Rather than following the signposts to Le Grand Hornu we followed our own, map-established route, and therefore drove through Jemappes and Quaregnon. This is Le Centre, the heart of the┬áBorinage. The slag heaps may have trees and shrubs growing on them now, but there are still plenty of relics of the great mining industry that once provided the economic lifeblood of this region. Indeed, the mixture of modest miners’ cottages and industrial architecture surrounded by green fields reminded me powerfully of the similar mixture still to be found in the Welsh valleys. High unemployment is another blight both regions have had to face. We stopped in Quaregnon to admire the extraordinary First World War monument (photo credit Jean-Pol Grandmont) and, curiosity piqued, I then looked up this town on the internet and discovered that at Easter 1894 the Charter of Quaregnon , the basic doctrinal text for Belgian Socialists, was signed here. Says Wiki, “The Charter of Quaregnon survived time and two World Wars. Only after 1979, when the Belgian Socialist Party (BSP) fell apart in a Flemish SP and a Walloon PS, newer Charters were created.” So now I know.