The State Sector: A/ The Arsenals




The remnants of a “new town” and its historical significance:
The Porte du Soileil, a protected part of  the « arsenal »  in Rochefort (Poitou-Charente), dates back to the second quarter of the 19th century. It is situated at the place de la Galissonnière.(1)
Another important “witness” of the old arsenal is its  vast ropery or “corderie.” It was destroyed in the Second World War and has been reconstructed. Its sheer size and architectural unity leaves a strong impression of the importance attached by the Absolutist State to the “navy dockyards” and concomitant  production facilities.(2)This was typically the case in several strategically important French harbor towns serving as bases for the (then, Royal) navy, in the 17th and 18th century (and in some cases, even far into the 19th, 20th, and 21st century).

Rochefort is a specially noteworthy example, underscoring by its very presence the need to produce workers’ accommodation  when establishing major new works of  modern, “industrial” dimensions. The town is in fact a “new town,” founded on royal orders, apparently in order to house the work force of the new “arsenal.”(3)  Is it therefore a true  “factory town” of the military-industrial complex? So to speak, a forerunner,  comparable in this to Los Alamos NM  or to ”secret” Siberian towns not even mapped on ordinary maps, in the 20th century?

According to one source, up to 5,000 workers toiled in the shipyards and related ateliers of this royal navy arsenal during the ancien régime. The need to provide accommodation for them must have been overwhelming. (4)

The selection of the site:

Today, the town of Rochefort covers most of the terrains bordered by the U-shaped course of the 
Charente river shown on the map below. Many of these lands were still covered by forests in the 17th century. Close to the river bank, marsh lands ('marais') were not infrequent.

The site of the future town, to be founded on the initiative of Colbert as a an appendix of the newly envisaged navy yards and ateliers (the 'arsenal'), was a place almost laid waste 40 years ago when the 'old château' had been razed, very probably in the context of armed intervention against the Fronde rebellion. Does this explain why expropriation for the arsenal and the new town was so much easier than in bourgeois Le Havre?

  The site of the old center of Rochefort is roghly indicated (in red). 

The area selected and its seigneuries in the 17th and 18thC

The beginnings of Rochefort date back to 1666.
“In 1666, on orders of Louis XIV and due to the initiative of Colbert, the arsenal des côtes du Ponant [was] ‘implanted’ at Rochefort: the arsenal and the town originated at the same time. As naval base, as location of an arsenal, and as ville royal [royal town; königliche Stadt], Rochefort organized itself according to the model of an urbanisme classique.”(5)

The selection of the Rochefort site as a naval base was undoubtedly influenced by the relative protection against Atlantic storms offered by the Ile d’Oléron.  In this regard, it was clearly more favorably situated then the already existing port city of La Rochelle, a little further North.(6)  Another, perhaps even more important reason is that Rochefort was situated a little upstream, on the banks of the Charente river; attainable by the sea going vessels of the period but at the same time well protected, strategically, as the mouth of the river was “easily defendable thanks to the isles”  which left only narrow and controllable shipping channels.(7) 

What the planners or the new town of Rochefort find in place at the time, is above all  a château (razed already, as we noted), a near-by 'quai' (probably no more than a suitable place at the riverside, used to ship agricultural commodities from nearby villages),  and a few surrounding hamlets. A few tracks across the field, lines of communication in bad condition, provided access to the site.  «Finally, towards  the north [of the site of the future town], there was a vast forest which extended up to the banks of the [Charente] river. In short, a small seigneurie “which it would be easy to expropriate in order to create the large arsenal desired by Louis XIV”[…].»(8)

---> North

The expropriated site 
(the site of the arsenal to the South, the site of the Corderie further North; 
both are of course situated next to the river)


Site of the arsenal (plan of 1666), 
with subsequent identication of the location of the new château (1)

The arsenal as an ensemble of production facilities:

When the construction of the naval base and its town was begun in 1666, it was the Corderie royale the completion of which was seen as the first and foremost task.


Site of the planned  Corderie royale (begun in 1666), as shown on the plan of 1666 
(The already razed old (3) and the new château (1) have subsequently been indicated on the plan.)

The Corderie royale (the elongated building to the left)  on an undated plan (17th C)

 View of the Corderie royale

The reconstructed Corderie royale (**)

Another view of the Corderie (**)

Other arsenal buildings, making up the 'arsenal proper,' soon followed suit. Surrounded by a canal or ditch, they too were situated by the river, but quite a bit South of the Corderie.

In the period from 1666 to 1672 the main buildings of the arsenal (lined up, as the were, along the banks of the Charente river) were completed.


The arsenal (indicated by the dotted line) as shown on the plan of 1672; the blocks next to the 
arsenal that were foreseen by the grid pattern of the new town are still left without  buildings. 
The new château (1) has been subsequently indicated on the plan.

                                             W                                                     NW

The arsenal in 1688 : entry from the town was possible via the main street leading up to a bridge 
crossing the canalized brook  to the East of it; the powder magazine can be seen next to its 
Northwestern edge; the planned blocks of the [proletarian? - or bourgeois ?]  town nearly touch it.

