The Ex-Silk Mill of San Paolo d’Argon

A very modern solution: a combined crèche and workplace for the women of the late 19th century

The little silk mill in the centre of San Paolo d’Argan was constructed specifically in order to take away the need for female workers to have to leave their home town and commute in order to earn a crust. The parish priest, Don Deleidi, had the brilliant idea of siting a nursery school for employees’ children next to the small mill: considering this was in 1898, it was a concept in the avant-garde of welfare.

 

Indeed the little silk factory was conceived with the charitable objective of fostering community life and social cohesion in San Paolo d’Argan. Today it houses the offices of the local town hall and library.

The parish priest’s idea to bring work into the town was designed to prevent the emptying of the area due to emigration and did in fact anticipate the period of economic crisis when Italians left their home towns in droves, seeking work abroad.

Work in the silk mill carried on for the whole of the first half of the 19th century and in 1929 the company ended up in the hands of a lady by the name of Olga Rosa Brigatti, whose silk-twisting and silk-preparation business was recorded at the local Chamber of Commerce.

After the sale of the business to a Genoese company, the silk mill was completely destroyed in 1956. Only the walls and imposing chimneystack survived and three years later the company ceased business completely.

Today this former workplace has been completely transformed into a community and cultural centre that serves citizens through activities linked to reading and in-depth study.

 

Promotional material by the Associazione inChiostro itinerari e incontri d’arte.

 

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