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A Civil War air-raid shelter discovered in a private house of Girona

Ca la Cecília air-raid shelter was carved out of the mountainside in the shape of a mine gallery. Built in solid brick and measuring 5.33 m in length and 2.20 m at its highest point, the cavity could hold 16 persons. The shelter had an electric light system, and an emergency exit through a vertical flue which also provided ventilation.

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During the three-year duration of the Spanish Civil War, building and fitting out air-raid shelters in private houses was very common. Until the end of 1937, the authorities in Girona opted for private shelters as the simplest, fastest and cheapest way to protect the population from the bombs, instead of building new, collective refuges. In July 1937, the Passive Defence Board published a set of instructions for building shelters and, in November of the same year, provided the citizens with some technical resources, in order to bring the task under a certain amount of control and supervision. In the old city centre, Carrer del Carme and Les Pedreres, the advantages of uneven levels between streets, stretches of defence wall hidden behind houses, old lanes half-buried under raised main streets, and solid houses with thick party walls were all pressed into service for building shelters. When the bomb sirens were heard, most families took refuge under the stairs of their house, lined the walls with mattresses, hid under the dining room table, or placed a pile of mattresses and blankets on top of a bed and crawled under it for safety. Jaume Prat and Jordi Pericot discovered a private air-raid shelter at the back of a 1920s house in Les Pedreres.


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