The site of the arsenal (excerpt  from a 17th C plan )

The ateliers of the arsenal 

16 years later, the commander of the French Atlantic Fleet (called intendant of the Ponant, as against Levant fleet), described the Rochefort arsenal as

“the largest, the most complete and the most impressive in the Kingdom: it has the best shipbuilding yard in the world, three large docks for careening ships, all the general and special warehousing required, rope works, forges, and other workshops. It has one of the best armouries in the kingdom. […] There are three powder magazines for storing the gunpowder from the factory in Saint-Jean-d’Angély which makes gunpowder only for Rochefort.” (9)

We have already seen that the first and most impressive building (both in terms of beauty and size) of the arsenal was the royal roperie (Corderie royale). It was not only produced by an astonishing number of workers (3,000 workers, set to work simultaneously to erect the colossal building); upon completion,  it must also have employed a considerable number of rope-makers, in all likelihood a majority of women and children. Perhaps these employees of the ropeworks were in part coming to work from nearby hamlets, and in part they may have been the  wives and children of workers employed at the arsenal proper (further South). 

There, a host of  naval yard workers  (shipwrights or carpenters; Schiffszimmerleute), of blacksmiths and other iron workers, of coopers (tonneliers; Böttcher) etc. must be expected. 

As long as they were not hailing from the hamlets nearby, all of these people, whether single or married, had to be housed. And at  least in part of them, as we shall see – were initially living in  huts and later on  'houses' ('maisons')  that had sprung up next to the arsenal. Quite close to it, it seems. But exactly where?

We  don’t see any separate and distinct workers' dwellings on plans showing the southern and western fringe of the arsenal. That might be explainable by the fact that mere huts, provisionally erected next to the construction site, would not figure on any 'respectable' plan.  Nor do we notice any dwellings on the premises of the arsenal itself.

As for the suggested ties with the countryside, if they encompassed  at all a reliance on a rural work force on the part of  the Corderie, they certainly went farther than that:
In the 16th, 17th, and 18th century, flax was an agricultural cash crop in several coastal provinces of France (as well as in Flanders). It must have been grown in the Charente region, as well, and it provided the basic raw material for the ropes produced in the  vast “corderie.”(10)

But let's turn back to the arsenal proper and its functional set-up.
Produced since 1666, it is “since 1772 [six years later!] that the major ‘ateliers’ and ‘magasins’ line the riverside of the Charente.”(11)
Apart from the corderie (ropery) which is situated outside the arsenal proper (an area surrounded by the Charente and a ditch or 'canal'), a report notes other vital elements, for instance  the “halle aux vivres” where presumably salted fish was produced for the royal navy.  More importantly (and historically confirmed), it was the production of “[sailors’] rusk” (Schiffszwieback)  that took place here. This product was produced from three ingredients only, water, wheat flour, and salt.(12) Associated as well with this “magasin aux vivres”, as it is also called, were a ‘boulangerie’, ‘les abbattoirs’ (stockyards; slaughterhouses), and – last not least – a ‘tonnelerie’ where barrels for salted fish, salted meat, wine, drinking water carried by sea-going vessels, etc., were produced.(13)

Strategically speaking, it was of course the wharfs with the vessels under construction that constituted the most valuable center piece of the arsenal.(14) The extended forests near-by were of utmost importance for ship-building purposes. It was only the hard core of trees that was used in ship building while the soft outer parts were pealed and cut off. 
The number of shipwrights (carpenters with naval expertise) employed must have been considerable.
In addition,  ironworkers toiled at the anchor forges and the canon foundry [“une fonderie pour les canons” (15)]; some were also employed as nail-makers, etc. 

As for social facilities, the arsenal at some time included a [navy] hospital
as well as a library open to officers of the royal navy.(16)

The economic importance of the arsenal as a naval base serving purposes of construction, maintenance and provisioning made it (and the adjacent town) a commercial and productive center in many respects. Its importance for the  regional economy cannot be underrated. “Constructing, arming and provisioning large fleets required an ever increasing amount of supplies. These supplies were sent to the new town of Rochefort from all over France and from abroad. To build just one 74 gun ship needed 4,000 oak trees, 11,124 aunes of canvas for the sales and 1,480 aunes of cloth for the flags, the bunting and the pennants.” (17)

It was the surrounding region that provided an abundance of “wood needed for building the ships.”(18)  The ability of the Charente-Maritime to produce sufficient supplies of “wheat, meat and wine” for the fleet, to be stocked in the arsenal warehouses, had been another “important factor in the choice of the site for the Arsenal.” (19) Wine merchants, livestock dealers, grain merchants and other traders (most notably, arms traders supplying the musquets ('fusils')  obtainable from proto-industrial gun-makers) almost certainly  had settled down  in Rochefort. They were important as middlemen. The former were selling to the royal navy’s procurement officers the items bought up in the countryside while the latter concluded contracts for arms shipments with the intendant of the Navy.(20) As they waxed rich, the new town of Rochefort began to prosper. 

The new town:

As we have seen, a precondition of the town had been an expropriatory act.

Expropriated area of town, corderie and arsenal (17th C)

It was the expropriation that provided the legal (property-related) basis for "comprehensive" town-planning. In other words, it made possible the assertion of a unique or unified planning authority, under the leadership of Colbert's cousin, Colbert du Terron.

