THE CAN PUJOL SLUICE
Unfortunately, urban growth has not always permitted the preservation of all the city’s industrial heritage. One example of this is the Can Pujol sluice, the only remaining testimony of an old hydraulic system which, over the centuries, powered a wide variety of industries.
The origins of the sluice date back to the late Middle Ages, when this entire stretch of the channel, by now outside the city walls, fed several mills. In 1647 a cloth mill was in operation and by the end of the 18th century, the “Masmitjà i Serratosa” textile factory had been established and directly or indirectly employed up to 400 people. At the same time it also produced paper, initially sack paper, and later cigarette paper. In the early 20th century, the textile activity was combined with the production of the renowned “El Lago” chocolate. This diversification of production was common in the factories of the time, where several businesses would use a part of the same facilities. From 1916, it housed the “Curtits Pujol” tannery, specialising in goat hides for footwear, which continued operating until 1991. The old factory was demolished a few years later.
> The cotton revolution
From the mid-18th century onwards, cotton replaced wool as the main raw material of the textile industry. The most important factory in Banyoles was the “Masmitjà i Serratosa”, which in 1777 annually produced 20,000 canas of cotton fabric (1 cana was equivalent to 1.5 metres). Its most sought-after products included "bombosins" (whitened cotton fabrics), "blavets" (blue fabrics used to make work clothes) and stockings, which were exported to Castile and the Indies. The factory also supplied the Bourbon army.
> Did you know that...
seeking customer loyalty, especially that of small children, the chocolate bars usually included a collectable free gift? “El Lago” chocolate, which was produced here for years, distributed card series with highly diverse subjects: football, film stars, history of General Prim, and so on).