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Beautiful Vintage Photos depict Barcelona in the 1960s

Ian Smith

Xavier Miserachs is one of the quintessential Spanish photographers from the 60’s generation in Barcelona.  Born in Barcelona in 1937, during his medical studies, he became interested in photography.

He was one of the essential Spanish photographers among  Oriol Maspons, Leopoldo Pomes and Ramon Masats who developed and promoted a new photographic style.

Miserachs was initially a street photographer who had captured the life and ambiance on Barcelona streets during the 60’s.

Balmes Street, Diagonal District, Barcelona

Balmes Street, Diagonal District, Barcelona

 

Carrer Escudellers Street 1962

Carrer Escudellers Street 1962

 

Carrer Pelai Street 1962

Carrer Pelai Street 1962

 

El Born District, Barvelona 1962

El Born District, Barcelona 1962

The history of Barcelona stretches back well over 2000 years to its origins as an Iberian village named Barkeno. Its easily defensible location on the coastal plain between the Collserola ridge (512 m) and theMediterranean sea, the coastal route between central Europe and the rest of the Iberian peninsula, has ensured its continued importance, if not always preeminence, throughout the ages.

Barcelona is currently a city of 1,620,943, the second largest in Spain, and the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Its wider urban region is home to three-quarters of the population of Catalonia and one-eighth of that of Spain.

During the 60s, Spain was under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The resistance of Barcelona to Franco’s coup d’état was to have lasting effects after the defeat of the Republican government. The autonomous institutions of Catalonia were abolished and the use of the Catalan language in public life was suppressed and forbidden, although its use was not formally illegalised as often claimed. Barcelona remained the second largest city in Spain, at the heart of a region which was relatively industrialised and prosperous, despite the devastation of the civil war.

Immigrants near the French station 1962

Immigrants near the French station 1962

 

Passeig de Gracia Avenue , Barcelona 1962

Passeig de Gracia Avenue , Barcelona 1962

 

sereno delante del restaurante los caracoles 1962

Office in front of restaurants Los Caracoles 19962

 

The Compliment on Via Laietana Street, Barcelona 1962

The Compliment on Via Laietana Street, Barcelona 1962

 

 

The result was a large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain (particularly Andalucia, Murcia and Galicia),  which in turn led to rapid urbanisation. The district of Congrés was developed for the International Eucharistic Congress in 1952,while the districts of El Carmel, Nou Barris, El Verdum and Guinardó were developed later in the same decade.Barcelona’s suburbs, such as L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Bellvitge, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Adrià de Besòs, and Badalona, also saw a dramatic population increase over a single decade.

The increase in the population led to the development of the metro network, the tarmacking of the city streets, the installation of traffic lights and the construction of the first rondas or ringroads. The provision of running water, electricity and street lighting also had to be vastly improved, if not always fast enough to keep pace with the rising population.

The massive immigration not only left a city which was extremely densely populated (1,557,863 inhabitants, 15,517 per km², in 1970), often housed in very poor quality accommodation, but also contributed to the decline of the specifically Catalan culture of Barcelona. While the use of Catalan in private was tolerated in the later years of the dictatorship, the immigrants to Barcelona spoke only Spanish. Catalan-language education was unavailable, even if there had been any social pressure to learn the local language (which was far from the case in urban areas

The Hostel on Arc de Sant Pau Street

The Hostel on Arc de Sant Pau Street

 

The Latin Cinema and The Office of Football, Las Ramblas Street, Barcelona 1962

The Latin Cinema and The Office of Football, Las Ramblas Street, Barcelona 1962

 

Traffic Safety

Traffic Safety

Tram Number 36 1965

Tram Number 36 1965

 

Two Ladies on the Plaza Real Square, Barcelona 1962

Two Ladies on the Plaza Real Square, Barcelona 1962

 

Two Seater in Castelldefels 1962

Two Seater in Castelldefels 1962