Having 'inherited' (in social terms) a vision of what was a royal city,  this planning authority, thanks to the ownership of the terrains acquired in this neglected area of forests and swamps (marais), was able and in fact likely at the time, to push for a rational grid-pattern.

Thus, the  new town envisaged was conceived from the very beginning as laid out in what can only be described as a classical (or rather classicist) manner, that is to say, in conformity with the fashion of the day, both in France and in countries influenced by French urbanism. (21)

layout, undated (17th C)

Rochefort: the grid today

But perhaps this was not tantamount to an overall realization of splendor or at least decent classical architecture, as in the case of the representative royal  ‘corderie.’  On the contrary, the beginnings of the new town of Rochefort may have been more than modest. In fact, we must assume a clear differentiation between royal building activity (the corderie, the arsenal generally) which tended to be costly and representative, and private building activity (no matter how much public, that is to say, ‘royal’ planning favored representative layouts of the sections of  ‘royal towns’  to be inhabited by ‘commoners’).(22) 

So, if  the beginnings, in terms of the execution and outward appearance of new private buildings may have been rather humble, is it true that Rochefort was initially a town of workers, a ville ouvrière?

This is suggested by a  small article that claims:
“there was work to be found here and thus workers came. They were given a parcel of land [un lopin de terre] and [the] wood [necessary] to  build their house.”(23)

In fact, the documents seem to give credit to this interpretation. And still it is a doubtful or at least, only a  partial characterization.

Whereas it is correct that workers came from near and far and that they were given a piece of land and the wood needed to built the small wooden houses typically inhabited by the subaltern classes (not only in the countryside) during the 17th century, apparently some if not a in fact large quantity of these parcels for their small ‘maisons’ or ‘cabanes’ were marginalized, either in or outside the new, geometrical lay-out of the walled new town.

In other words, they were - from the very beginning - not conceived as a stable and integral part of the ville nouvelle.

We must rather conclude that there existed some sort of continuity between the provisional camp or settlement providing accommodation for 3,000 construction workers employed at the Corderie and the arsenal for at least 7 years (and living, as is logical, next to the construction site), and a later settlement housing at least part of the work force of the arsenal once the arsenal itself  was operational as a navy shipyard with related ateliers.(24)

This confirmed workers’ settlement, as far as we can see,  has yet to be identified on the historical plans showing the arsenal and the new town.(25) It was, in all likelihood,  modest, and  too simple to be proud of. Whether it housed most or only a part of Rochefort's large work force, is also an open question.

But that it existed next to the arsenal is proved by the fact that the arsenal workers housed close to the arsenal later on sold their houses to royal officers, and moved on to the faubourg immediately West of Rochefort that was springing up alongside exit roads, that is to say, along overland routes and tracks across the field leading out of town.(26) 

Apparently, we must assume a correlation between the speculative production of new parcels (Bauparzellen) on these roads to the West of the ramparts and the desire of workers originally settled in houses near the arsenal to switch from an impromptu workers’ settlement to the new faubourg.(27)

Whether they made a profit in selling their old houses and building new ones on the lots acquired in the faubourg, can only be guessed.
As many of them were shipwrights, that is carpenters with a lot of expertise, the task of building  (wooden) houses in the new suburb cannot have posed an insurmountable problem, especially when these workers could rely on mutual help.

However, regardless of the profitability of the deal, and regardless of the ease or difficulty of building new homes, the question we must ask is, "why did these workers leave a location so comfortably close to their place of work?"
Was it because the old location was deemed unhealthy?
Was it because the officiers du roi had the social weight necessary to make them sell?

As indicated already above, another question to be answered  is what share or percentage of the early industrial work force both of the arsenal and the Corderie royale may have been put up in the marginal settlement existing very early on quite close to the arsenal?
Was it only a fraction of that labor force - that is to say, those workers who needed to be especially close to their work place (the 'forgerons' or blacksmiths, for instance)?
And if certain requirements  of the work compelled these workers to be close to their work place, why could they leave later on?

The marginality of the site of the workers' houses and the fact that later on, their inhabitants moved to another 'marginal site' (the Western faubourg) prompts another question:
Was there something of an an enduring tendency to keep [certain?] workers from becoming proprietors in the new town?
And if so, was that  a result of their comparatively low prestige?
Or were land prices simply too high in the town?

However this may be, we can say one thing for sure: if  Rochefort itself (the well-protected, carefully laid out new town) in the beginning took up arsenal workers, it was perhaps only the cream of the crop, the more respected and well-paid ones. Quite a few workers seem to have settled at the fringe of the arsenal, in or near the town but seemingly outside the area of the  town's carefully laid-out grid pattern.

Others may have found accommodation in nearby agricultural hamlets. Or they even hailed from there and returned to their inherited ‘cabanes’ after work.

