Bononia, a name which has been gradually modified into the present form. The town was destroyed by the Normans in 882, but restored about 912. From about that time till 1477 it was the head of a separate countship, which was united to the crown of France by Louis XL, who ingeniously recognized the Holy Virgin as the superior, and declared himself her vassal. In 1544 Henry VIII. more fortunate in this than Henry III. had been in 1347 took the town by siege ; but it was restored to France in the following reign.