Countries<Spain<Comunidad Valenciana<Villena< La S.A. Electra-Villenense y Electro Harinera Villenense

La S.A. Electra-Villenense y Electro Harinera Villenense (Villena)

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For a better understanding, we will separate the buildings in chronological order, as the first one already existed in 1896 and the second one was built in 1908.
The first building in Calle Madrid housed the offices, machinery and living quarters of the employees of S.A. Electra Villenense, to which the flour factory was later annexed and which meant the arrival of electricity in Villena.
Of that building only a part of it remains at number 1 of Calle de Madrid. If we continued along this same street to the end, we would have found 8 more houses. Of all these houses, only one remains. The others were demolished to build the large flour factory.

The flour factory was inaugurated on 19 April 1909. The building consists of two transverse pavilions built in solid brick: one of greater height, located in the centre of the building and perpendicular to the tracks, which has four floors and a basement, and the other parallel to the railway tracks and with two floors. This design is linked to the aesthetic principles of the expressive rationalism of the early 20th century to which the architecture of the time resorted.

In 1916, the company extended electric lighting to other towns in the region through the creation of the Sociedad Eléctrica Sax, which produced electricity through a dynamo installed in the Sax Steam Mill.

In 1923, Electro Harinera Villenense, faced with the difficulties that the electricity supply presented, decided to bring energy in the form of alternating current through a waterfall in the river Júcar, which produced 12,000 KW.

In 1927 the S.A. Electro Harinera Villenense was created. During the war of 1936, the owners of this company left Villena and returned to their hometown in France.

In addition to the hydroelectric plant and flour factory, another part of the building was used for the transfer of grain, with a railway line (Madrid, Zaragoza, and Alicante) where they entered their premises and loaded the grain to take it to other places. They also had a farm on the outskirts of the village where they bred cows, chickens, etc. The cow's milk they obtained was sold in a small office next to the entrance to the electrical section.
They also had an ice factory, where they made ice for the fridges in the houses.

In 1950, the investments to maintain electricity production became very expensive and the company decided to sell the electricity business to Hidroeléctrica Española, later known as "La Alcoyana". Little by little, the company's partners sold the other activities.

In 1957, the company began to be used as a cold store for fruit, especially apples. This was a novelty for the farmers and was very successful as there were no refrigerated warehouses in Villena for the preservation of fruit.

Only a single building has survived from the factory. A rectangular building with two floors. On the first floor we can see a central balcony and on both sides two rectangular windows of great simplicity.
At present, the building is in poor condition, with broken windows, fallen ceilings, damaged staircases, etc.

The building is owned by the Town Hall and its intention is to convert it into a large ethnographic and archaeological museum. Over the years, objects have been moved to the old chambers of the Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, owned by the Town Hall.

The future aim of the restoration of the building is to return it to the appearance it had at the beginning of the 20th century. The interior refurbishment will try to accommodate the needs of the museum while respecting the old constructions. The concept of the museum will be based on the history of Villena, and will include the archaeological museum, which will have a permanent exhibition, temporary rooms, laboratory, cafeteria, library, conference room, etc.

The main problem is the state of the building and the current damage to many objects that have been exposed to humidity and neglect.
As the building is over 3000m2, this leads to a problem as it is such a large project that, economically, it is very expensive.

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