As indicated above, the town must have exerted from the very beginnings a pull-effect on tradesmen, merchants, and specialized artisans with an urban vocation, that is to say, the typical mélange of strata that inhabited small commercial towns, small port cities. 
It is this social mix that explains why embellishments, “assainements,” and thus, generally speaking, town improvement that were undertaken a few decades later had a realistic chance of being pursued.
It is also why the well-known antithesis of ‘bourgeois’ town and ‘proletarian’ faubourg could soon be discovered in the Rochefort context,  once the arsenal’s work force or part of it  had moved from its old, original workers’ settlement next to their work place to the roads leading out of town in a westerly direction: a decision that was lending life and dynamism to the faubourg that was now developing (Vorstadt-Entwicklung).


(1) Cf. Ministère de Culture (Paris), Mérimée database, notice number PA00104861

(2) In the context of the  construction of the naval base,  « [l]a Coderie Royale [était] le premier bâtiment que l’on  a construit à l’arsenal. » The representative aspect was as important as the functional one : « Comme le roi voulait un bel arsenal et qu’il y avait de l’argent, c’est le plus beau et les plus impressionnant. Elle mesure trois cents mètres de long. » The technical difficulties implies in building a heavy and voluminous building on unstable sands by the riverside demanded considerable constructive ingenuity. It also entailed the simultaneous employment of 3,000 workers in the course of its construction. (N.N., « La corderie royale », in : – Such large work forces were not infrequently employed in the course of ancien régime travaux publics (public works projects). Similar masses of workers characterized the creation of Versailles, of various canal projects, of the hydraulic works in Marly, etc. The workers were usually compelled to dwell in provisional “huts” (cabanes) or “barracks,”  rather than solid houses. Their presence was a temporary one, and in the long run,  the town of  Rochefort built by them certainly was not for them.

(3) It was not only in France that the State played an important role in early industrialization. The same is true of much of Central Europe,, though  obviously to a lesser extent because of the belated and less vigorous beginnings of  industrialization. See, with reference to neighboring Baden (which was especially exposed to French influence): Wolfram FISCHER, "Ansätze zur Industrialisierung in Baden 1770-1870", in: Vierteljahrsschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte [Wiesbaden], Vol. 47, 1960, pp.186-231; see also: Wolfram FISCHER, Der Staat und die Anfänge der Industrialisierung in Baden, 1800-1850. Berlin 1962. - During the 20th century, the economic success of Japan as well as the so-called "tiger economies" (South Korea and Taiwan [so-called Republic of China]) up to the late 1970s was not possible without a strong role of the State pursuing a carefully 'planned' industrial policy while relying - especially in the case of the two late-comers -  on a strong state-owned sector, on subsidies, 'cronyism', selective protectionism,  'arbitrarily' set, fixed  exchange rates plus currency exchange controls, and  partly  regulated markets. Of course all this was condoned by U.S. hegemonism because a 'showcase' was needed vis à vis the P.R. China.and N. Korea - two countries also set to industrialize quickly, but without relying on a mix of private ownership and State ownership

(4) "Fünftausend Männer schufteten einst [...] in den Rüstungsbetrieben von Rochefort, um die Flotten [...] des Sonnenkönigs Ludwig XIV. zu bauen."  VESER departs from the assumption that they were housed in the town itself:: "Ihre Familien lebten in einer streng nach Plan errichteten Stadt [...]" (Thomas VESER, "Das Schiff der Geister der Geschichte", in: FAZ, 11. Sept. 2003,  p. R 7

(5)  Florence DUBOIS / Gaëlle GRIS, « Rochefort », in :
This same classical desire to achieve order and harmony, usually by relying on a more or less strict grid pattern, characterized the fortress towns designed by Vauban, colonial towns in the French colonies (especially in the Carribean and Canada), and it also characterized commercial or (proto-)industrial ‘new towns,’ from Neuville-sur-l’Escaut in the North to Villeneuvette in the South. (With regard to the fortress town character of Rochefort, cf. Vauban et ses successeurs en Charente-Maritime, ed. by the Association Vauban, Paris 1997; with regard to the new towns in North America, cf. Laurent VIDAL / Emilie d'ORGEIX (soos la dir.), Les villes françaises du Nouveau Monde: des premiers fondateurs aus ingénieursdu roi, CVIe-XVIIIe siècles, Paris [etc.] 1999)
It is Villeneuvette which appears to be most obviously comparable to Rochefort: (a) because of its similarity with respect to the period of origin, (b) in view of the role played by Colbert, and (c) if we consider the fact that it  was founded both as a manufactory and in order to provide accommodation for the work-force of the attached “industrial” facilities.

(6) If La Rochelle was  not chosen as the site of the major West Coast naval base with its arsenal, its Protestant heritage may have weighed heavily against it, too. La Rochelle was subject to a siege by Mazarin at least twice, and the second time was betrayed by Britain's Catholic king while parliament had voted for funds to support it. It suffered terribly; many inhabitants died of starvation.  As a commercial center and sea port it declined after the emigration of its Huguenots.

(7) “Cet endroit fut choisi du temps de Louis XIV pour installer un arsenal maritimer. Il se trouve sur le bord de la Charente qui est remontée par le marée, et l’embouchure du fleuve est facilement défendable grâce aux îles qui la protègent. »  ( N.N., “L’arsenal de Rochefort”, in:  –   A similar strategic location characterized the royal forges of Basse-Indre, on the Northern banks of the Loire (a little West of Nantes) in the 18th century. 

