The discovery of coal
The town's real destiny was fixed when coal was discovered at Oignies in 1841. Drilling was then begun in 1849 in Annay, Courrières and Loos-en-Gohelle. This discovery was to have significant repercussions giving rise to the houiller basin in the Pas-de-Calais of which Lens rapidly became the capital. The Lens Mining Company, created in 1852, experienced considerable growth. With the mine, the population of the town grew significantly. The landscape changed: headframes were erected surrounded by big towns.