Vila Fernando Correctional Education Facility - Elvas, Portugal - July 2018

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The college, which officially closed at the end of 2008, was a correctional facility for troubled young people for more than a century. The Vila Fernando Correctional Colony was in operation since its creation, in 1895 until the end of 2007. The boarding house intended to educate troubled young people from all over the country, through agricultural work and livestock breeding, based on models of institutions in central Europe.

October 6 1895, the facility opened under the name Escola Penal Agrícola de Vila Fernando with 51 minors, all registered from the prisons and dungeons of Lisbon. They had been arrested due to a public demonstration on the occasion of the centenary of António.


The design of the key buildings being built (with neo-gothic characteristics) was designed by Eng. Mendes Guerreiro.

Workshops (1905)
History - Workshops 1905.jpg

Many of the inhabitants were employees of the colony and some of them lived on its premises, becoming the largest employer in the region.

Staff housing (1904)
History - Staff housing (1904).jpg

The colony also had numerous services and infrastructures that it made available to the general population, as well as holding events open to the population, such as football games, theater or mass.

Band by clock tower
History - Band by clock tower.jpg

Food was always made with products from the colony itself, being practically self-sufficient. In addition to the cattle and pigs, it had a vegetable garden that produced all vegetables and fruit orchards.

Open air pig slaughter
History - Open air pig slaughter.jpg

At the beginning of the 20th century, the existing buildings were used for the residences of the director, deputy director, doctor, senior officials, agricultural regent and porter and also included the GNR post, prison, clock tower, pavilions and cafeteria, service support, hospital, various workshops and classrooms with secretarial support.

Main avenue of Vila Fernando Colony
History - Main avenue of Vila Fernando Colony.jpg

In 1963, the building complex was completely remodeled, with new buildings having been constructed and others adapted in the following years, the streets were improved and the rainwater sewage network was built.

From the 70s / 80s of the last century, with the changes in the laws of minors, the colony was receiving fewer young people and the organization and functioning were transformed, starting to function as an Educational Center.

Carpentry workshop
History - Carpentry workshop.jpg

Family room
History - Family room.jpg

Mechanics workshop
History - Mechanics workshop.jpg

Tailoring workshop
History - Tailoring workshop.jpg

And this is how it looked on my visit in 2018:

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Animal area

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"100 years of building tomorrow with the past and the future"
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Gate house

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Thanks for looking :)
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