A HISTORY OF SOAP
In April 2022 the Menador Espai Cultural in Castelló hosted a new exhibition on the history of soapmaking in Castelló, which was organized by the Universitat Jaume I (UJI).
The province of Castellón has played a long and important role in the history of soap manufacturing. Indeed, over the years soap has been produced in numerous homes, yet it has also been manufactured by a powerful industry. The exhibition explored the history behind this sector, as well as its social and economic importance during the twentieth century.
The curating of this display was based on the research carried out by Ramón Feenstra, a lecturer at the UJI and author of the book Historia del jabón. 100 años de Jabones Beltrán (Dykinson, Madrid). The exhibition was undertaken as one of the UJI-Encultura projects, which is supported by the Service for Sociocultural Activities, in conjunction with
The exhibition included 12 panels that combined a selection of written and visual testimonies documenting key moments in Castelló’s history of soapmaking. The panels covered key historical moments such as the civil war, the post-war period and the subsequent transition to democracy. In addition, the exhibition included an explanation of the stages involved in manufacturing this centuries-old product.
Four contrasting audiovisual testimonies – relatives of well-known soap manufacturing companies, a chemist specialized in soapmaking and the exhibition’s curator – provided first-hand accounts of their experiences of working with soap.
An impressive selection of historical objects and documents were also exhibited, and they provided insights into the production and consumption of this essential commodity, as well as the industry that produces it.