Back in
the 1970s, almost before Franco’s corpse had grown cold, the good people of Granada
woke up to the fact that the Huerta de
San Vicente
, that had been the Lorca family summer residence from the
mid-1920s until the start of the Spanish Civil War, was under threat from an
Urban Development Plan which drew a city access road right through the middle
of the property. Practically at the last minute, this plan was redrawn or
withdrawn and the Huerta was saved,
so that it could become the cultural tourist attraction it is today.

Today, 35
years later, the Huerta del Tamarit
faces a similar threat from a city access road that is supposed to link the
centre of Granada with the Outer Ring Road, which in turn will link the Motril
motorway with the Seville-Murcia A92. This access road is planned to pass through
the grounds and within 30 metres of the finca,
the country house, before linking up with the Neptuno exit to the circunvalacion (ring road).

The Huerta del Tamarit belonged to an uncle
of the poet’s, Francisco García Rodríguez, and is situated nearby on the Vega,
closer to the River Genil, just behind the Inmaculada
Clinic, which is opposite the Science Museum. [I took the photo above myself a few years ago.] Francisco bought his huerta just a couple of years before his
brother, Federico, Lorca’s father, bought his. It was a favourite haunt of
Lorca’s and lent its name to the remarkable poetry collection Diván del
Tamarit
, a worthy successor to the
more accessible ‘Gypsy Ballad Book’. His cousin, Clotilde García
Picossi, lived there. Among other things she inspired the green dress episode
in La Casa de Bernarda Alba. She was
also a model for Doña
Rosita la soltera.
Her fiancé was Máximo Delgado
García, another (second?) cousin, who emigrated to Argentina and let the
relationship slide into oblivion, at least from his point of view.

The Huerta is also one of the few remaining
examples of the classical huerta
granadina
, whose roots go back to Moorish times: a more or less
self-sufficient living unit comprising a family house, with a garden or patio
to enjoy leisure and pleasure time, at the centre, surrounded by orchards and
vegetable gardens, and beyond that more extensive areas of land for the
cultivation of cereals and other staples.

It would
be a crime to let it disappear.

But it
won’t, of that I am confident. Partly because initiatives such as the Platform
in Defence of the Vega de Granada are
mobilising against such a calamity. Secondly, because even right-wing
politicians are aware of the value of the Lorca Legacy – even if he was a homo,
a leftie, and a lover of Moors and gypsies: all things despised by the right,
in Granada as elsewhere. And thirdly, for ‘economic reasons’. The nineteenth century local writer, Angel
Ganivet, whose legacy Lorca and his like-minded contemporaries inherited, had
observed long ago that many potential aberrations in the history of the city’s
development were avoided thanks to the unhappy refrain ‘ay, que no hay dinero’
(there’s no money for it). Worse, commented Ganivet, was when there was money!

In
today’s economic climate, work on the Outer Ring is already at a standstill and
I trust that this project is already dead in the water.

Sources:
Europa Press and Radio Granada, June 2011.