granada la bella

where anything is possible


The rather sad and somewhat sordid saga of the Lorca Centre’s slow and painful genesis 2003 - 2019.



GRANADA LA BELLA was the title of a book written by Angel Ganivet while he was living in Finland, shortly before he took his own life in 1898. Angel Ganivet was a leading figure in the contemporary cultural scene in Granada at the end of the century and he had a huge influence on Lorca's generation. Many of the ideas expressed in this book are taken up and developed by Lorca and his circle.   

The title hints at the dual nature of the city, its light and dark sides. Because while the Beauty of Granada is undeniable, it can also reveal itself as the Beast.

An example of how Granada succumbs to the beast in its breast can be seen in the way its Gran Vía de Colón bulldozers its way through the heart of the old city with no regard for historical or aesthetic considerations. Discussed elsewhere on this site.

Photo by ccoutesy of  Rene Hirt

LEFT: The Lorca Centre, when it was still under construction, in March 2013.

Another dichotomy often applied to the city of Granada involves an apparently insuperable chasm  between dream and reality. It is a city of ccontemplation, not one of action. It has enormous difficulty in converting its ambitious projects into workable successful projects. An example of that is to be found in the conception and execution of the Lorca Centre, the purpose of which was to house the poet's literary and cultural legacy and bring it 'home' to Granada from Madrid.

PAGE updated 19/04/2020 Contact me: simon@granadalabella.eu

2003 - the decision is made to build the Lorca Centre in Granada, to house the "Lorca Legacy", currently stored in the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.

2005 - the architects are chosen and construction work starts.

2008 - the Centre is expectedd to be operative. Meanwhile,

Juan Tomás Martín has been entrusted and given a free hand to manage the Centre's accounts.

2011 - grand inauguration scheduled for the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the Lorca’s birth on June 5. It doesn't happen.

2013 - builders move in to finish the construction work, which had been suspended, owing to a "financing problem".

2015 - Without pomp, without ceremony, and without the invaluable resources of the long-awaited Lorca legacy, the Centre is opened to the public.

2018 - Juan Tomás Martín admits to embezzling two million euros from the Centre. In fact, the real amounts he creamed off for himself through dishonest or dubious accounting practices probably go a long way towards explaining the 4.5m deficit that had held up the buiding work for so long.

In October, a hurriedly put together exhibition made up of items from the Lorca Legacy, Desde el Centro [From the Centre]: Lorca y Granada, is opened.

2019- April: Sara Navarro is appointed director of the Centre, replacing Laura García-Lorca. September: the long-awaited Christopher Maurer exhibition titled “Jardín deshecho: Lorca y el amor” opens, on till 6 January 2020.

The above photo was taken in September 2019 in Sa Pa, Vietnam, by a colleague called Hang.

Having retired, then, I am no longer primarily an English teacher, and I intend to focus more on creative writing, under which category I include maintaining this webpage and the associated blog.

However, an even higher priority than to this webpage and its blog will be granted to three works that I intend to publish as ebooks in the very near future. These works are

  1. a memoir based novella entitled 1969, A Year in A Life
  2. a collection of poems written over the years called Blinded by Love or Science, and
  3. an investigation into my personal genealogy called Andrewes with an extra E.

Watch this space as they say!

LINK TO SAGA 1: The Sad and Sordid Saga of The Lorca Centre's Painful Genesis 2003 - 2019

LINK TO SAGA 2: The Saga of the Fruitless Search for the Universal Poet's Mortal Remains

Foreword to 1969 A Year in a Life


In 1969 I was working shifts at the BOAC AirTerminal in SW1. So I had a little red diary, just 10cm x 7cm, to make a note of which shifts I was working when. And I had to fit social events and appointments around my shift hours, so that went in the little red notebook, too. I hung on to the diary, with the intention of writing it up in some kind of book form one day. But the years passed, the little red notebook was kept hidden away, and the story never got written. Until a few years ago, when I was more or less retired, and I took out the Collins mini-diary - which had miraculously not got lost during all these years and several moves of address and country - and set about the task.

Some of the entries brought back vivid memories, but others I had pretty much forgotten what they meant. Some unexpected memories were evoked, though I was not always sure where they fitted. So I had to put two and two together in many cases, and I think sometimes it came out as five. Thus this novella is not entirely kosher as a memoir; it is certainly not a reliable one, in any case. So please do not assume that the first-person narrator in this story is me, the author, or that people and events were necessarily as described and named. They are sometimes, but not always.




I first came to live in Granada in 1990. I lived here continuously up  to 2008, as a teacher of English. During this time I built my website dedicated to the life, times and works of García Lorca. I also led Lorca theme-based tours for a while. Then I moved to London to work and after  a number of unsettled years moving between Eastbourne, Birmingham, Lao Cai (Vietnam), Granada and Bristol, I 'retired' to my modest home in the  remote barrio of Alquería del Fargue. I returned here from my travels most recently in February 2020, just in time for the corona confinement.

Below is the view from my front door.