Colonia Güell History

The construction of the Colonia Güell began in 1.890 by the initiative of the entrepreneur Eusebio Güell in his country estate «Can Soler de la Torre», located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló, region of Baix Llobregat.

The interest of escaping the social conflicts arisen in the city made the new industry to be conceived within the framework of an industrial colony; with housing of the workers next to the mill, within the property, constituting an urban nucleus with its own social and economic life albeit overseen by the company.

In contrast to most industrial colonies in Catalonia, Eusebio Güell worked to improve the social conditions of his workers and applied his cultural patronage in the Colonia, providing it with cultural and religious facilities of a modernist design which were developed by different architects, most notably Gaudí to whom he entrusted the building of the church.

The master builders also left the imprint of their talent in many of the buildings as can be seen in many different facades and cornices.

The industrial colonies where conceived as a socioeconomic organization whose main goal was industrial productivity. The mill took up most of the time of the men and women of the colony, for them it was the guarantee of having a regular income in times of economic scarcity.

However, over the years, trade unions and the workers movement arose in the colony. In the beginning of the civil war the mill was collectivized and run by its workers. At the end of the war, the mill was given back to its owner, the Güell family who in 1.945 sold it to the Bertrand y Serra family. Over the next few years the mill continued its industrial production and own municipal personality, separate to that of Santa Coloma de Cervelló who began to grow and surpass the colony terms of population during the 1960’s.

During the uncontrolled urban development of the 60’s and 70’s, the Colonia Güell remained intact as its main goal was textile production. During the textile crisis of 1.973 the mill ceased its production which had a big social impact in the Colonia. Over the next few years, the property was sold; the mill was divided and sold to different companies, the houses to their inhabitants and the facilities and land to the public institutions.

In 1990 the Colonia Güell was declared «Heritage of Cultural Interest» by the Spanish government and the protection of some of its most relevant buildings was established as well as the building standards for the future.

old mill, church, consumer cooperative and Gaudí path. In 2002, Gaudí year, a new car park for visitors was built as well as the organization for the visits to the totality of the Colonia.

Gaudi’s Crypt History

When Eusebi Güell tasked his good friend Antoni Gaudí with the design and construction of the church he said, word by word, do as you please. He set no limits or barriers, neither in the budget nor in how the construction had to be done, and, as would be seen eventually, not even in the timeframe to build the church.

In 1.898 Eusebio Güell commissioned the architect Antonio Gaudí the project of a church for the textile estate of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. Over the next few years, Gaudí carried out various preliminary studies which culminated in a model which was placed in a pavilion located in the hill were the building would later be erected.

The construction of the temple began in 1.908. However, the ambitious project which foresaw a church with two naves, lower and upper, topped by different towers and a 40 meters high central dome would remain unfinished. In 1.914 the Güell family decided to stop financing the church and Gaudí abandoned the project. In November 1.915 the bishop of Barcelona consecrated the lower nave, the only one to have been built, which made the church be popularly known as the crypt. Between 1.915 and 1.917 a new architect closed of the nave

Even though the church remained unfinished, the church is a culminating point Gaudi’s works. This construction includes for the first time practically all of his architectural innovations.

The Crypt was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.

Historia de la fábrica

La fábrica fue el núcleo central y la razón de ser de la Colonia Güell. Dedicada a la producción de terciopelos y panas, su principal diferencia con las fábricas textiles de la época es que utilizaba carbón en lugar de energía hidráulica.

La fábrica se empezó a construir en 1890. Justo un año después estaba acabado el primer edificio y se puso en funcionamiento la máquina de vapor de la hilatura. Después se fueron acabando de construir los otros edificios destinados a tintes, secadores, telares etc. que completaban el proceso de transformación del algodón.

Cada uno de los edificios que conformaban la fábrica se destinaba a un trabajo determinado dentro de este proceso de transformación del algodón en tejidos. Todo el transporte de materiales entre los diferentes edificios se realizaba mendiante una red de raíles y vagonetas que recorrían todo el recinto.

El movimiento sindical y las reivindicaciones obreras llegaron también a la Colonia. Al inicio de la Guerra Civil en el año 1936 la fábrica fue colectivizada y gestionada por los trabajadores. Acabada la guerra se restituyó la propiedad a la familia Güell, que en 1945 la vendió a la familia Bertrand Serra.

Factory History

The factory of the Colonia Güell was its central nucleus and raison d’etre. Dedicated to the production of several types of cloths, its main difference with other textile factories of the time was that it used coal in lieu of hydraulic enery.

Construction of the factory began in 1890. A mere year later the first building was completed and the steam machine dedicated to spinnin was started. Afterwards, the rest of the buildings, each aimed at drying, tinting, etc in order to complete cotton’s process of transformation.

Each of the buildings that made up the factory had a different role in the process of transforming cotton into fabric. A set of rails and cartwheels were installed throughout the factory in order to facilitate the transportation of materials between the aforementioned buildings.

Labor movements and social revolution eventually hit the Colonia as well. When the Civil War started in 1936 the factory was taken over by its workers. It was not until the war ended that ownership was restored to the Güell family; it was subsequently sold to the Bertrand Serra family in 1945.

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