Archive for July, 2013

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This place is a factory. I mean, it was a factory. A huge, massive spinning factory. Its construction started in 1790, sponsored by the French Jácome Ratton & son and Timóteo Lecusson Verdier. The idea was to use the natural energy of the nearby river Nabão to move the spinning machinery. The British Engineer Francisco Wellhouse (or perhaps, Francis) was the first director of the factory and he supervisioned its construction. Eight years after the beginning of works the factory was far to be ready and an extraordinary flood ruined part of water channels. It took six years more to inaugurate the factory.

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Then, in 1883, the place was completely destroyed by a fire. Rebuilt by Henrique Taveira accordingly to a plan designed by the engineer Charles Hargreaves, the factory eventually got to the top position of the Portuguese ranking as the largest in the country. Finally, in 1993, unable to face the fierce competition of cheap Asian textiles, it was shutdown. Nowadays it’s half destroyed. Not in ruins, destroyed, really. Most of it is a chaotic field of debris. The entrance building, probably the main offices, and the house which probably was the home of the senior staff (or perhaps just of the director, no idea) still stands, but in very poor condition.

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I was surprised to find this urbex site in Tomar – a great place to visit – because I know fairly well the town. But there it is, and in fact, it’s quite obvious in Google Earth. It’s only by looking at the satellite imagery that one gets the real idea of how big the area of the factory is.

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I didn’t feel comfortable in the factory grounds. When I entered the place a pair of junkies was leaving. I politely greeted them and got the same back. But feeling a bit trapped in a walled area, I couldn’t relax. Of course, I was alone, and as always, exploring near or in an urban area, it’s always tricky.

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These are the coordinates of the entrance spot, which is the main gate, now “open” as you see in the picture below.  39° 36.552’N   8° 24.504’W

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