Ferrol - Urban History
Late eighteenth-century factories and flour mills, in Xuvia (2004)

As the city was unable to get supplies from the outlying areas and had to obtain most of its grain by sea, the series of wars led to food crises in the second half of the eighteenth century. French merchants based in Ferrol organized supplies for the population and the Navy by importing grain from Philadelphia and the Baltic. Around the city a network of water mills sprang up: they used the latest French technology, and were used for milling grain (1776). This development would peak with the Royal Copper Factory in Xuvia (1791) which made copper sheeting to sheathe ships' hulls. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the collapse of the naval industry put an end to these hopes of diversifying the local economy.

Photograph by the author