Barcelona food retailing and public markets, 1876-1936

This article is a contribution to comparative research between specific urban markets trajectories in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and it aims to juxtapose southern European food market experiences, particularly the Barcelona case, with west European ones. Like other big cities in southern and central Europe, Barcelona consolidated a sturdy polycentric system of district markets between 1876 and 1936, just when such markets were beginning to decline in 'first comers' cities of Britain and France. In the inter-war period, the market halls of southern European cities played a prominent role in the everyday food trade and as functional and socializing centres in neighbourhoods. They were poles of dense residential and kinship relations for stall vendors, especially women vendors, and foci of a large part of the food retailing business in many neighbourhoods. Barcelona's particular historical circumstances made the public covered market system a fundamental element of neighbourhood commerce and a long-term urban asset ​
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