03.03.19 — Journal
The Abandoned Ceramics Factory
Last summer I embarked on a road trip with my good friend Kevin, and it was so varied that I had to break it down into three parts here on my blog: Part 1 around Oviedo, Part 2 around Cabo de Peñas, and Part 3 in Bilbao. In the first instalment I spoke of a trip around an abandoned factory in a small Asturian town, and I have finally (only six months late) got round to editing the photos and piecing together this little post about what went down.
If you’re a keen reader, you might remember that I wound up doing something similar back in 2017, when I reported on a snoop around an abandoned hotel after a trip to Portugal which happened two years prior. Six months is an improvement on two years, right?
Anyway, let’s move on to the subject at hand: this factory. We arrived by car, parking on a piece of grassland nearby (Asturias has plenty of spare grass). Wandering over, we stumbled through some trees and found ourselves in the grounds of the place. The factory itself looked nothing extraordinary from the outside, just a large industrial building with broken windows and painted in a questionable shade of mint green.
It was inside, then, that things started to get interesting. The false ceiling was all but missing, and the fallen panels littered the floor amongst rocks, insulation, papers, and an array of what revealed conclusively the factory’s former purpose: ceramics.
We swung left and into the only room whose interior wall was still standing. It looked to have been renovated shortly before the factory’s eventual demise – if it weren’t for the gaping halls where bits of the main ceiling had fallen through, it could have been mistaken for a recent addition. Here we waded through yet more broken roofing tiles and rotting ephemera and past a large container which, although collapsed and shattered, still held a lot of what I assume was ceramic powder. Not risking disturbing the unidentified material, we moved swiftly on.
The next room had a much more industrial feel to it, and a little wander around the two large structures in the centre of said room revealed them to be a couple of furnaces. In the corner of the room the pile of unfinished ceramics was much denser, but the suspicious white and fluffy insulation around the furnaces had my asbestos warning senses tingling, and so we opted to move on once again without much further investigation.
The next perilous-looking doorway led us into the biggest single space in the whole factory, and what I can only assume was the warehouse. The vast space was filled with an even more varied array of debris, from ceramics to broken electronics and even the soggy remains of folders which documented orders and invoices from years gone by. It was surreal to think that such personal details could have been left to decay in such a public space.
Further into the space, we stumbled across crates full of half-baked ceramics and a particularly interesting half-pyramid which had been carefully stacked on the floor. It was hard to tell whether this was done whilst the factory was still in operation or whether it had been put together by someone passing through, but I do err towards the idea of it having been made more recently: I see no good use for storing any kind of product like that.
Heading backwards out of the warehouse, we suddenly found ourselves exposed the elements as we passed by a section whose roof had totally collapsed. Not wanting to hang around under the precarious structure for too long, I took a few photos of some of the more interesting stuff I found littering the floor, and we headed back through the warehouse to explore some more.
Passing through the space, we arrived at the other side of the factory, and to an area dominated by what I assume were office spaces. We passed through what looked like a canteen/recreation area and on into a room containing an array of generators around a central staircase. I gauged that the concrete stairs were plenty sturdy enough to ascend, but I wasn’t too confident about the floor above – especially having seen the total structural failure in the other end of the factory.
Against my better judgement, up we headed and into what turned out to be a storage loft. This space was one of the more intriguing of the factory, purely due to the sheer density of the ceramic moulds and tools which had been jammed into the rafters and then left abandoned. Wrangled metal bars knotted between piles of upturned moulds told me that shelving must have once held a lot of the wares, making optimum use of what was quite a compact space.
Back on ground level, we headed further into a labyrinthine succession of smaller rooms. Passing by further bags of unidentifiable powders, we clambered through an upturned workshop and past a cabin with a calendar showing the current month as January 2003. Could that be when the place closed its doors for good?
We soon found ourselves exploring the final cluster of outbuildings on the far side of the factory, which proved to be smaller, darker, and somehow creepier than the main factory itself. I felt a strange sensation as I wandered through that area, and so I didn’t really think to take any photos – I’ll have to let you imagine the dark corners of the abandoned shower facilities and changing rooms.
With the creeping unease brought on by this final stage of explorations and the rumble in our stomachs growing louder, we decided to call it a day for our wanderings around the abandoned factory. Heading back to the car, I remember how me and Kevin chatted on and on about how we’d much rather be out doing something like this than your typical holiday activities – I am always down for some alternative entertainment!
You can check out the rest of the trip’s activities here: