Barcelona and Beyond
AIA Spring tour 2004

The AIA visited Barcelona and the rich industrial archaeology in the Catalan valleys beyond. The visit reflected the strong influence that the textile industry had on industrial development of the region, whilst not neglecting the other important elements in its industrialisation.

Among the sites visited were a forge of 1685, a hydroelectric station, a distillery with vertical steam engine and working stills, a steam pumping station or two, one with two Alexandre Hermanos vertical pumping engines, the Cordoniu wine cellars and the Casaramona former cotton mill, a water-powered paper mill in the small medieval paper-making town of Capellades and, in contrast, the modern Stora Enso recycling paper mill, the mill city of Terrassa where the Catalan Industrial Museum network is based in a former mill remarkable for its architecture, Poble Nou - the Catalan Manchester, the coal mine settlement at Cercs, the spectacular ruins of a cement works at Clot del Moro clinging to the hillside as if some ancient hanging gardens, a working 1900s cardboard factory, rail workshops and a steam train ride to Montserrat, the impressive Estacio Franca train shed and the Born iron-framed market in Barcelona itself, the Colonia Sedo mill, turbines and museum and the Colonia Guell and Gaudi crypt, not forgetting a 1906 Buchau Wolf stationary steam engine!

As well as conserved, interpreted sites, the tour included a mix of unrestored industrial buildings, modern industrial enterprises, and activities like hand-made paper.

There were also opportunities to take in the great cultural variety offered by the city of Barcelona, not least the remarkable architecture created by Catalonia's famous Modernista or Art Nouveau architects such as Antoni Gaudi, and a programme of talks with the chance to meet local industrial archaeologists.