No children in Galvany anymore

by Kim Dorca

Galvany Market is still there

Galvany Market is still there

I lived in the neighbourhood from 1962 to 1988, and this is what it was those days: a place with neighbours. Catalan families that used to live in the downtown before the civil war, that moved to this area in 1939, many of them “returning to the city” after an internal exile in their summer residences –much safer for the bourgeois than the capital during the civil war- or returning Barcelona as winners of the war. Because Galvany was mainly a Catalan neighborhood composed by right winged families, if not francoist.

Before the war some industrial lords had a flat for their mistress in the area, and particularly there is a huge building near Via Augusta that was known as “El Rancho Grande” because of the big parties that they used to organise there. After the war, many of them did not want to return to the houses that were sacked by the anarchists in the down town, so they moved to the so called “upper diagonal area” and restarted their lives and families.

I remember the family names of the neighbours, doctor Carrasco (son of the Catalanist martyr Carrasco i Formiguera) had his office on the first floor, Baringo (a friendly francoist military that stayed in Barcelona after the war), Casanelles (a doctor), Pedret (good friends), Claret, Figueras, Alsius, Teischmann –yes, also prosperous Jews-, all bearing illustrious Catalan names.

Downstairs, the street was filled with shops, butcher (now an impersonal fashion franchise store), a “Granja” (Diary products that had a cow on their yard, now an impersonal fashion franchise store), a Toy store (now a tapas bar), a Bookstore (now another tapas bar)…

People used to live on a rental basis, they did not acquire the apartments. All those families do not live in the area anymore, the enormous 300 square meters flats are occupied by Advertising Agencies, TICS, TV Producers, Licensing companies, or Dentists. If any old widow still survives in the neighbourhood it’s bullied by the owner of the building, waiting for her to pass away in order to rent the flat for much more money, very sad altogether. Sad but true.

Now it’s a chic area to go and buy and party, and a good place to have your office. But has lost the families, and more important: the children, a bit sad to live there nowadays.

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Dec 19, 2016
Memories of the British Council
by: Simon Harris

Thank you so much for your fascinating insight, Kim.

I worked at the British Council on Carrer Amigó in the late 1990s so know the area reasonably well. I know it has an upmarket reputation but it was always possible to find relatively ordinary places to go and have something to eat or drink.

Now you mention it, I have to say that outside the classes that we used to give, it was relatively rare to see children and families.

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