(8) Maxime LONLAS, « L’évolution de la ville d’un point de vue architectural”, in:
– The forest mattered for the wharfs.  It would of course  also be an important asset for an arsenal operating noteworthy forges, as the latter (apart from iron ore)  depended especially on charcoal. 

(9) Michel BÉGON, Intendant of the Ponant Fleet in Rochefort (1688), quoted by: 
N.N., “The maritime heritage of the Rochefort region: Shipbuilding in Charente-Maritime”, in:…

(10)  Émilie SÉCHAUD (sous la direction de Henri DE SCHEEMAEKER), Le chanvre: plante textile de la Corderie royale de Rochefort. [thèse, Université de Poitiers], n.p. 2004 (76 leaves)

(11) Julie-Kate [….?….] and Anthony [….?….], in:

(12) N.N., “L’arsenal de Rochefort”, in : http://ecole.florian.chez ,

(13) Julie-Kate [….?….] and Anthony [….?….], in:

(14) As was typically at the time, the vessels were not produced in floodable drydocks but on makeshifts “docks” (chantiers) on the slanted embankments of the Charente river. Once the hull had been completed, they would slowly be made to glide into the waters of the river.
Shipbuilding, as a matter of fact, “played an important role in the history of Charente-Maritime” in the past. “The major part  [not only] of the [regional, but of West Coast] shipbuilding activity was concentrated in Rochefort […] from the middle of the 17th century.” (N.N., “The maritime heritage of the Rochefort region: Shipbuilding in Charente-Maritime”, in:…) 
It is Peter FREUCHEN  who notes that during the 17th century, French shipbuilding technology surpassed that of the Dutch, the best shipbuilders in the preceding period. In the 18th century, the French were in turn overtaken by the British.  Rochefort ship-building by the end of the 18th century was still remarkable. “By 1780, the Naval shipyard was building ships up to 900 to 1,ooo register tons.”  (N.N., “The maritime heritage of the Rochefort region: Shipbuilding in Charente-Maritime”, in:…) 
Cf. also the relevant paragraphs in: René MÉMAIN, La marine de guerre sous Louis XIV, le matériel, Rochefort arsenal modèle de Colbert. Poitiers - Paris 1937

(15) Julie-Kate [….?….] and Anthony [….?….], in:

(16) N.N., “L’arsenal de Rochefort”, in : http://ecole.florian.chez ,

(17) The examples of Versailles in the Ile-de-France (France) as well as Mannheim in Baden (Germany) bear out this hypothesis. Even if the absolutist king, count or duke favored house models that were stressing the representative character of a residence, a “ville royale” or a capital, compromise could be necessary: The government would not subsidize private buildings (or at least not substantially) and private builders might not be able to afford grand designs and the beautiful and expensive execution of buildings. 

(18)   N.N., “The maritime heritage of the Rochefort region: Shipbuilding in Charente-Maritime”, in:…

(19) Ibidem

(20) The fortune of several of these gun-makers probably declined when the government decided to push for modern manufactories during the 18th century, notably in Tulle, Saint-Etienne, and Châtellerault. A few wealthy arms traders were awarded the privilege to run these new 'royal manufactories', royal because of the partial monopoly awarded them for a certain periods of time. 

(21)The model was borrowed from antiquity. It resurfaced in colonial towns planned by Western powers, in "military" and "residential" towns and also in this supposed "ville ouvrière" which was in fact a "royal town", the commercial and administrative support of a naval base with large and important supply and production facilities. Workers' housing, we suspect, was marginalized, despite the large numbers of workers that had to be housed.

(22) Ibidem

(23) ibidem, p. 1 of 2. –  We know that  the (much smaller)  Colbert-inspired ‘new town’ of Villeneuvette in Southern France (Lodève?/ Gard?) was more or less built “in one piece.” Stone-buildings rising to the height of more than one storey and showing a certain    architectural unity were constructed, in this case. – As far as the initial  Rochefort strategy of handing wood and a piece of land to newcomers is concerned, this proved to be rather cheap indeed. With the forest extending practically up the river bank, wood was plentiful. The lands parcelled were not valuable agriculturally and their expropriation had not been much of a problem. Many blocks of the grid pattern remained empty in the ealy years. Representive buildings carried out in stone apparently were few; the most important being the Corderie. Workers houses, to the extent that they were produce, remained makeshift at first. It is likely that many of these wooden structures disappeared later on (especially when placed in an unplanned manner next to the grid-patterned terrains). Or they were simply replaced by stone buildings (in the context of the grid pattern).–  It must be mentioned that the initial strategy of housing  "working class" newcomers pursued in Rochefort could also be observed in Eupen (a small textile town situated by the banks of the Vesdre [Weser] river, in the Western foothills of the Hohe Venn mountains) during the 17th  and/or early 18th century. Skilled workers wooed to this proto-industrial small town were given a piece of land and wood (bois; Holz). Apparently, this was a widespread procedure in these days when absolutist princes or kings, sometimes also individual entrepreneurs, recruited skilled workers from far away and somehow their housing needs had to be met (if possible at little cost to the government or private employer).

