The factory of the Panyos – A jewel of country

Published in 15 de October de 2020

Manresa preserves the oldest river factory in Catalonia and southern Europe, a first-rate heritage element that is currently celebrating its bicentenary

In the city where you live, there are always a series of monuments that you have lived with for years and years, that you feel like yours and that in everyday life have become transparent. You walk past them and you don’t notice them because they’ve always been there. Rarely have you had the time and the mental state to get into its meaning.

And this happens in most citizens of this city – Manresa – with the “Panyos”, this old factory, which when we see it, we are impressed by its grandeur and the visual impact of so many windows – they say that as many as days has the year. However, we need to take a leap and move from the “foreground”, what is given to us directly, to the “background”, what it represents and means.

And we find a cultural asset of the first order, a key element of the Industrial Heritage of our country, the first factory – which may have this name – that is preserved and that with the necessary corrections can become visitable and be the benchmark of the industrialization of our country.

The documents at hand date the factory to the 1920s. Now it’s time to celebrate the bi-centenary. To this end, two years ago, a group of interested people met from the Museum of Technology of Manresa (historians, technical professional associations, members of the AMCTAIC, municipal technicians, Bages Study Center, Manresa Turisme …..) which started a research project and which has led to the celebration of two very participatory Conferences in which the debate has been very enriching.

It must be said that the factory is already recognized, which enjoys the qualification of BCIL (cultural asset of local interest) and appears in an immensity of texts and catalogs on the Catalan Industrial Heritage. It should also be noted that the City Council has recently carried out major repairs, especially on the roof of the factory, enough so that the structure is not endangered,

In these two years, an attempt has been made to delve into the meaning of the building and contemplate it in a much broader historical context, and to delve into its place within the context of the process of industrialization in Catalonia. It can be proclaimed that this process began in Bages and that the “Panyos” is the oldest material element, a symbol of Catalan industrialization.

The future of this “jewel of the country” will depend on the extent to which citizens understand its value, on the extent to which the Public Administrations (starting with our City Council) are involved. I am sure that the appearance of this monograph in Dovella magazine – in which most of the people who have taken part in the debates are involved, each from their own particular point of view, will mark a before and an after, will mark a milestone from which the future of the “Locks” is no longer a matter of city but a matter of country.

Josep Alabern Valentí.

President of the Association of the Museum of Science and Technology and Industrial Archeology of Catalonia (AMCTAIC).
Vice-president of the Fundació Aigües de Manresa – Junta de la Séquia.