Gulbene's lost industry or untapped potential

Activities within the framework of the project “Lost Industry” organized by the Gulbene Regional Library with the support of the SCCF continue.

In April and May, we invited former employees of Gulbene Brewery and Bakery to a meeting at the Gulbene County Library to share their stories. In the first half of May, representatives of the Free Riga Association visited Gulbene to present the possibilities of reviving empty buildings.

On May 31, we visited the 4th workshop of the factory "Straume", which was shown to us by its long-term manager Dailis Kaparšmits. We walked around the factory territory at 77 Brīvības Street, getting to know the premises and recording their current condition, as well as finding out the history of the workshop. Thanks to the opportunity to obtain higher education, D. Kaparšmits settled in Gulbene and started working in the 4th workshop of “Straume”. Interesting are the facts about the former production both in the 15th district (Svelberg), where there was a foundry, and in the 16th district (77 Brivibas Street), where various types of assembly were performed. We found out what products were produced in these departments (for example, irons - the number of irons produced per day could reach up to 2,000, padlocks, windshields, kitchen boxes, different types of hinges, mailboxes for apartment houses, cages for canaries and many different things). 150 - 200 people have worked per day, the work has been organized in two shifts. The workshop was staffed by assemblers, punchers, an iron production team, casters - a team of ferrous metal casters - cast iron casters, as well as non-ferrous metal casters.

The conversation turned out to be really engaging, discussing philosophical issues about life, the universe, existence, discussing modern society - how to motivate people to think, work, create something new, about employers, employees and those who stay in the middle.

The meeting with the representative of the Kuldiga Restoration Center, restorer-consultant Jānis Mertens, which took place on June 7, was answered. We gained insight into the preservation of architectural and cultural heritage in Kuldiga, as well as participated in the window putting process.

During the summer months, we continue to process the information obtained in order to supplement the local history collection and create digital exhibitions on the website of the Gulbene Regional Library ( HERE ).

In the autumn, we plan to meet with experts in the urban environment and cultural heritage to gain knowledge and share experiences on how to preserve the industrial heritage, communicate with the municipality, entrepreneurs and architects.

We invite the employees of the 4th workshop of the factory “Straume” to apply, who have any photos related to the work process or items from the products produced at the time - irons, kitchen boxes, toys, etc.
See you at Gulbene County Library!

Inese and Herta,
Gulbene County Library