Archivo de la etiqueta: Protected Housing Act 1939


“The light came from a bulb in the center, with its white lampshade, hanging form some muddy cables”. Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, El Jarama, Ed. Destino, p. 162, 1955

The approach to the everyday is an exercise of great interest for the social science researcher, as it acts as laboratory evidence to which more generalist studies cannot reach. In our case, when we studied the characteristics of the electrical installations in the dwellings built by RENFE between 1939 and 1975, we were able to observe, on the one hand, the progressive improvement of these installations, and on the other hand, the abysmal difference between then and nowadays, brought about by a normative regulation that has introduced minimum comfort in dwellings, the first steps of which were taken around the middle of the 20th century.

Knowledge on the regulatory regime is a valid clue to study the process with a certain degree of order, which allows us to see how these regulations, with greater or lesser rigour, have been reflected in the construction projects, which in turn have evolved and, under the influence of new demands derived from an evident economic development, have increased the efficiency and quality of the installations, which had to be prepared for the entry of new household appliances and other additional installations in dwellings. In this sense, during the period under study, three standards were in force that regulated the electrical installations in the dwellings to be built: the 1933 Regulations on Electrical Reception Installations (RIER), the 1955 Low Voltage Electrotechnical Regulations (REBT) and the new 1973 electrotechnical regulations (REBT), which represented a qualitative leap in the characteristics (capacity, quality, safety, etc.) of the electrical installations in newly constructed buildings. As can be seen, each standard was in force for about twenty years, which shows an accelerated modernisation of these installations. Sigue leyendo


At the beginning of this note, it is appropriate to indicate the reasons for the chronology used, which will be common in most of the texts published in this blog related to Spanish railway housing in the second half of the 20th century. The extreme dates are marked by two laws, that of 1939, which promoted the construction of protected housing, and that of 1989, on measures to finance protected housing, which would entail a significant change in the trajectory of social housing in Spain, since that a good part of the regulatory and promotional powers would pass to the Autonomous Communities, as established by the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

Thus, in the period 1949-1989 we have been able to count the construction of some 20,000 homes for railway workers, which were largely built by the workers themselves, as cooperatives and with the aim of gaining access to a home of their own.

RENFE’s housing stock for its employees increased considerably during this period, as can be seen from the fact that, in addition to the 7,000 homes for rent, some 2,500 homes were also built on loan for strategic positions for personnel from the Circulation and Works services. In addition, the company also owned housing that had been built by the former railway companies (before 1936) and were still in use. Finally, other companies in the railway sector, of a regional or local nature, also built homes for their employees, although in a much lower number (figure 1). Sigue leyendo


1939: Law on protected housing and creation of the INV. The first regulation of this period was the law of 19 April 1939 (and its implementing regulation of 8 September 1939), which corresponded to a clearly autarkic stage of the regime and to the Falangist and centralising vocation of the time, combined with large doses of pragmatism in its application. This law would remain in force until the promulgation of the 1954 law and the regulations on protected housing would take the form of the first test of a housing plan between 1944 and 1954. It coexisted with the regulations for subsidized, social, low income and minimum income housing.

This law is a consequence of the great deficiencies in housing that existed in the country, especially in the large cities, derived from previous years, when housing was still not valued as an essential good and a dispersed and poorly executed rental system survived, together with the damage caused in the Civil War. Furthermore, we know that the Spanish housing stock was very old and in need of intense renovation. To this was added the post-war Spanish demographic growth and the process of rural-urban migration. Hence the urgency of the law and the clear ideological identification of the regime. In other words, an ideological project was being constructed, in which housing had a special relevance, which was sustained by the trilogy of home, family and state. Sigue leyendo