The old marketplace
The first records about the trade of basic consumer goods in Malgrat de Mar go back to the municipal charter, as Monsignor Felix Paradeda stated (1915), where it was specified that the monopoly on bakeries, taverns and butchers’ was held by the lords of the Castle of Palafolls. Subsequently, the town Council was transferred the right to control that trade. From ancient times, markets and fairs had also been some of the main places to go and buy food or other products. Normally they used to take place on feasts days: in Malgrat de Mar, for instance, they were organised on the feast day of St. Anthony the Abbot.
Regarding the daily market, it was quite disorganised until the late 19th century, as stated in the project report written by Camil Oliveras in 1890 for the construction of a new building for the butchers. Early in the morning, vendors would set up their stalls wherever they could and when the weather was bad, they often took shelter under the halls and entrances of the houses. All those deficiencies led the Town Council to consider the need to build a municipal market using part of the land they had just purchased to build a new town hall, where Bellaire street and Carme street meet.
In 1890, Camil Oliveras Gensana, classmate and colleague of Antoni Gaudí, drafted a report supporting the project that describes the plan and appearance of the future market. According to that document, it was necessary to expropriate the plot that was in front of the aforementioned piece of land (where Viladevall chemist’s is placed nowadays) to locate the fishmongers’, on condition that the owner of that plot would be able to built on top of the fish shops. The butchers’ shops were to be raised on 324 m2 that wouldn’t be used for the construction of the town hall. The project was approved in January 1891 and on February 7 the same year, the works were allocated.
Later on, in 1926, a roof was built over the passage, which was exposed until then. The so-called Peixateries Velles (Old Fish Shops) were refurbished in 1968 to adapt to modern times and make room for other kinds of stalls, such as cooked legumes or frozen food shops. The fish, meat and legume stalls were there until 14 July 1991, when they were moved to the new Municipal Market.
The project drawn by Camil Oliveras in 1890 described an open-air passage, like the current one, which separated the butchers’ stalls –situated next to the Town Hall– from the fish stalls –where the original stones to put the fish on are still preserved. The carts that provided the stalls with produce would drive along the passage where buyers would also be. This 250 m2 space fitted a total of 12 stalls where fish, meat and cooked legumes were sold. We must highlight the marble and the 20th-century style iron works in the interior of the stalls.