Friday, February 13, 2015

News, Mines and Industry.

Of course there have been lots of different newspapers produced in Almería in the last hundred and fifty years - here's one from Bédar from 1896 which 'defends those who represent the Spanish mining industry'. Bédar was an important mining town a hundred years ago, and I remember traces of the rusting funicular which once brought ore down to Garrucha when I first arrived here in 1966 (apparently built from Serrena to Garrucha in 1888). Back at the turn of the century, Bédar had a railway (the tunnels still exist) built thanks to the efforts of the British Vice-Consul in Garrucha (those were the days, hey?) called George Pecket (or George Clifton Pecket, as local historian prefer). The rail-line was taken out in 1942.
Pecket was around as far back as 1890, and he apparently died in Algeria in 1904. Garrucha itself was an important port, since there were barely roads into this area, and was a major exporter of ore from as far back as 1838 when silver was discovered in Cuevas del Almanzora. Iron from Bédar and lead followed in the 1850s. The first British Vice-Consul - in 1850 - was Mr Kirkpatrick, and a French Vice-consul opened shop a few years later and the port eventually had representation from Germany, Austria, Greece, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Italy and Uru­guay. Garrucha had its share of wealthy establishments and became in time (I read here) a sort of mini San Sebastian.
The Bédar mines, run by a partnership of Pecket and a Viscayan businessman called Victor Chaverrí was the 'Sociedad Vizcaína de Bédar', and Chavarrí made enough money to later build the ornate twin-towered palace in what is now the Pueblo Marina in the Mojácar coast (the palace cruelly turned into a never-opened hotel a few years ago).
So, what was the weekly 'El Minero de Bédar' concerned with (and did it take adverts)? 

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