Eusebi Güell (1846–1918)

Eusebi Guell was a Catalan textile entrepreneur, best known as a patron of the architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) and as the creator of a workers’ colony in the tradition established in Britain by Robert Owen and Sir Titus Salt.

In 1890 he re-located his textile factory from Sants in present day Barcelona to his Can Soler de la Torre estate at Santa Coloma de Cervello north of the city, and created around the Colonia Güell, a community that was influenced by George Cadbury’s Bournville. The buildings included a church designed by Antoni Gaudi, that was begun in 1899, but abandoned in 1915 when only the crypt had been completed, after Guell’s company began to lose money. Güell was also a partner in the company that built the spectacular cement works at Castellar de n’Hug.

In 1900 he began to develop an 18 ha area of housing for wealthy people on the hill of El Carmel in the Gracia district of Barcelona, about 5 km from the waterfront, in a park landscape, designed by Gaudi. Commercially the enterprise was a failure, and only two houses were completed, but after Güell’s death his family gave the park to the people of Barcelona, and it is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Gaudi’s principal buildings in the Barcelona region.