THE LEGACY OF THE ENGLISHMEN
The neighbourhood Queen Victoria in Huelva´s capital or the peaceful streets of Bellavista in the Riotinto Mines transfer the visitor into 19th Century England. The settlement of the Englishmen in the province of Huelva started in 1870, after the arrival of the Riotinto Company Limited, during the peak of the English industrial revolution and the power of their economic empire, starting a singular architecture in the province of Huelva, which can still be traced today. Their stay in the valley was based on the managing of the jobs, living in neighbourhoods in which the houses where reproduced in the Victorian style of the period like the neighbourhood of Bellavista in Riotinto, and constructing buildings to shelter the company management or hostels for the executives of the company. They contributed a new kind of architectonic company organization of housings and a new culture and economic richness.
The company starts to construct parallely in Huelva capital. In 1892 the Hotel Colon was inaugurated, actually the “Casa Colon” which was going to be the seat of the company during half a Century and is actually the Congress Palace. During the first decade of the 20th Century the construction of the Queen Victoria neighbourhood is started, as well known under the name of Barrio Obrero (labour neighbourhood). These symmetric constructions of one-family houses were made to cover the necessities of employees of the company, while the majority of the directives were living in the Casa Colon.
The neighbourhood Queen Victoria, which is nowadays situated in the centre of the capital, provides a distinctive touch in the urbanistic plan of the city. The wharf, situated in the capital is a pioneer of mining navy enginery of the period and introduced the revolutionary method of concrete foundations over wooden platforms leaned on the bed of the river. Today you can walk through it and enjoy its magnificent sunsets which offer the landscape.
The presence of the Brits in Huelva was completed by the summer houses which were built in the coastal locality of Punta Umbria, from which some of them still exist, especially the wooden bungalows.
Itinerary Riotinto - Huelva - Punta Umbría