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John Cockerill Monument in Seraing

John Cockerill Monument in Seraing

An Ode to John Cockerill

John Cockerill (and the rest of his family) propelled Belgium, the Netherlands, Prussia and France into the era of the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century. A few decades after Cockerill's death, a monument honoring the 'father of the workers' was unveiled in the streets of Seraing.

In Seraing his statue stands pontifically in front of the (former) town hall. Together with his brother Charles James, John Cockerill bought the Prince-Bishop's Palace in Seraing in early 1817 with the aim of building steam engines. After a few years, he erected the first blast furnace, and Seraing became a giant iron factory that lasted until the beginning of this century.

The statue in honor of John Cockerill was unveiled 31 years after his death, in 1871. The statue shows a pensive Cockerill with an anvil and gear behind him.

Designer Armand Cattier parked four cast iron workers at the foot of its pedestal. His coat of arms with the five roosters and his motto, 'Courage to the Last,' are also included.


John Cockerill's body has been buried in front of the monument in Seraing since 1947. The cemetery of Glacière, where he was buried for eighty years, was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, causing the graveyard to be evacuated.

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