Did you know that there used to be a huge, octagonal market in Chamberí, or that the first passengers of one of Madrid’s metro lines were actually dead? Here are six old photographs and the forgotten stories behind them, but if you believe in ghosts, I recommend you scroll past number 3…
THE DEMOLITION OF MERCADO DE OLAVIDE
Plaza Olavide had an octagonal mercado on it from 1934 until its demolition in 1974. The demolition was a little more destructive than expected, shattering of dozens of windows belonging to nearby shop and homes.
THE OLD RIVER LAUNDRETTES
Last century, Madrid’s Río had a strong flow of water and was home to dozens of riverside laundrettes. If you sent your clothes to be cleaned, they’d be washed in the river and hung up to dry in the Spanish sun. That’s the palace in the distance – I wonder if the royal laundry was done in the river too.
THE METRO OF THE DEAD
Did you know that the first passengers of metro line 3 were dead? The metro travelled between Embajadores and Sol, secretly transporting victims of the Spanish Civil War out to their graveyards. At the time, many people would sleep in the stations as refuge from the ongoing fighting above, and after routinely seeing the coffins passing through, they nicknamed line 3 ‘the metro of the dead’.
THE OLD CORRALAS OF LAVAPIÉS
This is Lavapiés 100 years ago. You can still find it if you peep behind enough doors…
EL RASTRO: SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE
One hundred years later, this is still what a Sunday morning in El Rastro looks like…
THE GRAVEYARD OF THE POOR
Many families of the deceased weren’t able to pay for the palatial tombs of Madrid’s richer dead, nor could they even afford a niche in one of the afterlife tower blocks. Instead, they were buried with dirt and wooden crosses in a shady corner of La Almudena cemetery.
Discover more lost stories, including Atocha’s spaghetti junction, Madrid’s adopted temple to the Goddess Isis, and the ghosts of metro Tirso de Molina, all in Madrid’s lost stories Vol. I.