Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
The more I read the more interesting this place becomes. Above you can see the 1909 strike by the wool workers. A pivotal moment in history as it led to the workers gaining collective bargaining rights, a representative at each mill, and paid vacations! That’s how recent worker’s rights are. 100 years ago they were fighting for something as basic as a paid holiday.
Up until that point the rate of inequality in Europe was shocking. Unrecognisable to most of us today. Exploitation was commonplace. And wealth, well, where it existed it was of extraordinary proportions. Take for example the residence of Mazamet’s most prominent family in the 19th century.
It’s divided into hotel/restaurant/business school/chamber of commerce/reception hall- but in the 19th century it was a family home! Albeit a family home with a ballroom, but still, a family home. Imagine how it must have felt to see that level of luxury while living just one step above poverty, working in a mill separating wet wool from leather.