Sunday, 12 September 2021

After 70 years of sleep, the Le Gall cannery reopens in Loctudy


Closed in 1955, the former Le Gall fish cannery in Loctudy (29), which has become an eco-museum, opens its doors on Friday. This site, unique in France, is a rare witness to the history of Breton preserves.

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Loctudy (29). The Le Gall cannery opens its doors on Friday Posted on September 07, 2021 at 5:40 p.m. Modified on September 08, 2021 at 10:36 a.m. Enlarge To print Web version Journal version

Five years were needed to complete the project to restore and enhance the former Le Gall cannery in Loctudy (29). It has kept all its charm with its exposed stone walls, beams and strange tools from another age that are just waiting to come to life.

The workshop has been remarkably restored. The manufacturing workshop has been remarkably restored (Le Télégramme / Patrick Théallet) A hold nearby to facilitate the unloading of fish An emblematic place in the history of the Bigoudene commune, the cannery was built in 1900-1901 by Jean-Marie Vallière des Filières, a trader-trader from Ille-et-Vilaine. The land is located near the shore where a hold is built to facilitate the unloading of fish. However, the cannery never really took off: strikes followed the long sardine crisis and, despite initial investments, it remained on the fringes of the technical changes of the time and remained semi-artisanal.

Historical testimony The factory was then bought, in 1919, by Alexis Le Gall, a native of Douarnenez (29). This modernized the cannery and increased its productivity by investing in mechanical seamers and a steam boiler. He also installs the electricity and the telephone. About forty women then made high-end products.

Boiler, autoclaves, topping and conditioning tables have been restored by local companies. Boiler, autoclaves, topping and packaging tables have been restored by local companies (Le Télégramme / Patrick Théallet) The factory slows down during the war and, after a bad fishing season, the cannery ceases its activity in 1955 for lack of buyer. Despite inactivity, most of its premises are kept and its machines are maintained thanks to the perseverance and the purchase of the site by Jean-Baptiste Chapalain, husband of Alexis Le Gall's granddaughter.

Everything threatened to fall apart This working production tool is the last historical witness of its kind in France. Its owner approached the municipality at the time, but the latter did not have the necessary means to carry out such a project on its own. In 2014, given the deterioration of buildings, there is an emergency. “Everything threatened to collapse,” remembers Pierre Quillivic, works assistant. In 2015, precautionary measures were then taken by the Drac (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs). The machines and equipment were classified as a Historic Monument in 2016 and, that same year, the town hall of Loctudy acquired the entire site.

The entire site has been restored: the tide store, the mansion and the manufacturing workshop and its 19th century industrial architecture, with its jagged roof and chimneys. The entire site has been restored: the tide store, the mansion and the manufacturing workshop, with its 19th century industrial architecture, with its jagged roof and brick chimneys (from right to left ) (Pierre Quillivic) Cost of the work: 2.1 M € In 2018, the site was included in the list of 270 monuments of the Heritage Loto . The town is no longer alone. The project benefits from substantial financial support from numerous public authorities (State, Region, Department, Europe, community of municipalities) and from private partnerships, through corporate sponsorship. The overall cost of the operation amounts to € 2.1 million, subsidized up to 80%.

To read on the subject Conserverie Le Gall: catering on the move After two years of work and nearly 70 years of sleep, this exceptional heritage has been saved. The former Le Gall cannery will open its doors to the public on Friday. Access is via the old tide store, transformed into a reception area coupled with a shop. The visit continues with the dining room and Alexis Le Gall's office, reconstructed identically.

Alexis le Gall's office has been restored identically. Alexis le Gall's office has been restored identically (Le Télégramme / Patrick Théallet) A human adventure

After crossing the small garden, visitors approach the factory through the sauce preparation workshop to finally enter the manufacturing workshop. The factory is equipped with numerous explanatory panels, screens and audiovisual and interactive tools which retrace the different phases of the production of the product: topping, drying, cooking, oiling, crimping, sterilization. The careful scenography highlights the condition of women, the difficulty of their daily lives and their struggles. More than an industrial epic, the Le Gall cannery tells the story of a human adventure.

Le Gall cannery museum , 8, impasse du Nord in Loctudy (29). Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.