(24) It thus seems to be a mistaken notion that all or most of the arsenal workers were truly integrated into the new town.

(25)  We have access to a number of plans and will try to determine the likely location of the early workers' house "next to the arsenal" (à proximité de l'arsenal)  in a  more detailed discussion of plans in a separate chapter.
The plans to be scrutinized are above all those  representing the situation in 1666 and 1672, 1677 and 1724.  Do we find on any of them an indication of workers’ houses  next to the arsenal? This will be a central question...

(26) If we know for certain that a certain number arsenal workers lived in a settlement just outside the arsenal, this is so because quite a few of them later sold their maisons to officers of the navy, officiers du roi.
It is Maxime Lonlas who informs us that with the “appearance of the faubourgs”, the relocation of workers hitherto housed « à proximité de l’Arsenal » set in:   now,  « les ouvriers vendent leur maisons aux officiers du Roi pour aller s’établier dans le faubourg don’t les rues doivent être perpendiculaires au remparts. » (Maxime LONLAS, « L’évolution de la ville d’un point de vue architectural”, in: -  But why, we may ask, did the faubourgs come into being if not because the workers housed next to the arsenal had an economic incentive to move ?

(27) As far as the lay-out of the roads in the faubourg is concerned, their direction – not parallel to the ramparts – was dictated by military considerations but even more so by the fact that no new roads were constructed; rather the old tracks across the field and overland routes leading out of town were utilized.

(*) Literature on Rochefort:

Martine ACERRA / Guy MARTINIÈRE (eds.), Coligny, les Protestants et la mer. Actes du colloque organisé à Rochefort et La Rochelle les 3 et 4 octobre 1996. 
Paris (Presses de l'univ. de Paris-Sorbonne) 1997 (277pp.)

Martine ACERRA, Rochefort et la construction navale française: 1661-1815. T. 1-4
Paris (Librairie de l'Inde) 1993 (3 vols.:  234pp;  pp. 236-509; pp-512-727; pp.729-930)

Robert ALLARY, Histoire des rues de ma ville: Rochefort (Charente-Maritime), 
Rochefort (Imprimerie Boismoreau) 1977 (219pp.)

Robert ALLARY, Rochefort en cartes postales anciennes. 
Zaltbommel (Bibliothèque européenne) 1974 (80pp.)

A.R.C.E.F. (ed.),  Les anciens noms de rues de Rochefort. 
Rochefort (A.R.C..E.F.; Société de Géographie de Rochefort) 1995

A.R.C.E.F. (ed.), Une Rue de ville maritime au XIXe siècle, la rue des fonderies à Rochefort.
Rochefort (A.R.C.E.F.) 1995 (107pp.)

ARCHIVES DE LA MARINE [FRANCE]/Quatrième arrondissement maritime (ed.),. Répertoire numérique des Archives de l'Arrondissement de Rochefort. 
Paris (Société d'éditions géographiques, maritimes et coloniales) 1925 (10pp.)

ASSOCIATION VAUBAN (ed.), Vauban et ses successeurs en Charente-Maritime. 
Paris (Assoc. Vauban) 1997 (159pp.)

Edmond BAZIRE, Rochefort. 
Paris (A. Quantin) 1883 (32pp.)

Pierre BITAUBE, Corderie royale de Rochefort, l'histoire retrouvée.
Rochefort (Centre international de la mer) - Paris (Mer) 1985 (35pp.)

de BON et al.,, Les Ports militaires de la France: notices historiques er descriptives. 
Paris (Challamel/A.Bertrand) 1867 (100, 66, 104, 60, 56pp.; maps) [Extracts from the "Revue maritime et coloniale" on Cherbourg (by de BON), on Brest (by EYMIN and DONEAUD); on Lorient (by J. HÉBERT), on Rochefort (by  BOUCHET) and on Toulon (by CALVÉ)]

de BON et al.,, preface by Georges CABANIER, Les Ports militaires de la France: notices historiques er descriptives. Paris (Éditions du Palais royal) 1974  [reprint of 1867 edition] (386pp.; 26 leaves of plates)
[Extracts from the "Revue maritime et coloniale" on Cherbourg (by de BON), on Brest (by EYMIN and DONEAUD); on Lorient (by J. HÉBERT), on Rochefort (by  BOUCHET) and on Toulon (by CALVÉ)]

CENTRE INTERNATIONAL DE LA MER (ed.), Rochefort au fil de la Charente. Exposition du 1er juin au 31 août 1985, la Corderie Royale, Rochefort.
Rochefort (C.I.M.) 1985 (40pp.)

CENTRE DE RECHERCHES SUR L'HISTOIRE DE LA FRANCE ATLANTIQUE (ed.), Enquêtes et documents, 2: Guide des archives du port de Rochefort [...] Une entreprise intégrée au XVIIIe siècle, celle de Jacques Mercier de Lépinay, des Sables d'Olonne[...] Documents sur la traite (XVII-XIXe s.), 
Nantes (C.R.H.F.A.) 1972 (226pp.)

Agnès CLAVERIE, Visiter Rochefort. 
Bordeaux (Éditions Sud-Ouest) 1989 (30pp.)

