Tapices Vidal

Tapices Vidal.

23-01-2021Andrew Ede

A piece of research into Alcudia’s history that I stumbled across a few years ago highlighted the book of ‘Determinations of the faithful city of Alcudia (1702-1707)’. These determinations were decisions by the faithful city’s authorities, Alcudia having become a city when Carlos V, the Holy Roman Emperor, rewarded Alcudia’s faithfulness during the Revolt of the Brotherhoods almost two hundred years previously.

One of these determinations was dated August 14, 1707. It was decided to cover up the well near the Xara gate. This would stop children throwing stones down the well and so prevent costs of having to clean the well up each year. The Xara gate is nowadays more commonly referred to as Porta des Moll. It’s in the market square, or Plaça Carles V to be exact.

The determination of 1707 noted that the well was positioned “106 steps from the cross”, that of Sant Jaume church. Someone must have walked from the church in order to arrive at such a precise number of steps. You could try it yourselves, but a problem you would encounter would concern the well. Where is it?

Covering it up in the early eighteenth century was a solution for dealing with mischievous children. An even better one was to follow many years later. The well was enclosed. It was inside a building. Dating from 1913, this was originally the building for Energía Eléctrica Balear. The well drove the plant. The owner of the electricity distribution network was Pedro Mas y Reus, of Bellevue fame, and he continued to use the well once the electricity company building was sold in 1927.

The new owners were to be remunerated for their water that wasn’t solely for electricity generation. For example, Mas y Reus paid them up to seven centimos of a peseta for each cubic metre to water the development that he and Jaume Ensenyat were responsible for - the original, pre-war project for a tourist and residential centre that included the one-time golf course in Albufera. For the owners themselves, the well would have come in handy as well. They had a textile business. They made carpets. The name of the business was Tapices Vidal.

I’ve yet to find a reference as to when Tapices Vidal ceased operation. Its story certainly isn’t as detailed as that of the old Can Morató carpet factory in Pollensa. But whenever operations did cease, they were a long time ago. You can still make the name out on what is a building in deplorable state. It has been for years.

Podemos in Alcudia have been asking for an explanation about the building’s “ruined” condition. It is a listed building, and Podemos have denounced the “abandonment of part of Alcudia’s historical heritage”.

Mayor Bàrbara Rebassa says the Council of Majorca’s heritage department has given the go-ahead for a project to rehabilitate the building and to convert it into a bar café. The town hall is apparently sitting on the granting of a licence, pending the correction of “some deficiencies”, which one takes to mean deficiencies with the project proposal, given that the building itself clearly has deficiencies.

But a bar café? Perhaps this is a better option than hanging around for many more years while minds are made up about museums or some other cultural venture, as with the old power station. Seems a shame, but if that is the determination, so be it.

Another old well in Alcudia

Strictly speaking it’s a cistern rather than a well, so it would have been created to capture and store rainwater. It is at the foot of the Puig Sant Martí in Alcudia, and the town hall’s environment department has spent 3,700 euros on restoring it.

Putting a date on this cistern is proving to be a bit tricky, but it is thought to have been used for the Poble Nou, aka Gatamoix, the colony that was created by the British engineers of the New Majorca Land Company when they were draining and cultivating Albufera in the later part of the nineteenth century. It’s possible that it dates from before then, but no one really knows for sure.

The town hall says that this restoration is one of a series of heritage elements that are to be restored. There is a lime kiln nearby and two more kilns in the mountains near La Victoria. The restoration is part of a plan to create heritage walking routes.

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