The Reina Victoria quarter



A walk through the Reina Victoria Quarter is not only the recognition of a group of whitewashed houses with British-like decorative features intertwined with those inspired in Muslim architecture. Walking these streets is rather a rediscovery of a 19th-century area from a time when the history of Huelva was based on industry and British mining companies.


The Rio Tinto Company Ltd. conceived a quarter to house its workers in a zone which is today the city centre of Huelva. The quarter – declared as Historical Complex – now has a heterogeneous appearance due to the different building phases and enlargements of architects Gonzalo Aguado and José María Pérez Carasa’s original project in 1916.

The Design

The original design of the quarter was that of an idealized garden-city – nine parallel streets and two right-angled ones opposing to them, with gardens on their intersections and a great public square. People could enter the quarter on foot through some gates opening to stairs with lateral ramps on their intermediate flights. The quarter had a road for vehicles on its outer part so that people could walk the inner part.

The Houses

n 1916, the local architects’ project consisted of 71 identical, independent, buildings with a single, T-shaped floor consisting of a kitchen-dining room, two or three bedrooms, and toilets. The rest of the plot would be used for green belts. The houses had gable roofs with wooden roof arches and suspended ceilings of wattle and plaster. The walls were rendered and whitewashed.

In 1918, architect R. H. Morgan started working in the quarter by reforming the ground plan of the buildings – three houses ended looking the same. Between

1923 and 1926, a different model of two-floor building was made so that each block contained four houses. The main façades had gables made of wooden lattice and gable roofs.

The people of Huelva find the 19th century already a distant age, but history is a constant presence in the quarter commonly known as “Barrio Obrero”. Here, mining companies, British exploitations, and working-class population meet in these streets where the city of the past subtly takes over the city of the present.