Barcelona Air Raid Shelters Exhibition: From the Spanish Civil War to the Blitz

  • DATE

    1-30 June 2024

  • TIME

    8:00 am to 10:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome




    Eccles Library
    28 Barton Ln, Eccles, Manchester, M30 0TU

The extraordinary testimony of civil resistance, forcibly silenced for decades during Franco’s dictatorship, still lives under the streets of Barcelona. A photographic exhibition has revealed the network of underground air-raid shelters, intensively bombed between 1937 and 1939 by the Italian and the German air forces, allied with Franco’s command, from an artistic perspective. Forty of these 1322 shelters from the Spanish Civil War are being seen for the first time, showing a civic, historical and architectural heritage that became a centre of debate in all of Europe, just before the Second World War.

This incredible exhibition will be on display during the Festival of Libraries 2024 at Eccles Library, marking Greater Manchester’s history of air raid shelters and how Air-raid shelters have become reflections of cities. The successful precedent of Barcelona was ruled out by Churchill’s government for social and political reasons, not for technical reasons: the collective underground shelters, where all social classes come together, challenged some of the dominant values of the British upper class. This is probably the greatest indicator that the model of shelters is not only a building technique, but also a mirror of societies. This is why this exhibition can explain not only a connection between Catalonia and Great Britain, but can also offer a more global comparative reflection on the values of societies at war.

This is a drop-in exhibition and you do not require a ticket to visit. Please check Eccles Library opening times carefully before your visit to ensure entry.