“El Siglo” have been destroyed by a colossal fire that popular trade in La Rambla, was an exponent of the Catalan market potentiality, on Sunday, burned in little more than two hours.” LVE 27/12/1932.
Some may remember the warehouse “El Siglo”. However, it may be that many of them are surprised that in the news they refer at “La Rambla”
The El Siglo stores, the ones that I remember when I was a little girl, were located in Pelayo Street, nowadays their premises are occupied by the company C & A.
However, the history of those warehouses began much earlier.
In 1881 Eduardo Conde, Ricardo Gómez and Pablo de Puerto created Conde, Puerto and company. a brand dedicated to retail and located of number 5th Rambla de los Estudios and numbers 10 and 12 on the Xuclá Street
In 1912 one of the founders Pablo Puerto died and the company was renamed Conde y Cía. In 1921 it became a limited company under the name of “Grandes Almacenes el Siglo”, a name that would remain until its demise.
When the big fire occurred, the stores occupied the numbers 3,the Rambla, 10, 12 and 14 on the Xuclá Street and number Bonsuccés Square.
Some data could give you an idea of the greatness of the establishment. “6,000 incandescent lamps with a total intensity of 500,000 spark plugs”. Do not ask me what does it mean translated into our language today, in any case many of what they were.
There were 1,050 employees working there, in addition to those who worked in the different garment factories that worked for them, approximately 600. They published 300,000 catalogs a year. They distributed 90,000 balloons among the small customers, 25 trucks covered their delivery service at home
All that turned to ash on Christmas Day 1932. Just when the houses of the locals were preparing to prepare the great Christmas dinner.
The disappearance of “El Siglo” changed the geography of the city. The warehouses occupied from the old Academy of Arts and Sciences, (in the photograph the building with flags, nowadays there is the Poliorama theater) to the building of the Tobacco Company of the Philippines. After the fire Pintor Fortuny Street was prolonged, appearing a new lateral facade. The other corner was occupied for many years by the Manila Hotel, today Meridien.
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