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Industrial Scenery of Antequera: Vila River

Diputación de Málaga
Henchidero. Antequera

Industrial Scenery of Antequera: Vila River

Other Cultural Heritage Sites > > Factory

General Information

- Cultural Significance of the Site: High
- Scenic Value of the Site: High
- State of Conservation: Low
- Kind of Works: Buildings, factory premises, chimneys, irrigation channels and aqueducts.
Stage of the Great Path: Stage 16, Cuevas Bajas - Alameda.
- Place: Antequera
- Period: From the 15th to the late 20th century.
- Author or Sponsor: Two brothers Diego and José Moreno Burgos started with the industrialisation of the textile in Antequera. They belonged to the local upper middle class like the families Robledo, Perea and so on. Some other families, such as Auroux and Bordenave, have participated in textile industry as well.

Location and Access Points

You can go along the river La Villa from its source, past El Torcal Nature Park, to El Conejo Inn by the A 7075 road. At the fork, go into the small street on the right, which leads to the town by Henchidero Street. The buildings, irrigation channels, bridges and aqueducts you see, which are mostly abandoned, are traces of the textile industry heritage in Antequera. El Henchidero industrial complex is at the end of this street, to the south-east of the town centre. The river keeps flowing past the textile factories such as Argüelles, Laz and Crespite, which are all on its banks.

History

There had been built for centuries, flour and oil mills, fulling mills and dyer’s, small forges, and so on, and the textile industry was booming from the 15th century. Quality of its fabrics was such that King Charles III of Spain designated it as a Royal Factory in 1765. In the mid-19th century, the upper middle class of families dedicated to agriculture, such as Moreno, Robledo and Perea, or traders like Auroux, Bordenave and others, modernize and turn Antequera into a centre of textile and wool industry.  In the 20th century, isolated towns, ineffective trade and strong competition in other national markets, create a crisis in this sector. Local textile businesspeople created a new association, but it could not overcome the difficulties in the sector and the textile industry came to its end in Antequera in the 1970s.

Technical Information

The mid-19th century is the golden age of the industrialisation in Antequera. It is when some modern mechanization systems in textile industry were introduced instead of traditional methods. This process was started in 1833 by Moreno brothers with a wool and cotton factory, and continued by Vicente Robledo’s textile factory in 1837, and Pérez and Perea’s modern blanket Rojas Castilla factory. For several decades this industry had developed positively until it reached its fall at the end of the century. From 1900, foreign markets started to be regained, and there were some improvements in the sector: Jacquard textile mills, automatic spinning machines - Selfactinas, textile finishing machines, and cleaning cloths production was replaced by blankets production, which counted on 100,000 units a year. A fierce foreign competition caused a big crisis in textile industry, which it could not overcome. La Cruz was the last textile factory, which stopped working in 1973.

Current State of the Building

The Villa River supplies with water the town of Antequera, which is why it has little volume. The remains of the old factories are irrigation channels, aqueducts, bridges and chimneys, which are placed along 6 kilometres from the source of the river to the town. Some buildings have been refurbished by their owners, while others remain in ruins or have been neglected. The machines have all disappeared.

Along the route, at ‘El Henchidero’, there are three important buildings: Rojas Castilla textile factory (1837-1865), where today the display about the textile industry heritage of Antequera is, has been added a water wheel, which is similar to the one from the past, and El Henchidero factory (1873-1973), where the Cookery School is and varied handicraft workshops. Some yards were built on the plot where the thread factory León Checa Palma (1840-1965) is, and it got fenced by gardens.

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