Skip to content
FTRC.BLOG / Europe / Spain / Barcelona / Barcelona’s Baby Drop-off in El Raval

Barcelona’s Baby Drop-off in El Raval

Hiding in plain sight, in the middle of El Raval, a small wooden door was once attached to the Provincial Home for Maternity and Foundlings of Barcelona. Nowadays, that small round door looks more like a decoration than anything else, but that is the infamous Barcelona’saby drop-off. In Barcelona, we had to visit and take pictures of the location.

We were in Barcelona for a couple of days at the end of April 2019 and were looking for different things to do. We knew we needed to eat burgers somewhere, but what else? One of my co-workers is from the city, and he shared this with me. I know it sounds completely weird, but this story is true.

When it comes to public care for impoverished women and mothers, there wasn’t much until the late 19th century. The only social resource available to them was based on religious charity, and they treated women as sinners in need of repentance.

But, with industrialization, things started to change.

Waves of women came from the fields to work in the growing city of Barcelona. Most were seeking work as domestic servants and factory workers, and they had some free time, so the number of so-called illegitimate births grew. Many of these mothers were single and miserable, and they were forced to give away their children to charitable institutions.

This is where Barcelona’s baby drop-off came to be. The turnstile in front of the Provincial Home for Maternity and Foundlings of Barcelona was a place for mothers to leave their infants discreetly. It was done to remove some of the shame and injustice these mothers faced for giving up their offspring.

At the time, many infants did not survive to celebrate their first birthday, but those who survived were sent to the neighboring House of Charity. There, boys were trained as sales clerks, and girls were trained as domestic servants.

But everything ended in December 1936, when the Government of Catalonia authorized abortions and became one of Europe’s most advanced health systems. The baby dispensary at the Home of Maternity changed and became a facility where women could receive safe medical treatment.

Barcelona’s baby drop-off was active from 1853 until 1936, and hundreds of children came through its turntable.

Today, the only thing left is a small wooden inlet hidden in plain sight on a charming square at El Raval.

See the map above if you want to visit Barcelona’s baby drop-off. It’s tricky to find, as it’s just a tiny round door on a wall.

Barcelona’saby Drop-off in El Raval

17 Carrer Ramelleras
Barcelona, 08001

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani is a passionate designer with a penchant for crafting unique experiences and a mixed taste in music. As the curator behind this blog's explorations, he takes pride in discovering fascinating destinations. Whether unearthing hidden gems or sharing captivating historical narratives, Felipe is the creative force driving the stories you find here. Join him on a journey of design, discovery, and the delightful rhythm of unconventional tunes.View Author posts