After a wonderful visit to the Ubrique Leather Museum, I could not stop thinking about the extensive history that lies behind the newspaper cutouts that we saw, still full of charm despite the decades that have passed.
The amazing reputation and the recognition this town treasure when it comes to leather have not been easy to get. Generations and generations of craftsmen have dedicated their lives to the art of their job and therefore have cemented Ubrique as a staple of leather craftsmanship.
The records that show the leather sector established in town date as far back as 1845. Leather begins to be imported for tanning from the nearby towns.
This is an extract from EL CATÓLICO newspaper , November 28th, 1845, where they discuss the damages caused by the strong rain in Ubrique, specifically alluding to the tanneries that were affected.
Such places being the main focus of the articles highlights even more the importance of them and the importance of the entire sector for the town.
The Cádiz Natural, Industrial and Artistic Products Exhibition that took place from May 1st to May 15th, 1858, was reported on by EL GUADALETE. This newspaper dedicated its awarded section to talk about it, where tanner José Corrales from Ubrique obtained an honorary mention.
In this same exhibition, businessman José Felix Aragón also participated, presented some calf “petacas”, and also received an honorary mention.
These mentions were significant to the pride of Ubrique, an obvious sign of how skilled the people from this small town were and still are and how much they can offer.
It is from this moment on that Ubrique manufacturers add the word “awarded” to their items.
Some brief news on EL IMPARCIAL, the 24 of May, 1873, informs about the concession, from the majority of the owners of tanneries in Ubrique, of the labor vindication of the workers.
A significant milestone arrived in hand with commercials from Madrid that were published in the city newspapers, taking advantage of previous dates to Navson published on HERALDO DE MADRID newspaper, the 19 of November of 1903, and on LA ÉPOCA newspaper, the 27 of December of 1909, in which they specifically highlighted that they possessed products from Ubrique.
After incorporating commercial agents or representatives, who turned into indispensable assets for the companies, or merchants exclusively, the structure of leather factories in Ubrique made huge strides at the beginning of the 20th century.
One of the most prestigious Spanish cultural magazines at the time, LA ESPAÑA MODERNA, of intellectual, scientific, and literary nature, mentions Ubrique as the center of “petacas” in Spain.
The products made in Ubrique were sold in the most esteemed establishments of the main cities, being announced as the latest innovations by the merchants, as we can see in the example below.
More and more frequently, the town was used as an example of development and progress in Spain, a country that was dragging behind high subdevelopment levels industrially at the beginning of the 20th century.
These extracts prove the extensive history that the town harbors, hidden behind many years of continuous labor, and show that it was not a walk in the park for anyone who contributed to its now unquestionable reputation. It was built from the ground up with hard work and resilience.