But death was sweet . . .

sugar sugar 1

THE mediaeval town of Salobreña was once famous for the production of sugar. Thirteen sugar factories operated in the area, gorging on sugarcane grown on plantations bordering the Mediterranean coast . . .

But as the tourist industry burgeoned and Salobreña decided to transform itself into a seaside resort (and quite a tasteful resort, it must be said), the plantation owners sold out to developers and the last sugarcane was uprooted about ten years ago.

Nothing much remains of the industry except a few impressive steam engines. These have been removed from the factories and installed on the town’s roundabouts.

sugar sugar 2 sugar sugar 4sugar sugar 3According to the paper The Steam Engines in Sugarcane Production in Spain: Comparative Analysis, by José Ignacio Rojas-Sola and José Ramón Ureña-Marín, of the University of Jaen, the engines were of predominantly Scottish and French origin. The two featured here were made in France.

sugar sugar 5sugar sugar 6 sugar sugar 7 sugar sugar 8 sugar sugar 9 sugar sugar 10As those of us who lived through the 1980s know only too well, industries come and industries go – while some are obliterated almost overnight and lost without trace in a callous scramble to remould the present.

So it’s gratifying to wander Salobreña’s streets and behold this salute to the past. The sugarcane plantations may have gone, but the memory of an industry lives on.


16 thoughts on “But death was sweet . . .

  1. Reading this I was momentarily struck by the possibility that you were going to start finding train carriages in the surrounding hills, but then I realised we’re talking steam engines,not steam trains.

    All that machinery goes well with the palm trees. I can almost picture them in and around the industrial heritage sites of Wigan, St. Helens, Bolton and Warrington. (Preston might be too far north.) Failing that, a few enormous aspidistras might serve as a substitute.


    1. You’ve got me thinking there, Chris. A few palm trees would certainly brighten up the former industrial areas of Teesside. After all, they grow as far north as Ullapool, so Preston and Middlesbrough would certainly not be beyond their limit. And if they were date of coconut palms, think of the employment they would generate.
      And as for trains, I spotted an abandoned station and railway viaduct just south of Granada yesterday. So watch this space.
      Toot toot, as Thomas might say.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know Spain at all, but we go to France quite a lot and one of the things we always remark on is the wonderful things they do with their roundabouts. They can be decorated with anything from pieces of local industrial or social history to amazing things done with nature, to weird and wonderful sculptures. Love it.


    1. Hi Chrissie. Yes, they are very imaginative in that way. I also like the way they do motorway bridges in France – some are built like little tunnels with grass and trees up the sides and on the top. They really fit in with the landscape.
      Cheers, Alen


    1. Thank you, Jo. Yes, it’s a fascinating area once you poke beneath the touristy bits. There are some beautiful old churches and cathedrals, too, which I’m sure you would find interesting.
      All the best, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think so too. They certainly brighten the place up a bit and dispense with the need for a museum, which might otherwise be beyond the capabilities of the local authorities.


  3. Hi Alen. As usual I’m a bit worried when you don’t publish a new post. Hopefully you are still alive and kicking in the new environment. There is a certain sense of security by putting people in the ‘same footing’, and I would be happy if you manage to find an abandoned train carriage in an unusual place. A roundabout will do 🙂 🙂
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here I am Hanna. I haven’t been eaten by anything yet, but our broadband connection has been down for some time. Perhaps a snake dislodged a cable or something.
      I went looking for train carriages today but didn’t find any. Some faulty research on my part.
      Good to hear from you. All the best, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that’s a great idea to put their old and interesting industrial machinery on display on the roundabouts. Mind you, here, they’d probably just rust away to nothing with our climate!


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