‘Chalets de necessite’ for “a dirty and smelly suburb”
The Mercians, at certain times, preferred to urinate on the belugas. in the Centre of the City. Even on the front of the cathedral. Not surprisingly, Cabaldo ordered a label on the front, as seen at bottom right: «Whoever throws out, orders to throw out or permits waste to be thrown out or punished Under urinals the whole area of the Holy Church is excommunicated more and more. of 4 ducats”. The curious warning, since in Murcia we already know that preserving the old leads some back, it can hardly be read. Go see them first, like the famous smiling skeleton, he vanishes.
The problem of urination in this environment was a serious problem in the late 20th century. In 1889, the press was berating politicians for their lack of public urinals. Due to which there was no protest due to the stench and filth spread in the corners. So it was decided to improve a toilet in Beluga, but it was insufficient for the population.
In January 1890 the ‘Diario de Murcia’ stated that it had been agreed to acquire eight urinals “like the one in the Plaza de Beluga”. Other municipal agreements include the installation of a piece of fence in the Floridablanca park and the appointment of a guard for the Malecón. Its purpose was to avoid “misbehavior and acts of wildness being committed”.
Dora Nicolás explains in ‘Architecture and Urbanism at the Beginning of Contemporary Murcia’ that, already in 1884, there was another project to establish the so-called ‘Chalets de Necessi’. They were public urinals in the shape of oriental pavilions that had been imported from Paris. The idea failed because Murcia did not yet have a sewerage network.
Six years later, the Compagnie Nouvelle des Châlets de Necessite sent a new proposal to the Murcian Consistory. The firm insisted that its facilities, whose map was attached and kept by the Almudi Archive, were highly frequented in the French capital, especially by women.
On 21 February, the Urban Police Commission, after assessing the “goodness of the proposal made”, proposed that the mayor be authorized to “come up with the indicated society” to buy “three or four” toilets and install them. . In the most central and convenient points of the city.
Furthermore, the city council also started negotiations with the Murcia gas factory to obtain a lower price for the consumption of the lamps that illuminate the ‘chalet’ at night. In the same way and with equal success, the mayor asked the Santa Catalina potable water company in April 1890 to charge one peseta per cubic meter, the same rate that had been observed with capital donations.
These extremes were reported to the French company in the same month, warning that the extraction of feces would cost nothing, “because the farmers themselves remove it from Las Vegas for fertilizer.” As if it was a pig, everything was taken advantage of, as we can see. In this way the problem of sewerage got solved.
However, a little luck was proposed, if we take into account that, already in September of the same year, instead of urinals, some signs were put up prohibiting the discharge of water under a fine of two pesetas. ‘El Diario’ once again denounced that because of the cost of the signs, a toilet could have been built at the door of Almudi, “where the focus of an intolerable epidemic for the neighborhood would be.”
At the time, the city had only two public places to relieve bladders, “which are periodically cleaned,” the same newspaper warned in November. The situation did not improve the following year.
In February 1892 ‘Las Provincias de Levante’ warned that some people used the “urinal columns” installed in the Beluga, turning the surroundings of the cathedral and the façade of the Episcopal Palace into improvised urinals. Not counting other places whose filth was extreme. For this reason, he called for Murcia to stop being “a dirty and smelly suburb, to become a clean and tidy capital”.
complaining of bad smell
Another toilet was installed in the Plaza de los Apostols in August. and six more were waiting in the courtyard of the Consistory for their places assigned before the fair. The apostles would remain there, attached to a wall of the cathedral, for years. And it was used by many. About the same number of people protested the stench.
In fact, ‘El Liberal’ warned in 1919 about the embarrassment of others how «foreigners who come to admire the artistic beauty of our cathedral protest that they cannot consider the famous stone chain around the Vélez Chapel Can».
According to ‘Las Provincias de Levante’, in September 1894 the Beluga urinal column was replaced by a “large and sumptuous urinal”. But it was not the French company that did it, but the Mercian firm Pena. Shortly after, in December of the same year, another opened its doors in the Plaza del Roma. It’ll be just as stinky as the rest.