Let us also bring the neighbouring Hospital de Mujeres into the picture. Following the Bishop Lorenzo Armengual de la Mota´s eagerness and funded by the city itself, the spanish government and various private contributors, the building was inaugurated in October 1746.
Designed by architect Don Pedro Luis “Afanador”, it is laid out across 2 large patios among which a formidable staircase rises. Both patios look into the Nuestra Señora del Carmen’s Chapel. The backyard is a so-called “corral-circo”; an ample space that doubles as veggie growing land and lawn garden. Our house looked into this yard 2 centuries ago (not anymore…).
The original Hospital was in Columela Street but it soon became tiny for a city that had quickly grown up to a population of 70.000, in a period of frenzied maritime activity. In its over 300 years of existence it has given care to thousands of sick ladies and it has been of paramount importance in historically critical times such as the XIX Century epidemics, the African War or the Spanish Civil War.
It worked as a hospital up until 1963 and since then it is the Headquarters of the Episcopate in Cádiz and Ceuta and main office of Caritas (a catholic social service organization).