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Sanitary Underwear Company

Sanitary Underwear Company

Traces of the textile industry in Zottegem

Over the course of the twentieth century, the Sanitary Underwear Company emerged as the second-largest textile factory in Zottegem, East Flanders.

In the complex on the former Fabrieksstraat, underwear was produced almost exclusively for England and the British Commonwealth, hence the English name given to the factory. Sanitary emerged from the Second World War unscathed and flourished from the 1940s to the 1960s. In its heyday, it employed five hundred workers, almost all women. Production was stopped in 1992.

Concrete pioneer

What was remarkable about the central building itself was that when it was built in 1909, it was one of the first concrete constructions in our country. The concrete skeleton structure was filled with bricks, while the flat roofs were bordered with concrete barriers.

A square water reservoir was built in a corner of the building. An octagonal factory chimney rose from the ground next to the building.

The chimney consisted of prefab concrete bricks cemented together, but the chimney soon proved to be anything but stable. The chimney was then shortened by thirteen meters, tension rings were installed to keep everything in line.

Administrative center

Only the main building, the chimney and the boiler house were preserved. Since 2008, this former underwear factory has been renovated almost from top to bottom. The town's administrative center has been in use since June 1, 2015, nearly 20 years after the Zottegem municipal council approved the plans to renovate the old factory.

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