The Continuous Paper Mill: the Parador

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  • Historical heritage

The noble housing of the first Continuous Paper Mill

Such a large complex needs an important lodging, a place worthy of such distinction, an honourable chamber for the persons closest to the queen.

The Continuous Paper Mill: the Parador

In 1837 the first Continuous Paper Mill in Spain was inaugurated here in Manzanares El Real, a large complex located in different facilities, with very specific tasks, distributed all over the municipality.

Under the auspices of Queen Isabel II, the Parador was the factory building where senior managers stayed and it was also where the manufacturing process was completed, as the enormous paper reels were dried on the upper floor.

Throughout its history it has been the setting for countless films and it has housed, since the 1960s, the town’s cinema. Today, although it has lost part of its original elements, it houses the town’s cinema, El Rodaje.

A Parador with many lives

It had different uses in its time, it is still standing and it is one of the main buildings in the Town Square.

On the banks of the Manzanares River, along its course through our town, we find the remains of old hydraulic infrastructures that were part of the enormous complex of the Continuous Paper Mill established in the town in the middle of the 19th century.

In 1837, Don Tomás Jordán y Cantó, publisher and collaborator of the Royal Printing House of the Court of Isabel II, bought the building occupied by the Batán del Real Hospicio de Madrid to build the first continuous paper factory in Spain, whose production would be used for the emerging publishing activity of the numerous weeklies and newspapers that became widespread from the mid-19th century onwards.

In 1842, a fire caused serious damage to the main building of the factory, a catastrophe that his new owner, Don Mariano Abad, took advantage of to repair the damage and expand the infrastructure with the acquisition of the two mills near the village: the Molino de la Tuerta and the Molino de Los Frailes o del Cura. Thus, he extended the factory with other important facilities for its operation and maintenance: the woodshed, to supply the steam for the engines; the forge, where the machinery and tools were repaired; the coal cellar, where the coal that supplied energy to the factory was stored; the warehouse, where the paper was cut and packed; the Chamberí houses, located at the beginning of the Avenida de la Pedriza to house the workers, and the Parador (Hostel or Lodge).

El parador - acordeón 1

Located to the south of the square and recently restored, the Parador (Hostel) has a rectangular floor plan and is built in granite masonry. In the inner courtyard there was a singular timber-framed façade overlooking an enclosure surrounded by a wall more than two metres high; there, where the small square in front of the north façade of the parish church is today, it’s where the carriages were kept. It was built in the middle of the 19th century, when Mariano Abad enlarged the spaces and buildings of the factory to house the senior managers and to accommodate the traveling salesmen and the technicians who came to install or repair machinery. The upper floor was apparently used to dry paper.

In 1908, after several lawsuits because the discharges from the factory polluted the water of the Santillana reservoir, the 17th Duke of the Infantado, Don Joaquín de Arteaga y Echagüe, bought the factory in order to close it shortly afterwards, in 1914, and to secure his new project to supply water to Madrid.

During the 1950s, the Parador building was used as the set in some of the films shot in Manzanares el Real and, from the 1960s until its recent restoration, it housed a cinema that was one of the favourite leisure spots for the people in Manzanares el Real.

Today, after the restoration of the building, the space occupied by the old cinema has been remodelled by the Town Council as a new multi-purpose hall.

El parador - acordeón 2

In pictures

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Activities in Manzanares El Real

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