Relief Companies

Many of the Alt Empordà villages have buildings, depending on the place, called unions, “centers”, athenians, casinos … which are often the nerve center of the social life of the people, a place for meetings and social gatherings, dances and theaters. , or cards and domino games.

These buildings are the former headquarters of entities that played a very important role among our people: relief societies. Relief companies began to be created in the last quarter of the 19th century, when the collective of industrial and agricultural workers needed to protect themselves against illnesses, accidents, deaths …

Relief societies charged a fee to each member who would serve to cover him in the event of an accident, illness, death or other importunis, they would be the precursors of social security.

Societies were thus an important place, and also a meeting place for the people of the village to discuss the future.

They organized dances and parties, and were often the place to play cards, meetings, meetings … and although many were banned in their statutes from talking about politics, it was impossible for them to not arise and be manifest during the republic, war and after war even different societies are created depending on the political side.

These societies had such inspirational names as union, fraternity, concord … and often built important buildings to be the seat of their affairs. These buildings are those that have left us a legacy today, many of them of great architectural interest, being a civil architectural sample from modernism to neoclassicism.

Today, these old buildings have ceased to be used as relief societies ceased to have a meaningful meaning when social security began to be used in the 1960’s, but many ‘when they become municipal property, they are still today the meeting places of the town, where parties and dances are held, and where people find themselves for chatting, playing cards or having coffee.

We propose a short tour of these little gems of our historical memory, silent testimonies of the political and social revolution of the late nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century. If you listen, you will still hear the conversations, the banging noise, the shouting and the joy of many of our men who found solace and place of expression here.

Union de Maçanet de Cabrenys:

The building dates from 1906, it is modernist in style and was built by Josep Azemar. Its eight Mozarabic openings stand out on the three arches corresponding to the door and the two windows of the building. ground floor. The second floor is of exposed brick and is finished off by four cornices spread at the same distance at the top of the facade. Two stone reliefs stand out, one with the shield of the Union and the other with the year of construction of the building.

La Concordia de Darnius:

Building of a single nave at double height, of rectangular plan and remarkable dimensions . It was built by Azemar. The architecture of the Concord is characterized by a very elementary structure, a circumstance that does not try to hide in the decorative side; on the contrary, this is the result of a sober and calculated use of different materials.

Thus, the exposed brick serves to emphasize doors and windows thanks to its application in the jambs and thresholds; on the other hand we notice the moderate use of ceramics. This architecture must be considered within the modernist movement, albeit with Noucentista features.

La Concordia de Agullana:

Designed in 1912 and built in 1913, it is a building located in the center of the village, with a single nave at double height, with a rectangular floor plan and large (14x28m). It is juxtaposed to another building, also rectangular in shape, used as a cinema. The architect Azemar applied structures and concepts similar to those built in Darnius and Maçanet de Cabrenys. The roof is on two sides. It is characterized by a simple syntax of elements and an almost complete lack of decorations. These are limited to underlining doors and windows.

Thus the brick seen in the stripes separating the different spaces of the facades and the moderate use of ceramics become the only materials that articulate the facade. It lies between modernism and noucentisme. La Concordia has been and is the place of meeting and celebration of the people of Agullana.

The Mutual Aid Society of the Jonquerque Union: The Mutual Aid Society of the Jonquerian Union was founded in 1902, by the merger of four existing mutual relief societies in La Jonquera, La Industrial, the Old Junquerense, the Blessed Sacrament and Loyalty. These merging societies were founded in the mid-19th century, like most mutual relief societies in neighboring municipalities.

Between 1915 and 1919 the Society bought the current building, which had been a stopper factory, Customs, Center for Passenger Transport and the College of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. In 1919 it was built in the courtyard annexed to the building, the ballroom and shows.

Currently apart from Bar, the offices of the Jonquerenca Union Society and the Entertainment Room, on the upper floors it houses the Grandpa’s House and the Municipal Public Library.

It continues with the years, like one of the neural centers of the social and cultural activities of the Villa

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