In 1987, the Board of Directors at Catalana de Gas created the Historical Archive and the Historical Library to preserve and disseminate the company’s original documentation, which serves as a testimony to the activity of the company and the energy sector in Spain. Since2004, the Historical Archive has been under the care of the Naturgy Foundation, who took responsibility for conserving a collection of documents taken from more than 50 sources from different companies that now form part of Naturgy. The documents cover a period from 1843 to practically the present day.
The Naturgy Foundation Historical Archive covers more than 3,000 metres of shelves that are catalogued and described in accordance with the “Norma de Descripción Archivística de Cataluña” (Archival Description Guidelines of Catalonia) (NODAC). In addition to the original written, graphical and audiovisual documentation that continues growing, there are also photographs, plans, reports, minutes, deeds and activities generated by the company throughout its 175-year history. These documents encourage research and specialised publications about the economic and industrial history of energy in Spain.
There are some notable items among the original documentation in the Historical Archive such as the letterhead for framing the activity of the company La Energía, S. on Carrer de Alexandre de Riquer,in 1900, and the formation of the Sociedad Catalana para el Alumbrado por Gas, de 1843. The original documents in the Historical Archive inspired the museography of the exhibitions at the Gas Museum, a cultural and corporate centre specialising in the history of energy and industrial heritage open to the public from 2011 to 2018.
The jewels of our library
The collection of documents in the Naturgy Foundation’s Historical Library essentially consists of monographs, journals, articles, reference works, commercial catalogues, grey literature, manuals, legislative publications, dictionaries and specialised encyclopaedias from the gas and electricity industry and from the history of energy.
Among the 6,100 items in the Historical Library, the oldest book dates back to 1845.. The bibliography that is preserved from the early period is mainly composed of English, French and German titles that are about installation, management of gas factories and the success of public street lighting in cities. As there was no gas tradition in Spain at this time, the bibliographical references that the Naturgy Foundation Historical Library preserves today were mainly used by the company’s engineers. Another jewel in the historical collection is the “Treatise on the Science and Practice of the Manufacture and Distribution of Coal Gas” by William B. King from 1878-1882, which reviews the gas literature until that date and mentions one of the gasometers from the old gas factory in La Barceloneta, a notable and successful example. The Historical Library has a newspaper and periodicals library which includes a collection of journals about the history of energy, such as the “Journal des usines à gaz” published by the Société téchnique de l’industrie du gaz en France in 1987. This periodical review became the main reference for installing public street lighting in the city of Barcelona.
“Articles of association of the Sociedad Catalana para el Alumbrado por Gas”, 1843. Naturgy Foundation Historical Archive. © Fundación Naturgy, 2017.
Documentation from the bibliographic collection in the Naturgy Foundation Historical Library, 2004. Photograph: David Campos. © Fundación Naturgy, 2017.
Letterhead to frame the company’s actions La Energía, S. on C. Alexandre de Riquer, 1900. Naturgy Foundation Historical Archive. Photograph: Pep Parer. © Fundación Naturgy, 2017.