Last modified: 2021-06-16 by ivan sache
Keywords: méru |
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Flag of Méru - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 21 July 2020
The municipality of Méru (14,609 inhabitants in 2018; 2,283 ha) is located 50 km north of Paris.
Méru, incorporated to the kingdom of Paris after the death of Clovis, was granted in 626 to the royal abbey of Saint-Denis. In 862, Charles the Bald confirmed the donation of "Mairu". At the time, the region was ravaged by the Normans, which explains the presence of underground passages. The town subsequently belonged to the counts of Beaumont until 1191, when it obtained a charter of customs, the first step towards municipal recognition.
Part of the Montmorency domain in 1521, Méru was incorporated in 1582 into the bailiwick of Beauvais created by Henry III. From the last years of the 17th century and during most of the 18th century, the princes of Conti and their descendants owned the town. Of their castle, only a tower known as the Conti Tower remains today.
Méru was the center of an important industrial basin that developed from the 17th century with the gradual introduction of a tablet-making craft imported through nurses returning from Paris.
Tablet-making, which consists of the manufacture of various objects (usual, religious, games, boxes) using raw materials such as wood, bone, horn, ivory, tortoise shell or even mother-of-pearl, was first practiced there by peasants in need of a source of income during the winter months.
In the 19th century, tablet-making industrialized and production intensified. The profession was organized and different specializations emerged: making buttons, dominoes, fans, etc. The work of mother-of-pearl gained importance. Quickly, Méru emerged as a production hub under the nickname of World Capital of Mother-of-Pearl, the quality of the work being appreciated well beyond the borders of France.
At the end of the 19th century, however, tablet-making suffered an economic recession and began to decline. However, despite the tensions evidenced by strikes at the start of the 20th century, button industry still enjoyed a few prosperous decades before almost completely disappearing from the region.
The flag of Méru (photo) is vertically divided yellow and green with the coat of arms in the center, and the name of the municipality in the font taken from the logo below. The coat of arms features a fan, dominoes and a play mark (a wooden tablet used for counting points during a game.Olivier Touzeau, 21 July 2020