• Mega Livadi of Serifos - Loading bridge
  • Koutalas Old facilities and vehicles
  • Machinery and vehicles of the mines Koutalas

The outcome

The uprising in Serifos mines, in addition to similar events during the 1910 decade, in the mines of Lavrio, Naxos and Kimi, as well as in other industrial sectors, led to the gradual decrease of the working hours in the mines. In 1925 the Greek state officially established the first 8-hour work-day in the mines, applying a law that had been voted since 1920 but was never fully applied. From then on, the operations in the mines of Serifos took place in two 8-hour shifts, from 06.00 to 14.00 and from 14.00 to 22.00. The same law expanded in 1932 to other business sectors and in 1936, during Metaxa’s dictatorship, to the rest of the professions.

Honor and glory to the dead,

 to the working class,

 to those who were sacrificed,

 in Serifos in 1916…

 Honor and glory to the dead,

 who grabbed the cane

 and achieved the 8-hour work-day,

 the first ever in Greece…

During the 1920-1930 decade the mining sector was in recession, till the crash of the 1929, when many mines were led to closure. The recovery started in 1934, until the Second World War, when under the direction of Georg Grohmann’s son, Emile, Serifos mines exported about 500.000 tons of ore, mostly to Germany (due to an agreement), but also to France, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Poland.

In the time of the German occupation, and although the Cyclades belonged to Italy, the mines were exploited by German forces, with Grohmann -now officer of the German army- being the technical supervisor. When World War II ended, the Grohmanns, charged as quislings and German affiliates, leave Greece. Their business interests led them to South Africa.

Six years later, in 1951, the company “Serifos - Spiliazeza” ceased operations. Some minor mining activities continue in the island by small Greek businesses and joint ventures, which quite soon are forced to stop due to the high costs and the plummeting of the ore price all over the world. Serifos mines completely cease to operate in 1965. The result was that pretty soon the island depopulated. The workers searched elsewhere for any kind of job, which was quite a challenge for them, since, living their life from and for the mines, they didn’t know how to harvest the earth or the sea.

The Ministry of Culture declared as historical monuments the Headquarters of the mines and the loading bridge in Mega Livadi and the loading bridge in Koutalas, the workers’ residencies as well as any kind of equipment that remains, surrendered to the wear of time, but still awakening memories both of the flourishing of the island in another era, and of the tragic events of 1916.