The three chimneys of La canadenca, an icon of Barcelona

Near one of our electic bike tours in Barcelona, the neighborhood of Poble Sec in Barcelona hides one of the most interesting points of the city, not only for its architecture but for the history behind it. These are the three chimneys of La canadenca. Do you know that some of the work improvements of today were achieved thanks to the strike that began in the electricity sector, with La canadenca as the central axis? We explain you.

Three chimneys Barcelona

Three chimneys in the middle of the city

la canadenca barcelona

In the Sants-Montjuïc district we find the three chimneys located in the facilities that had been the headquarters of Fecsa-Endesa. Each one of the chimneys measures 72 m in height and up to 4 m in diameter, some buildings that have become the emblem of the neighborhood.

The Sociedad Española de Electricidad, founded in 1881, settled in the industrial complex of Poble Sec in 1883 with the aim of producing electrical energy for Barcelona. It was the first thermal plant that settled in the city. But it was not until 1896 that the first chimney was built.

The demand for electricity grew once in the twentieth century, and it was then that the other two chimneys were built, one in 1908 and the other in 1912. At that time, Canadian engineer Frederick Stark Pearson acquired the factory turned it into what we now know as La canadenca (The Canadian).

In the 1950s the electricity company FECSA was born, and to centralize its services, a large building was built around the three chimneys. In 1987, however, it was dismantled due to environmental and safety reasons, with the exception of the chimneys that are conserved until today.

La canadenca strike

La canadenca strike

The industrial complex and the three chimneys of La canadenca name one of the most important strikes in Catalonia. In 1919 the electric company Riegos and Fuerzas del Ebro wanted to lower workers' wages, and many were fired when they protested. In solidarity with colleagues, many workers in the electricity sector were declared in strike, and the news spread throughout Barcelona to declare a general strike of electric, gas and water companies. This strike paralyzed the city for 44 days, until La canadenca manager agreed to negotiate with the strike committee. Thanks to this firm and determined Spanish labor movement, considerable labor improvements were achieved, such as better wages, re-admission of dismissed workers or the decree of 8-hour work days. This general strike occurred in history as the strike of La Canadenca, an example of what can be achieved with the union of workers for a common cause.

 If you want to discover other special places of Barcelona like Montjuïc or La Sagrada Família, book one of our ebike tours Barcelona. Don’t miss the experience of a bike ride in Barcelona.