De Stoop

Flax weav­ing mill De Stoop was found­ed by Camille De Stoop (18451923), who, like his father, was active in the trade and pro­cess­ing of flax. In 1886 – 1888 he switched to large-scale pro­duc­tion with the con­struc­tion and com­mis­sion­ing of the first mechan­i­cal weav­ing mill in Kortrijk locat­ed on the Minister Liebaertlaan.

In 1888, a dye­ing plant and a bleach­ing plant also came into oper­a­tion. Shortly there­after, he had the direc­tor’s res­i­dence built in the for­mer Gentsestraat 11 which, like the flax weav­ing mill, is pro­tect­ed as a mon­u­ment (see rear of man­sion on the left when enter­ing the site). The office build­ing of 1927, designed by the broth­ers J. and A. Moumal (Kortrijk), was erect­ed in neo-Flemish Renaissance style with some typ­i­cal art deco ele­ments. Also worth a detour is the De Stoop cot­ton mill that was built in Manchester style at Spinnerijkaai 43 – 45 a short kilo­me­ter from here. The flax weav­ing mill con­sists of a three-sto­ry admin­is­tra­tive sec­tion with an adja­cent ware­house with shed roof. The admin­is­tra­tive part has a square ground plan with a recep­tion area, san­i­tary facil­i­ties and offices in front. The base­ment has a ceil­ing of brick trough vaults and a floor of Tournai lime­stone tiles. The weav­ing work­shop of 20 bays has a trape­zoidal ground plan and is 1,950m². Each bay is equipped with a saw roof with north-fac­ing sky­light. The long side of the saw roof has a cov­er­ing of red Pottelberg tiles of Kortrijk man­u­fac­ture. The sup­port­ing struc­ture con­sists of cast-iron columns on which rest bolt­ed gird­ers anchored to the exte­ri­or para­pet. The floor of the weav­ing work­shop is par­tial­ly exe­cut­ed in Tournai lime­stone tiles and baked tiles. The remains of the elec­tri­cal instal­la­tion were pre­served and are vis­i­ble to the public.

After World War II, due in part to the cri­sis in the flax indus­try, busi­ness activ­i­ty declined steadi­ly. The com­pa­ny changed hands a few times hands and was final­ly closed down. The build­ing stood vacant for more than 25 years start­ing in the late 1960s. Liebaert Projects, under the direc­tion of its founder the late Gery Van Tendeloo, Liebaert Projects bought part of the build­ing in 1999 with the goal of turn­ing it into an art hall where reg­u­lar exhi­bi­tions and projects are orga­nized. Liebaert Projects is fur­ther com­mit­ted to the preser­va­tion and restora­tion of this indus­tri­al heritage.