The schools of the Royal Board of Trade of Barcelona

In the sphere of technical, scientific and artistic training, the activity of the Board was very important. One of the consequences of the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 18th century was the suppression of all the Catalan universities and the creation of a new one in Cervera. The lack of higher education institutions, with the exception of legal and ecclesiastical teaching at the University of Cervera and military training at the Military Academy of Mathematics, was a tremendous obstacle to Catalonia’s economic and social progress.

The Board of Trade, with a clear vision of the reality of the country and in view of the lack of high-level studies in Barcelona, grasped the reins of the interests of Catalonia’s emerging enlightened commercial and industrial bourgeoisie and created a series of specialised departments or schools. This network of schools offered students contents that incorporated the scientific and technical innovations of the time. It was this complex of schools that trained the technicians and scientists who carried out the industrialisation of Catalonia, along with the intellectuals of the country’s Romantic movement and the beginnings of the Catalan Renaissance.

 

Year of creation of the school
Schools of the Royal Board of Trade of Barcelona
1770
School of Navigation (or Piloting)
1775
School of Fine Arts
1787
School of Commerce
1805
School of Stenography
1805
School of Chemistry Applied to the Arts
1805
Machinery Laboratory
1808
School of Mechanics
1814
School of Experimental Physics
1814
School of Political Economics
1815
School of Calculus and Escriptura Doble
1815
School of Agriculture and Botany
1817
Department of Architecture
1819
Department of Mathematics
1819
Department of Arithmetic and Practical Geometry
1820
Department of Constitution
1824
Department of French
1824
Department of Italian
1826
Department of English
1829
Department of Naval Architecture
1831
School of Machinery
1838
School for Deaf and Dumb People
1841
School of Technical Drawing
1845
School of Mercantile Law

 

The decline of the Royal Board of Trade of Barcelona was irreversible from 1841 onwards, the year of the abolition of the pierage tax, the institution’s main source of funds. In 1851, many of the schools and departments created by the Board were incorporated into the Barcelona Industrial School, with the exception of the School of Fine Arts, which continued as the Barcelona Provincial Academy of Fine Arts.