The origin of the building is documented by the deed of March 17, 1677, whereby Don Domingo Bravo sells the estate to Don Jose Lila and Valdés, before the Notary Antonio Calderón (Protocol 1304 Folios 74 – 84. Archivo Provincial de Cádiz ). Don Jose Lila y Valdés was among others: Knight of the Order of Calatrava (30 of March of 1662), Marquess of the Alamos of the Guadalete (created by King Carlos II in 1685) and Perpetual Regidor of Cadiz.
Mahogany and Silver
The building appears in the model of the city of Cadiz made between July of 1777 and March 1779 by the Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry Alfonso Jimenez, helped by some cabinetmakers of Cadiz. The documentary base used for the construction was a plan of Cadiz signed by Ignacio Sala in 1749. Today it is in the Museum of the Cortes of Cadiz, where still it impresses those who observe it by its size and detail richness. It is a key piece to learn about the urbanism of eighteenth century Cadiz. By deed of March 20, 1862, Doña Mariana Lila y Zurita – heiress of Don José Lila y Valdés -, sells the house to D. José Matía, before the Notary Joaquín Rubio (Protocol 3292 Folios 472-489. Provincial Archives Of Cadiz).
1863 Renovation by Don José Matía
At the request of Don José Matía, the renovation of the façade of the estate was approved by the Hon. City Council of Cadiz on July 28, 1862, according to the Memory of the Master of Works Don Pablo José Artuña, being recorded in the Plans of the Reformation and Municipal Records, preserved in The Municipal Archive of Cadiz. This work is executed during the year 1863. Father Jerónimo Usera opened the School of the Sisters of the Love of God that operated between 1867 and 1871, when it closed and was transferred to Havana, Cuba. A plaque on the facade reminds this.
1881 Delegation of the Transatlantic Company
The building was the seat of the Delegation of the Transatlantic Company for over a century, from 1881 when the shipping company Antonio López y Cía. became known as the Transatlantic Company (aka Spanish Line) until the 1970s. Don Manuel Calvo Aguirre, whom the Marquis de Comillas appointed first vice president of the Transatlantic Company, died in the city of Cadiz at the age of 88 as a result of a heart attack., at number 3 on Isabel la Católica Street, on March 16, 1904. His mortal remains were transferred shortly after to the cemetery of Portugalete, in whose tomb a cross was erected in his memory by Don Claudio López, second marquis of comillas.
The following architectural elements should be highlighted: glass dome covering the inner courtyard, glazed galleries in the inner courtyard, courtyard with columns of iron and marble, marble staircase, windbreaker of the entrance door in carved wood and screen-printed glass from its time as Delegation of the Transatlantic Company and lamps of metal and glass in the patio and stairs.
Mahogany Carved Alfarje
Recently an spectacular alfarje consisting of beams and corbels in mahogany carved with acanthus leaves has been discovered on the second floor of the building. They are probably distributed throughout the second floor although only a part corresponding to one of the houses located at this height has been brought to light. The beams, about seven meters long, are magnificently preserved. The exact date of its elaboration is not known, although it is certainly prior to the reform carried out in 1863, since, according to the documents consulted, it only affected the façade of the building.