The British Presence
in Southern Patagonia

++ Frigorífico Río Seco, Punta Arenas, 1935 ++

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The Río Seco Freezer Works (1905-1964), built and operated by the London-based South American Export Syndicate, was the first of its kind in Southern Patagonia. The principal partners in this enterprise were the shipping company Houlder Brothers & Co., with Mauricio Braun, Bermúdez y Cía. and Juan Blanchard providing the local capital. This type of plant (frigorífico) was a major advance advance on predecessor fat-rendering plants (graserías), since it allowed a complete and more profitable processing of the sheep. Specialized equipment was brought from Britain, and operated by experienced British personnel.

The best-known manager was Tom P. Jones: see the British names mentioned in his book. Carlos Foresti (Puerto Bories, 1918) presents a more complete photographic record of this type of works. This 1911 postcard records an earlier stage in the plant's existence.

>>> Click on any of the images to popup a larger copy <<<

Aerial views
aerial view from seaward aerial close-up aerial view from landward
from seaward plant in close-up from landward
Sea-level views
seaward approach view at sea-level
entire complex closer-up
Sections and personnel
slaughter-house butchers inspectors?? dining room
slaughter-house butchers inspectors?? dining room
cold store machine room
cold store machine room
Other installations
housing hide drying
employee housing?? hide drying ground

Source (photographs): Thomas S. Boyd (1876-1966) family album
Source (old postcard): Robert Runyard
Source (historical background): "Menéndez y Braun, Prohombres Patagónicos", Mateo Martinic, Punta Arenas 2001
Note: These photographs are presented online for educational purposes only: commercial use is not authorized.
Thanks: Marie Boyd, for authorizing this publication
More photos by Thomas Boyd: Shetland, Glasgow, Colombia
Updated: 16 April 2006