History of the Building

The manufacturing complex of the Royal Veiga Factory, where some archaeological structures remain preserved and integrated in the museological project of this area is currently settled by the interconnection of three building in granite ashlar masonry, located near Goldra Stream, in Covilhã, where the wool manufacture headquarter was located. This one was founded by José Mendes Veiga in 1784, from a dye-house workshop. It established in this place because of the influence of the pombaline intervention in the Royal Textile Factory.

The first building, from 1784, aimed to the establishment of a dye-house was the target of consecutive enlargements either at the level of the buildings number or their volumetric until 1834, when it turned into a complete factory. Iconographic sources from the end of the 19th century allow the observation of a diversified manufacturing complex arranged in constructions of two different sets. The first, having the Goldra Stream at south and the Biribau stone-paved roadway at north, was the space where almost all the production was concentrated, working in these building the preparing, spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing sections. The second, border of the Royal Textile Factory of Covilhã, which extended south to the same stone-apved roadway, aimed to lodge the commercial space of the company with the offices and warehouse as well as the necessary structures to the manufacture process (for example, the sun tenters). In this complex, between the end of the 19th century and the end of Cândido Alexandre de Albuquerque Calheiro’s (Count of Covilhã) administration, a third aggregate of buildings, which were located between the Royal Textile Factory and the Rato Bridge, having on the north side the Royal Road no. 55 and on the south side the Biribau path and the Goldra Stream, were integrated.

It was the headquarter of a business-related complex, in its highest period, from 1835 to 1891, and it included about 20 manufactures, as well as several spinning schools scattered predominantly over the Covilhã and Fundão municipalities.

The Royal Veiga Factory carried out its business uninterruptedly between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. In 1916, this set becomes autonomous, receiving until the nineties of the 20th century other companies with a later existence, different and independent of this unity.

For this reason, the built complex has progressed according to either the company growth or the technological evolution. In this way, the changes that affected the building contributed to consecutive modifications. That way, at the end of the 19th century, the primitive structures were partially destroyed due to the violence of Goldra Stream water, as a consequence of the heavy rainfall and, in the nineties of the 20th century, a violent fire destroyed completely the inside of the north side. The Granite ashlar masonry façades were the only thing that remained.

The complex was inaugurated on April 30th, 2005, presenting an area of about 12000 m², having the architectonic intervention been financed with communitarian allocations coming from the Operational Programme POCentro – AIBT / Serra da Estrela.

This manufacturing complex is composed by three bodies that developed alongside the Golgra or Degoldra Stream: the main body at north characterised by the existence of large naves that link together the three floors, and a two-floor body at south.

Consult Plan with Identification and Localization of the Three Buildings.

At west, the manufacturing building was the object of an architectonic project aimed to the installation of a parking place.

The constructed complex develops essentially in three buildings (Bodies A, B and C) on three floors:

  • In the Body B | Floor 0 is located the Reception
    In this floor, you can have access to the Documentation Centre/Archive (Body A), passing by the Reception/Shop of the Royal Veiga Factory nucleus and having access to the Cafeteria/Restaurant.
    It is from the floor 0, through the stairs and a lift that it is possible to go to the Floor -1 and 1.
    The museological course of the Permanent Exhibition starts in this floor, in an area next to the Temporary exhibitions area, by contextualising in space and time the wool industry. 
    , which comprises the Shop, for the selling of publications and products, the Cafeteria/Restaurant with a resting area which has a garden (terrace near the stream, with an area of tables), and a lift that links the three floors, mainly aimed to be used by the people with conditioned mobility. In this floor is also located an Auditorium – a small room for conferences and projections -, an area directed to Temporary Exhibitions and the Atelier/Textile Workshop space that has a set of equipments and textile instruments suitable for different levels of learning, carried out by the Museum Educational Service.
  • In the Floor -1 the exposing course continues, enclosing, in the south body, the energy as well as the dyeing and finishing themes, and in the north body, the operations of the wool preparing for the spinning, carding and combing. From a set of machines, equipments and instruments, the big DeNayer Boiler can be pointed out.
  • In the Floor 1, superior floor of the north body, which can be accessed using the existing stair in the communication space between the south and north bodies. The Permanent Exhibition continues approaching the spinning, the preparing for the weaving, the weaving and finishing theme as well as the warehouse of cloths. In one of the extremities of the Permanent Exhibition area, there is a multimedia projection area.
    From this floor, through the passage of an insulation chamber to stop the fire, we have access to the Wool Museum General Reserves area, located in the contiguous building – north body – that was recovered and reused as Documentation Centre/Archive (Floor 0), Reserves areas (Floor 1) and Parking place (Floor 2 – covered – and Floor 3).

All the floors have direct access to the outside and the existing connections in the building allow an easy access of loads, both in Floor 0 and Floor 1. This situation allows versatility in its usage and in the arrangement of the exhibition machineries and materials.