COMITÉ D’HISTOIRE LOCAL DU CENTRE D’ANIMATION LYRIQUE ET CULTUREL DE ROCHEFORT (ed.),  Rochefort. Trois siècles de images, 1:  De 1666 à Bonaparte. 
Rochefort (C.H.L.C.A.L.C.R.)1983 (418pp.)

COMITÉ D’HISTOIRE LOCAL DU CENTRE D’ANIMATION LYRIQUE  ET CULTUREL DE ROCHEFORT (ed.), Rochefort.  Trois siècles de images, 2:  De Napoléon à nos jours. 
Rochefort (C.H.L.C.A.L.C.R.) 1983 (537pp.)

np., n.d. (2 volumes with identical title)

Louis DELAVAUD, "Le port de Rochefort et les côtes de la Saintonge au XVIIIe siècle, d'après les mémoires inédits de Masse", in: Bulletin de la Société géographique de Rochefort, T. 1880-81, pp.52-116

Louis DELAVAUD, "Rochefort en 1672 et 1673, correspondance de la cour avec les intendants", in: Archives historiques de la Saintonge et d'Aunis, T. X, 1883, pp.247-322

Jean-Michel DEVEAU, La Révolution de 1848 à Rochefort-sur Mer: février 1848-juin 1848.  
La Rochelle (Centre départemental de documentation pédagogique) 1970 (40pp.)

Dominique DROIN, L'histoire de Rochefort. Tome 1: Du XIe siècle à la fin du règne de Louis XV.  Saint-Laurent-de-la-Prée (D. Droin) 2001 (281pp.)

Jacques DUGUET et al., La Révolution française à Rochefort: 1789-1799. 
Poitiers (Projets éditions) 1989 (175pp.)

Maurice DUPONT / Marc FARDET (preface by Etienne TAILLEMITE), L'Arsenal de Colbert, Rochefort.
Rochefort (Centre International de la Mer) 1986 (43pp.)

G.-L. DUPRAT,  Histoire de Rochefort-sur-Mer. 
Paris (Res universis) 1992 (211pp.) [Reprint of "Monographie historique de Rochefort-sur-Mer du Xe siècle à 1908")

G.L. DUPRAT, Monographie historique de Rochefort-sur-Mer du Xe siècle à 1908. 
Paris (H. Jouve) 1909 (228pp.)

Alain DURAND, Les numéros des maisons de Rochefort. 
Rochefort (Association pour la restauration du centre et des faubourgs de Rochefort; Société de Géographie de Rochefort) 1993 (14; XXIIpp.)

Marc FARDET, Guide des archives du port de Rochefort. 
n.p. 1973 (36pp.)

Robert FONTAINE, La Paroisse Notre-Dame de Rochefort au XVIIIe siècle. 
Rochefort (Société de géographie) 1993 (104pp.)

Jean-Louis FROT, La Restauration et la mise en valeur de l'ensemble du patrimoine historique et mobilier de Rochefort. n.p./ n.d. (available at: Médiathèque Michel Crépeau, La Rochelle, France)

Camille GABET (preface by Jacques DUGUET), La Naissance de Rochefort sous Louis XIV: 1666-1715. Une ville nouvelle et ses habitants au Grand siècle. 
Rochefort (Centre d'animation lyrique et culturel de Rochefort) 1985 (267pp.)

Camille GABET, Le Reseau routier de Rochefort de la fin du XVIIe au début du XVIIIe siècle. 
n.p. / n.d.  (available at: Médiathèque Michel Crépeau, La Rochelle, France)

Oscar HAVARD, Histoire de la Révolution dans les ports de guerre, T.II: Brest, Rochefort.  
Paris 1913 (640 pp.)

Monique LE HÉNAFF-JEGOU, Rocherfort-sur-Mer: ville de la marine. Étude démographique 1680-1820. (Thèse, Univ. Bordeaux 3) 
Bordeaux 1988 (5 vols., Vol. 1-3: 666 leaves;  Vol. 4-5 [annexes] 477 leaves)

[Abbé] P. LEMONNIER, Étude historique, Rochefort-sur-Mer (1789-1802), 
La Rochelle 1901 (121pp.)

Amédée LEFÈVRE, Recherches sur la marche et les effets de chólera asiatique à Rochefort pendant les différentes épidémies dont cette ville à été le théâtre en 1832, 1834 et particulièrement en 1849.
Rochefort (Imprimerie de H. Loustau) 1850

Maxime LONLAS / Antoine BOURIT / Baptiste DUFAU (MUSÉES DE ROCHEFORT), « Rochefort-sur-mer », in :

MAIRIE DE ROCHEFORT (ed.),  Diverse internet texts presented by: (site of the Mairie de Rochefort)

Marie-Thérèse de MARTEL, Étude sur le recrutement des matelots et soldats des vaisseaux du roi dans le ressort de l'intendance du port de Rochefort (1691-1697): aspects de la vie des gens de mer. 
Vincennes (Service historique de la Marine) 1982 (XXXVI, 406pp.)

René MÉMAIN, La marine de guerre sous Louis XIV, le matériel, Rochefort arsenal modèle de Colbert. 
Poitiers - Paris 1937 (LXI, 1067 pp.)

