Sunday, 8 April 2007


The Catalans do beautiful things with bricks.

This building, designed by Pere Falqués and dating from 1897,
is on old power station. Lovingly preserved and converted into
company headquarters, in 1995 it belonged to Hidroelèctrica de
Catalunya, one of the Catalan electricity companies.

It was here that I got some help about how to find information
on the shelter.

I had gone back upstairs after that first exploration and picked up
the phone, angry that this silent, yet totally eloquent, witness to
the reality of war should be in such a state of abject abandon.

The Barcelona History Museum had no information and wasn't
sure where I could find any.

A little surprising.

More so as it turned out that a large part of the existing
documentation is held in municipal archives.

They did suggest, however, that I contact their Archaeology
Department and gave me a name and a number. The archaeologists
couldn´t help on the documentation either but, at least, promised
to come and look at the shelter.

I spent the weekend phoning people I knew who had some interest
in history. Most knew little or nothing but, coincidentally, two of
my students (I teach English) at the electricity company provided
some valuable information.

One remembered an article in the newspaper El Pais from the
previous year. A large underground shelter had appeared (briefly),
disappeared (rapidly) and reappeared (irrevocably) as a new car park.
He also suggested I contact a journalist called Huertas Claveria at
El Periódico.

The other said he thought a book he had about the history of Montjuïc
mentioned air raid shelters.....

His wife, an architect, had worked on some of the '92 Olympic
installations. The book, written by her boss and published by a
company that has been getting rich exploiting the mountain in one
way or another for over a hundred years, was a special edition, a gift
for the chosen, and not for sale to the public.

Can he check, please?

I wait while he gets the book.

"Yes, there's a section on civil defence and some plans of shelters
here. One from your street."

This is after all the negatives is incredible, it seems the book has a
plan of the shelter I have found.

He promises to lend me the book.

He also suggests I contact a journalist called Lluis Permanyer at La Vanguardia.

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