Closure of the prison

1955 January

On January 1, 1955, prison records showed a total number of 252 inmates.

The adjoining photos, from Josep Postius photography studio, illustrate the last Mercè -Virgin of Mercy, patron saint of prisons- festivity, held in the prison before its closure, with the distribution of clothes by the director Hipólito Castelló.

On October 31 that same year, 263 prisoners and 19 children were transferred to the Presó Model, as documented in the prison archives. 

A new department for women was set up, out of a combination formed by the premises of the department for political prisoners, the room for the sexagenarians, an infirmary, and a laundry room. This implementation, claimed as "temporary" at the time, was in place until the opening of the Trinitat women's prison in 1963.

One of the women transferred was the communist militant Teresa Hernández -widow of the leader of the PSUC (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya) Roldán Cortada-, who had spent 15 consecutive years inside Les Corts. She left the prison the following year and was forced to live in the village of Pajarejos in the province of Avila. 

She was one of the few prisoners (or maybe the only one), to live, almost in its entirety, through the Francoist period of Les Corts.

The memory of the first "provincial women's prison" in Barcelona was thus scattered in the minds of thousands of women from that first generation of political prisoners of the Franco regime, many of whom continued fighting, inside in clandestinity or in the exile, such as Tomasa Cuevas, Soledad Real, María Salvo, Adelaida Abarca, Victoria Pujolar and many others.

Meanwhile, another generation of women had joined the struggle: those who inhabited the Model Prison during the second half of the fifties and, later, the new Trinitat prison. But that's another story.



Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona (AFB3-114). Diario de Barcelona. Foto Postius. 1955; PATRONATO CENTRAL DE REDENCIÓN DE PENAS POR EL TRABAJO (1956): 1955 Report; MARÍN, F.J. (2000): “Biografía de la presó Model de Barcelona”. Barcelona; CUEVAS GUTIÉRREZ, T.: Testimonios de mujeres en las cárceles franquistas (2004). Huesca; MOLINA JAVIERRE, P. (2010): La presó de dones de Barcelona. Les Corts (1939-1959). Barcelona; La Vanguardia Española, 25/09/1955 y 10/11/1955.