Home  WHAT TO SEE  Francisca Labroche – Route past the Chapel of Santa Ana

Francisca Labroche

Photograph on loan from Getxoko Liburutegiak - Getxo Municipal Libraries

Francisca Labroche was much more than just the widow of Máximo Aguirre, the politician and visionary businessman who laid out the plan to convert the salt marshes that covered the Santa Ana and Las Arenas area into developable property. After Aguirre’s death, together with her sons Eduardo and Ezequiel, she converted those lands into the holiday city for Bilbao’s 19th century bourgeoisie.

The Francisca Labroche route commences at the square adjacent to Bizkaia Bridge; the latter was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. It is a symbolic starting point because it was here, in this square, that the summer holidaymakers arrived from Bilbao.

Let Francisca guide you through the Santa Ana district, where you will discover the importance of its first building, to Romo. This district housed the town’s first small industrial facilities: The oil, seed and pin factories … Matías Romo’s cutlery and religious artefacts factory.

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FRANCISCA LABROCHE (1804-1867)

Her father was from San Sebastian, but she was born in Bilbao, in the very early years of the 19th century. Like her three sisters, María Ramona, Leonarda Ignacia Cesárea and María Beatriz, she was christened in the Church of San Pedro Apóstol in the Bilbao district of Deusto.

Twenty-one years later, this church would also witness her marriage to Máximo Aguirre, who would later carry out a development operation on the lands we today call Las Arenas.

Upon Máximo Aguirre’s death in 1863, Francisca Labroche, together with her sons Eduardo and Ezequiel, continued selling the lands through the family company (Viuda e Hijos de Máximo Aguirre), of which Francisca was the majority partner (54.6 %). Her daughter Dolores, alternatively, would also be involved in this Company, but via her husband Eduardo Coste, Marquis of Lamiako.

Francisca Labroche, a shrewd businesswoman with a great wanderlust, bought in Paris the image of the patron saint of the Santa Ana Chapel – the building that would become the centre of property development in the area.

A family saga, that of the Aguirre-Labroche-Coste’s, that revolutionised town planning expansion in Getxo, to the point of even fostering development of the railway.

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