Royal Card Factory (Industrial heritage)
- Cultural Significance of the Site: Medium
- Scenic Value of the Site: High
- State of Conservation: Low
- Kind of Works: Factory from the Baroque and Enlightenment period placed all along one street.
- Stage of the Great Path: Stage 2. Rincón de la Victoria - Vélez - Málaga
- Place: Macharaviaya
- Period: 18th and 19th century
- Author or Sponsor: Brothers Gálvez founded this factory in Macharaviaya. José and Miguel Gálvez were the most important for opening this business that was supposed to help their birth village develop. The contractor and the manager of the building and this big project carried out in the Enlightenment period was Italian businessmen and expert on the subject in question Felix Solesio.
Location and Access Points
Royal Cards Factory in Macharaviaya is placed in the centre of the village next to St Hyacinth (San Jacinto) church. It extends along the entire left side of the street, alongside the parish church. The surrounding area is very beautiful as this small town was built during the Enlightenment thanks to its sponsors, the Galvezes.
Playing cards sale in Spain and its colonies worked through tobacconists’, which were a state-owned monopoly that was highly beneficial for the Tax Office at the time. José and Miguel Gálvez decided to place the Royal Card Factory, which was meant to supply the South America with playing cards, in Macharaviaya. This way the job posts were created in this small town and the works on the factory were started. Felix Solesio was hired as the contractor and project manager and was given six months to build the facilities. The building with space for 200 workers was created with offices, industrial equipment and tools, besides the housing for the workers. Production and export were launched in 1776.
The factory had a lot of problems before starting to function and its first products were faulty. Moreover, Felix Solesio lacked money and got into debt. It all became more complicated after the Peninsular War had started, when the production stopped and the factory got closed in 1815. Even though it had been planned to reopen it afterwards, it all ended in 1820 when South American countries got their independence.
The Cards Factory in Macharaviaya is not like other similar buildings of imposing design from that time, such as the Tobacco Factory in Málaga. Instead, it was an industrial building that used to lie along an entire street in the centre of the town. There used to be a tower on it which made it recognisable from the rest of the buildings. Mind that this is not unusual for this period of time, as buildings had been built all along streets since the Baroque. For example, there was a gunpowder factory in Málaga which followed the shape of the street and had buildings on both sides of Salitre Street back then.
Current State of the Building
The current state of the facilities which belonged to the old factory is very different from its past appearance, as they were transformed into dwellings and hardly any of its old Baroque factory features were kept. The inside of the buildings has also been changed.
There are no pieces from the old factory, although there are collections of playing cards, as well as its reproductions, in museums and in the possession of private collectors. Some of them can be seen in Gálvez Family Museum in Macharaviaya.
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