Graphic Chronicle from the Ministry of Finance (1852 - 2007) (1852 - 2007)
Chapter: "The Royal Customs Office (Real Casa de Aduana) and the building for the expansion of the Ministry of Finance" (accessible HTML text)
Image: Old photograph taken around 1949 of the facade of the building for the Expansion of the Ministry of Finance taken at street level next to the building.
Narrator: After having served many years as the Royal Customs House and the Incomes Office, Alexander Mon, the minister, ordained that I should become the Treasury.
Image: Old photograph of the Ministry of Finance taken from the balcony of one of the buildings located in Alcalá Street, towards Puerta del Sol.
Narrator: Now I think about it, my life has always revolved around problems of space; a space that is not there in the street from which to contemplate me as I deserve, and another, necessary to allow me to adapt to the great volume of work generated by the Public Treasury.
Image: Old photograph taken from a balcony of one of Puerta del Sol buildings overlooking Alcalá Street. In the background, the Ministry of Finance building can be seen.
Image: Old photograph of an office at the Ministry of Finance building. There are tables and shelves full of folders and papers.
Narrator: This was what happened in the House of Ministers, also designed by Sabatini, and situated in the Spanish Navy Square, which among other functions had formerly housed the Treasury.
Image: Old photograph of the House of Ministries (Casa de los Ministerios) at the Marina Española Square.
Narrator: It was 1845, and with the renovation of the Sol Gateway in full cry, they named me to be the Treasury.
Image: Current view of the roofs of Madrid taken from the terrace of the Ministry of Finance.
Image: Current view of the facade of the Ministry of Finance building.
Narrator: The city was slowly changing before my very eyes, as was I. The ministerial rank brought me a deserved facelift. My facade was cleaned well, and my two main offices, the Goya Room and the Charles III Room were renovated.
Image: Old photograph of the facade of the Ministry of Finance taken from the balcony of a building located in Alcalá Street, overlooking Cibeles Square. We can see a lot of old cars and people walking along the pavement.
Image: Current view of one of the four cantilevers that hold the balcony which decorates the facade of the Ministry of Finance and represents a monster with a lion head.
Image: General view of the Goya Hall and the Carlos III Hall.
Narrator: And with the 20th century already well underway, the neighbouring building plots were bought up to create more space. They had been occupied by the Palace of the Marquis of Torrecilla, and were destroyed in the civil war. Their baroque facade is all that remains, and this was declared a historic artistic monument.
Image: Current view of both facades of the Ministry of Finance and of the Palace of Marqués de Torrecilla.
Image: Several old photographs of the site where the Palace of the Marqués de Torrecilla was built and of its facade which was underpinned after the Civil War bombings.
Narrator: Since they could see that I was pressed for space, they raised up a fourth and fifth story, and realised one of the reforms that most I like. This was the creation of the cupola situated in one of my courtyards. Constructed in the second half of the last century by the architect Galmés de Fuentes, it served initially as the strong-room of the General Deposit Bank.
Image: Old photograph of the roof-top of the Ministry of Finance.
Image: Old photograph of the clock on the roof-top of the Ministry of Finance.
Image: Three old photographs of the construction of the dome. In the first two photographs, we can see the wooden casing installed to build the dome, and in the last one, we can observe workers laying concrete and completing the construction of the dome.
Narrator: At the present time beneath the cupola one finds the new Central Library. Let’s have a look, shall we... The Central Library is one of the most beautiful spots I want to show you. It was finished in 2002, and while the space is put to optimum use in its new function, it respects in every way its original form, and one is treated to a clear view of the cupola from all the angles within.
Image: Current view of the dome taken from the building roof-top.
Image: General view of the library taken from the second floor.
Image: View of the centre of the library taken from the first floor.
Image: View of the ground floor of the library. The camera moves backwards into a main corridor.
Narrator: The year after the Hall of José Echegaray was finished, a centre for conferences and press conferences.
Image: General view of the José Echegaray Hall. It looks like a very small auditorium with many seats and on the stage there is a big table with four chairs and a pulpit to address the audience.
Narrator: Madrid and I have both changed to adapt to the new times. But sometimes, looking back, I miss some things. I miss the Church of Great Success in the Sol Gateway, or the Central Stagecoach Station, or those horse-drawn wagons that passed before my eyes all the days, or the Peninsular Hotel...
Image: Late 70’s photograph of Alcalá Street taken at street level towards Cibeles Square. It is raining and people are walking along the pavement with their umbrellas opened.
Image: Current view taken from the same place; it’s not raining now, and cars and buses are much more modern.
Image: Old photograph of the Buen Suceso Church at Puerta del Sol.
Image: Old photograph of the Casa Central de Diligencias. We can see many horse carts stationed at a side of the street, and others circulating along that street.
-- End of the chapter --