The people were now no longer creating
revolutions, but neither were they making pilgrimages to the Pantheon of
national glory. Instead, they were milling around the platforms on which
condemned prisoners were executed in full view of the public.
At this time also, the people were amusing
themselves at the Apolo theatre, or many other theatres which, those days,
opened their stages for small-time shows, folkloric and popular, in which the
old city saw itself realistically portrayed and its traditional occupations
Romantic and revolutionary from the years of
the thirties to the sixties, the people of Madrid will have become pure and
musical comedy by the eighties.
What had become then of the revolution and
the future Madrid.?
Well, of good order there was none, and as a
capital, a little there was in immediate years, and then, without capital and
good order, that revolution, with all its projects went up in smoke and air,
without the overthrow of class structure of Madrid of Isabel's time, and without
changing the shape of its capital.
The high society of Madrid, which had not
closed its salons even in the bitterest moments of the revolution, subjected
Amadeo of Savoy and his wife to an implacable ostracism, when, from the first
moment, they showed their feelings by displaying vacant balconies at the
palaces of the Medinaceli, Vistahermosa and Valmediano families, on the day of
the new king's entry into Madrid, they were yelling derisively throughout their
salons "Macarroni I."
There followed, only the vexations of
futility. If for the new queen it was difficult to find between the aristocracy
and the high nobility of Madrid who went to treat her respectfully, the Counts
of Heredia-Spinola had no objection that all them should have the opportunity to
celebrate in their salons, the birthday of Prince Alfonso.
Jose Varela, - who described these
secenes vividly, - recalls the security and control of the situation with
which the ladies of the aristocracy conspired openly for the restoration of the
monarchy. Indeed, to the point where the British ambassador would refer to it as
"the ladies' revolution."
The aristocracy of Madrid, their fortunes
now somewhat reduced but still with some power, had sufficient resources to join
talents with the canaille of the low neighborhoods, who would come out to the
streets, demonstrating against the republic and the nation, and for the monarchy
and the king.
The people's revolution of 1868 was
converted, without anyone scarcely noticing, by "the
ladies' revolution" of 1874, into the restoration of the monarchy.
And so, all that remained of the future
Madrid, of those six years of revolution and democracy, was the viaduct over
Calle Segovia, - inaugurated in October of 1894 - one of the most
considerable works of Madrid during the past century, - as was the
belief of Pedro de Répide, - and one of the first examples of iron
architecture; the mule-drawn tramway that, from 1871, connected the Barrio of
Salamanca to the Puerta del Sol; the omnibus lines and, above all, the rubble of
buildings that were.
With the City Hall of 1869 there fell the
churches of Santa Maria, Santa Cruz, and San Millán, the convents of
Santa Teresa, Maravillas, Santo Domingo, Calatravas and what remained of the
Carmen Descalzo, the Artillery Quarters and the Plaza de Toros, and all the
clay-walls that obstructed the lengthening of the streets of old Madrid.
Much tearing down and many little squares
and streets, but nothing, in truth that could merit the designation of a saving
revolution, which was, - according to Fernández de los Ríos,
- what Madrid needed.
But if that was true, it is also true that
once good order was re-established, and the revolution forgotten before any
fruits of an urban utopia were savored, Madrid became a strong focus of
attraction for migratory movements that, in less than thirty years will increase
the population of the city by 66 percent.
The 334,000 inhabitants of 1872 will be, at
the beginning of the 20th century, 540,000, the growth entirely due to
immigration. Madrid held still the demography typical of cities of the Old
Regime, in which more people died than were born, due to a high infant mortality
but also due to the scourge of incessant epidemics.
Cholera, grippe, and smallpox will cause
great havoc among people of Madrid, in various waves during the last decades of
For what do these immigrants come? How are
they occupied, how do they live? Where do they live.?
They are certainly not in industry. For if
the impression of a total inactivity after many years of revolution is false,
then also is an impression of industrial dynamism, to attract a growing number
of workers to big factories.
If no political revolution was capable of
abolishing forever the "spurious Bourbon line,"
if no social revolution caused the ruin of the nobility, neither did an
industrial revolution spur on the deliberate rhythm of production.
Madrid will enter the 20th century with an
industrial structure very similar to that which Madoz and Monlau portrayed for
it at middle of the 19th century.
What predominate are the shops and factories
for the production of goods for direct consumption by the population itself, and
of luxury articles destined to be purchased by the old nobility and by the newly
Still, at end of the century, it could be
said again that the enterprises in Madrid of greatest volume are the Mint, the
National Printing Office, the factories of Stamped pPaper, the Santa Barbara
Tapestry factory, the Florida porcelain factory, the Gas plant, and the no less
known institutions of Bonaplata, Safont and Sanford or the Martinez silverworks.
Certainly, the number of industrial plants
grew beyond the rate of growth of the city itself. If the population of Madrid
ranged around a quarter million toward mid-century, and then to pass the half
million mark by the beginning of the following century, the two thousand
industrial plants of 1850 will be near six thousand by 1905.
And the work-force will increase in almost
identical ration. Although the 1900 census will reach 45,000, - from a
mid-century count of 11,000,- it will be 68,163 by 1850, all occupied in
some industrial activity, including construction.
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