Ferrol - Urban History
Orphanage (2004)

Except for a brief lapse (1837-52) in which the new liberal state appeared to delegate to charitable organizations, social welfare depended on the city council. It did institute the Orphanage, the 'Casa de Socorro' and a soup kitchen (founded in 1892). The Orphanage was created in 1852, during a period of hunger following a virulent epidemic of cholera, with hundreds of poor people flowing into the city from the surrounding villages. Originally installed in the basement of the Charity Hospital, a new building was constructed for it at the start of the twentieth century, when the number of interns rose to 80. It was for 'orphaned, abandoned or poor boys and girls', and intended from the outset more for assistance than discipline. The children had priority to enter the Dockyards. They also formed a band, which performed at local festivals and funerals.

Photograph by the author