René MÉMAIN, Le matériel de la marine de guerre sous Louis XIV [...], 
Paris (Hachette) 1936 (LXI, 1065pp.)

L. MESCHINET de RICHEMOND, Ville de Rochefort:  Archives communales antérieures à 1790, Inventaire sommaire. 
Paris 1877  [Library of Congress CD1217.A2R65]

MINISTÈRE DES TRAVAUX PUBLICS [FRANCE] (ed.), Ports maritimes de la France. Notice complémentaire sur le port de Rochefort. 
Paris (Imprimerie nationale) 1910 (36 pp., with folded plan)

[N.N.], Mélanges historiques publiés à l'occasion du tricentenaire de la fondation de Rochefort. [....], 
Bordeaux (imprimerie Wetterwald frères) 1966 (174pp.)

Erik ORSENNA [photographies de Eddie KULIGOWSKI], Rochefort et la Corderie royale. 
Paris (C.N.M.H.S.) 1995 (79pp.)

Lionel PACAID, Rochefort: son combat pour l'Arsenal. 
Le Crèche (Geste éd.) 1999 (283pp.)

Jean PETER, Le port et l'arsenal de Rochefort sous Louis XIV. 
Paris (Economica) 2002 (198pp.)

Joël PIERRE, Les constructions navales à Rochefort, Brouage, Soubise et Tonnay-Charente. (Préface de Marc FARDET; avant-propos par M. DUPONT,. introd. par M. ACERRA) 
Paris (Le Croît vif) 2003 (206pp.)

Jacques PINARD, Les Bâtiments industriels de l'ancien Arsenal de Rochefort. 
La Rochelle (Fédération des Sociétés savantes de la Charente Maritime) 1979 (19pp.)

Daniel REYNAUD / Mário CLÁUDIO / Nuno JÚDICE et al [textes], Alain CECCAROLI [photographies], préface d' Emmanuel LOPEZ, Rochefort, vues d'ailleurs. 
Marseille (Images en manoeuvre) 1997 (63pp.)

Philippe RONDEAU, "Cahiers des doléances des communautés de Rochefort-sur-Mer en 1789", in: Archives historiques de la Saintonge [...], T. 16, 1888, pp. 340-479

J. SCHELLING, Qu’est ce que la géographie, 
Paris (Hachette) 1992

Émilie SÉCHAUD (sous la direction de Henri DE SCHEEMAEKER), Le chanvre: plante textile de la Corderie royale de Rochefort. [thèse, Université de Poitiers], 
n.p. 2004 (76 leaves)

SOCIÉTÉ DE GÉOGRAPHIE DE ROCHEFORT (ed.), Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Rochefort, années 1879 - 1930;  1929-1931; [...]
[on microfilms, Library of Congress]

SOCIÉTÉ DE GÉOGRAPHIE DE ROCHEFORT (ed.), La Petite Histoire de Rochefort,
n.p. [Rochefort], n.d.

P. THÉODORE de BLOIS, Histoire de Rochefort, contenant l'étblissement de cette ville, de son port et arsenal de marine, et les antiquités de son château. 
Paris - Blois 1733 (XVI, 281pp.)

Pierre Ph. U. THOMAS, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de la ville et du port de Rochefort. 
Rochefort 1828 (296pp.)

UNIVERSITÉ FRANCOPHONE D'ÉTÉ SAINTONGE-QUÉBEC (ed.),  Rochefort et la mer: 1: Technique et politique maritimes aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles: conférences à l'Université francophone d'été Saintonge-Québec. Jonzac (Univ. francophone d'été S.-Q.) 1985 (94pp.)

UNIVERSITÉ FRANCOPHONE D'ÉTÉ SAINTONGE-QUÉBEC (ed.),  Rochefort et la mer: 11: Napoléon et la Mer. 
Jonzac (Univ. francophone d'été S.-Q.) 1994 (102pp.)

UNIVERSITÉ FRANCOPHONE D'ÉTÉ SAINTONGE-QUÉBEC (ed.),  Rochefort et la mer: 14: Marine et protestantisme au XVIIè siècle.   
Jonzac (Univ. francophone d'été S.-Q.) 1998 (80pp.)

Fr. de VAUX DE FOLETIER, "La création de Rochefort", in: Bulletin de la Société géographique de Rochefort, 1926-28, pp.22-51

Jean-Théodore VIAUD / Elie Jérôme FLEURY, Histoire de la ville et du port de Rochefort. 
Rochefort 1845 (2 vols., 468pp and 528pp; 3 folded maps.)

Jean-Théodore VIAUD / Elie Jérôme FLEURY, Histoire de la ville et du port de Rochefort.
Marseille (Laffitte reprints) 2003, 2 vols (XXVII, 468, XII pp.;  521, XIpp.)

VILLE DE ROCHEFORT (ed.), Rochefort et Architecture, 
Rochefort n.d.

[X.], "Cahier des plaintes, doléances et pétitions du Tiers-Etat de la ville de Rochefort-sur-Mer", in: Bulletin de la Société géographique de Rochefort, 1909, pp.197-209

(**) The two photos showing the reconstructed Corderie royale are from the following internet site: