|Reus during the childhood of Gaudí|
|In 1852, Reus was the second population of Catalonia, and would continue being it during the rest of the 19th century. It went from the 20.000 inhabitants.|
There was a considerable cotton industry in the city. The most important was the Fabril Cotonera, of some 600 workers. Canals, Pamies, Huguet and Cía, with 400 workers, followed it; and the Societat Reusenca, with 150, that for having been the first on installing a steam engine, in 1843, was known like "Steam Old". With the auxiliary industries and other bouquets, they occupied some 8.000 workers. They were not family, but anonymous companies, and soon in Reus there would be a Stock Exchange, like in Barcelona, the railway would be promoted and, in 1862, the Bank of Reus would be set up.
Moreover, whole neighborhoods devoted to the agriculture and crowd of artisans still remained; and the city demisted its role of commercial capital of the region of the Field of Tarragona.
Reus remembered how in 1843 -the year in which the parents of the Anton were married- the city had been pronounced, like Barcelona, against the regent Espartero and, also like Barcelona, was bombed by the general Zurbano, who caused severe damages. At the head of the troops who defended Reus there was the young colonel Prim.
The progresses Biennium, of 1854 to 1856, when Gaudí grew from two to four years, had an extended support in Reus. The strikes and revolts were frequent, but did not affect the Fabril Cotonera, the owners of which were progressive bourgeoisies, that backed up Mendizábal -the one who had disentailed the ecclesiastical goods and had sold them to very low price to the new capitalists- and they funded the general Prim.
In September of 1854, the epidemic of cholera caused 354 deaths.
When Anton was eight years old, the victories in the War of Africa (1859-1860) were celebrated intensely. The most famous was that of Tetuan, on the 7th February of 1860, where the general Prim had a protagonist role. The patriotic enthusiasm was extraordinary on receiving the battalions that came back from Morocco and, especially, in the welcome to the general Prim, on the 14th October, enthroned like popular hero.
In those years, suns were schooled 15% of the children of Reus, more or less half in private schools -like the brothers barons Gaudí- and half in private schools.
The press of Barcelona, of all trends, arrived to Reus. The dean was the "Diario de Barcelona", of Catalan conservative ideology. In Reus they published the "Diario de Reus", of conservative character, and "El Eco del Centro de Lectura", literary and scientific review, that the government suppressed in 1862 to spread democratic ideas.
Moreover, every class of books, goblins and publications with ideas about every type were distributed. The Centro de Lectura was the more important intellectual institution.
|Josep Maria Tarragona, Novemeber 2, 2006||