This old factory building was purchased by the Municipality of Serpa and, in 2011, transformed into a project that is open to the public. A new space was added and the two buildings now house the Musibéria - Centro Internacional de Músicas e Danças do Mundo Ibérico (International Centre for Music and Dance of the Iberian World).
THE ORIGINAL BUILDING
consists of two stories and four rooms, connected by pieces of machinery that correspond to the various stages of transformation of the grain, in a vertical typology that allowed the entire production circuit to take place in a single building. The grinding wheels system, built in Belgium by the Léon Michel-Simonis atelier, is especially interesting and was installed on the ground floor of the factory in its early years of operation. One of the rooms on the first floor houses the silos (with the grain to be ground) and another the sieves and various equipment.
The grinding plant museological project is based on the in situ preservation of all of the equipment (which is still in good repair) that may one day be put into operation once again, for pedagogical purposes.
With the Municipal Museum of Ethnography closed for renovation works, several exhibits from that museum - a large part of the ethnographic collection representative of the traditional arts and crafts - were recently installed in the Old Grinding Plant, thus allowing the public some access to that collection.
(click on the photos to expand and check the credits)
A grain grinding plant was established in Serpa at the beginning of the twentieth century, by initiative of Nova Companhia Nacional de Moagem, a large industrial company established in 1907 with headquarters in Lisbon. The building where this unit was installed, located in Largo da Senhora dos Remédios, was bought in 1913 by the company (represented by its directors, Manuel Rodrigues Vaquinhas and Eugénio Lança) from Manuel Francisco Veiga, an industrialist, and his wife, Maria José Gomes Veiga, residents in the town of Serpa, and Leopoldo Diniz Parreira Cortez and his wife Berta Parreira Cortez, residents of Herdade da Retorta.
In 1919, the Nova Companhia Nacional de Moagem merged with another company, creating the Companhia Industrial de Portugal e Colónias, S.A.R.L. which, on a date prior to 1923, sold the Serpa factory to a local firm, the Sociedade Cooperativa de Exploração Mecânica Agrícola, which later became the Sociedade de Moagem Serpense Lda.
The Sociedade de Moagem Serpense Lda., a limited liability company, was incorporated in 1923 to “exploit the milling industry, cereal trade and exercise industry or trade in any other branch that it chooses, with the exception of the banking sector". The partners were several property owners and farmers (from Serpa and Lisbon), an army captain, a pharmacist, a doctor, a merchant, a civil servant, a retired guard sergeant, a grain farmer, a notary, a notary’s clerk, a lawyer, a mason and a priest, most of them from Serpa.
The company’s capital consisted of the building where the grinding plant was installed, the machinery and utensils within the building, "engine, generators, benches with seven pairs of grinding wheels, cleaning equipment, shafts, transmissions, drums, scales, bags, mechanical lathe and other belongings”, as well as a cart, a horse and harnesses, plus money and the quotas from the partners of the former Sociedade Cooperativa de Exploração Mecânica Agrícola de Serpa. By agreement of the partners, the Sociedade de Moagem Serpense Lda. was dissolved in 1940.
Two years later, in 1942, António Cortez Lobão, an army officer and property owner residing in the municipality of Cascais, acting as sole liquidator of the Sociedade de Moagem Serpense Lda., sold the urban building to Mariano Lopes & Filhos and “assigned and transferred to the buyers all the dominion, right, action and property that the extinct company until now had over the building sold".
With Mariano Lopes, a major local trader and industrialist, who, with his five children, created Mariano Lopes & Filhos Lda., the company underwent extensive improvements that extended the factory’s production capacity, such as the installation of a Blackstone diesel engine.
The mill stopped working in the 1970’s.
Come and learn about this interesting industrial equipment and take the opportunity to visit much of the ethnographic collection usually exhibited in the Municipal Museum of Ethnography, temporarily closed for works!
© CMS, Ad in the Noticias de Serpa newspaper
Rua Dr. Afonso Henriques do Prado Castro e Lemos
Monday to Friday
10.30h-12h30 and 14h30-19h30
00351 284 540 124 (Culture and Heritage Department of the Municipality of Serpa)
Entrance through the Musiberia - Centro Internacional de Músicas e Danças do Mundo Ibérico gate.