San Rafael Sugar Factory, Torrox, Spain. Sept. 2019.

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Sir Cuitus

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On one of my holidays abroad (anyone remember those) I came across this little gem!

The history:

Documents from 1571 mention the existence of two sugar mills in this area, this one and a sister mill which was situated elsewhere.

Construction began in 1568 by the Moorish Melilla family but the original mill was burned down after the Moorish revolution.

The mill was completely rebuilt in 1725 and was powered by traditional water wheel technology. In 1764 the decision was made to modernise the mill and cast iron machinery with tempered steel shafts, absolutely state of the art in those days, was imported from London.

The furnace which heated the boilers was originally wood fuelled, as were those of competing sugar mills. As firewood to fuel such boilers started to become scarce in the area towards the end of the 18th Century, this mill and its sister managed to continue production by importing coal from England.

In 1847 further modernisation of the mill took place under its then owner, Francisco Javier de Leon Bendicho y Quilty. It is in this redevelopment phase that the mill adopted the name of San Rafael Sugar Mill.

In 1854 the mill was taken over by the Larios family who then proceeded to pretty much monopolise production of sugar and its by-products in the whole region until the mill finally closed its doors in 1945 by which time it had been producing some 220,000 kg of sugar per year!

The Explore:

Despite several signs warning of the dire consequences for trespassing and the site's proximity to a bustling town I was able to explore freely and never met another soul! As you can see the place is showing plenty of signs of having been abandoned for so long and some parts are now downright dangerous. Lovely! I must have been there for a good few hours though I couldn't tell you exactly how long - time has a funny way of slipping by ever so quickly on an explore...

The Pics:

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This inscription was at the base of that magnificent chimney. Unfortunately due to bright light and weathering it was a bit difficult to read.
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So I piddled around with the image in GIMP...
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Roughly translated: This work was carried out under the ownership of S D Javier de Leon Bendicho 1850.

A nice little gatehouse thingy at what appeared to be a back entrance to the complex.
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Inside the aforementioned gatehouse thingy.
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OK, Who nicked the frelling stairs...
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Onwards to the factory floor.
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OMG! Don't sneeze. Don't even fart!
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Fresh pomegranates anyone?
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I discovered some interesting tunnels beneath the complex. No idea what they were for, they didn't seem to go anywhere. I went in one end and came back out the other...
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Behind and to one side of the factory building were various residential buildings laid out in a style suggesting a small village or pueblo. Whoever was responsible for their construction seemed to care about the happiness and welfare of the workers IMHO.
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Towards the end of the explore was this weird little building set above and away from everything else. Maybe a stable block or garage or something?
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This concluded my adventure so with a final look back I bid this wonderful place a fond farewell. What a holiday! You can keep your sun, sea, sand and sausage rolls - give me dirt, decay, dereliction and derpiness any day! If you enjoyed this post one tenth as much as I enjoyed the explore then I'm a happy man. Thanks for looking.
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