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Restoration work at Tarancón hospital site reaches final stretch

Máximo Molina provides the following translation of a progress report on the project to restore the Tarancón site used as an International Brigade hospital during the Battle of Jarama in 1937. The piece originally appeared in the Spanish local newspaper La Tribuna de Cuenca and has been edited for clarity.

The Association for the Preservation of Historical Memory in the province of Cuenca (ARMH Cuenca) is working with a regional government programme to renovate the symbolic hospital building of Saint Emilia, known as El Hospitalillo de Tarancón. Ten people, including eight student volunteers, have been carrying out cleaning and renovation work since mid-September 2020, and the project is scheduled to be completed this week.

The provincial delegate for Economy, Business and Employment, Oscar Martínez, confirms that this work has focused on cleaning and masonry improvements. ‘Because it was an abandoned building, small maintenance and repair actions will undoubtedly be necessary,’ he added. The regional government subsidy for this work exceeds 90,000 euros, to which must be added the municipal contribution for materials.

This rehabilitation programme was approved in 2019 but, due to delays during the pandemic, has only been undertaken since the end of last year. Two years ago ARMH Cuenca began collecting signatures for a campaign to save the building, emphasising the damage from vandalism. That spring members of the local community began work cleaning and rehabilitating the building, and it was officially listed in the Inventory of Historical-Artistic Heritage of Castilla-La Mancha.

This help was provided at no cost to the Cuenca City Council. ‘In September 2019 we offered the City Council help to clean and repair it, under technical supervision… but we have not received an answer,’ explains ARMH Cuenca President Máximo Molina, who emphasises how El Hospitalillo has put Tarancón on the world map, as a living memory to the International Brigades.

They hope that now that the renovation work has been completed, their collaboration will continue and other improvements, such as repairs to the roof, will soon be made to ensure the building’s survival. 

Posted on 10 March 2021.