Santa Bárbara Explosives


Santa Bárbara Explosives Factory

Lugones, Siero

Sociedad Anónima Santa Bárbara was founded in 1880 by José Tartiere Lenegre, an industrial engineer from Bilbao who settled in Asturias, where he developed a very important business activity. 

The industrial facilities in Lugones were built on the La Acebera plot, on the banks of the Nora river, which guaranteed the water supply. The area, flat and with plenty of trees, allowed explosives tests to be carried out. It was therefore ideal for the development of these production activities. Furthermore, the area was also suitable due to its proximity to the main communication routes to Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés.

Its main function was to produce gunpowder for mining, hunting and war activities, as well as safety fuses. It came into operation two years later and, in 1886, the company became part of the Unión Española de Explosivos. 

The buildings were not only intended for factory work. The creation of an architectural complex with housing for the workers, schools and a residential area for the developer was also promoted. In all, there were thirty-five buildings including workshops, powder stores, warehouses, offices and residential spaces. The densely wooded surroundings also favoured the design of large landscaped areas accessible for everyone associated with the factory.

After its industrial cessation in the seventies, the entire property was acquired by the Siero City Council in 1982. The aim was to create a space for leisure and enjoyment for the citizens. Even though most of the buildings began a process of deterioration, nowadays La Acebera Park is a natural and cultural reference point in the area.

The development of Lugones as an industrial centre of reference enjoyed a special boost as a result of the inauguration, around the same time, of the railway line. This improved communications and favoured the foundation of Sociedad Industrial Santa Bárbara in 1895. This company, also sponsored by José Tartiere, was dedicated to the manufacture of cast iron and rolled products.

Rubén Domínguez Rodríguez