Miners Orphanage


Miners Orphanage

Villamejil, Oviedo

In 1929, the Oviedo Miners Orphanage was created as a result of an agreement between workers’ representatives, mining employers and the government of Primo de Rivera. This educational and teaching institution was created to take care of the children of miners who had died or suffered from serious disabilities in an accident at work. The high accident rates in the Asturian mining industry left hundreds of children in a vulnerable situation and the orphanage was intended to provide them with asylum and education.

Supported by contributions from the mining employers, its activity began in 1931 with Ernesto Winter, a mining engineer, as director. The ambitious and avant-garde initial project was interrupted after the Spanish Civil War, and from then on it had to share space with the provincial hospital until 1961.

After the construction of the central hospital, the facilities of the Oviedo Miners Orphanage were recovered and modernised and the teaching activity continued, admitting non-resident students from the city of Oviedo. In 1991, the Asturian Miners' Teaching Foundation (Fundación Docente de Mineros Asturianos, FUNDOMA) was created.

The construction project, which dates back from 1931, was part of the work of the Asturian architects Enrique Rodríguez Bustelo and Francisco Casariego Terrero, who were assisted by the engineer Ildefonso Sánchez del Río in the design of the building's reinforced concrete structure. The plot chosen was in a space near Oviedo, known as the Clavería estate. There, several pavilions were built, connected by walkways, which housed the boys' and girls' residences, the dining hall and kitchen building, and the school building. The complex was completed with spaces for recreation and sports, the director's detached house, the infirmary, the childcare pavilion and the workshops. In the 1950s, a bowling alley and a chapel dedicated to Santa Bárbara were added after the design of the architect Julio Galán Gómez.

Mónica García Cuetos