Construction of the new Llotja

In 1771, the Royal Board of Trade of Barcelona, having recovered control of the Llotja, decided to enlarge the building to adapt it to its new requirements of space and pretensions of status, a process that took considerable time.

The problems began just after the Board took over the Llotja. The first obstacle was related with the management of the works and the architectural project to be followed, and when these issues were finally settled, other problems emerged. There was a shortage of funds for carrying out the project, as a consequence of the wars in which the Spanish monarchy was immersed during the last quarter of the 18th century, conflicts which directly affected the collection of the pierage tax, the Board of Trade’s source of funding. There were also legal disputes over the ownership of the building with the City Council and the army.

The construction of the new building took more than three decades, to which we have to add almost two decades of rehabilitation of the Gothic Contracting Hall, which was in a ruinous state. The year 1771 was the starting point, but the end was not reached until 1819: the Barcelona bourgeoisie had to wait 48 years to enjoy complete and comfortable occupation of its new Llotja.