Casa Bencomo

Casa Bencomo is one of the traditional townhouses built around a central courtyard, typically found in the old heart of San Sebastian. Standing on the corner of Calle Real (one of the three main streets) and the square in front of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (the great church of San Sebastian), the townhouse commands a more prominent position than most other townhouses.

So it was very welcoming to see that after standing empty for many years, the townhouse is finally being restored and renovated. It transpires that the council is restoring the outside of the townhouse to preserve it’s original looks and, unfortunately, renovating the inside to facilitate a library. It is a pity the inside is not restored to it’s original state. Then again, preserving the building is better than for it to remain derelict and slowly degenerating to rubble as is often the case.

The first twelve images were taken during our visit to La Gomera in Ferbuary 2006 when the doors to the central courtyard were open and we got a chance to venture inside to explore the derelict building. With hindsight, I wish we had spent longer inside, as opportunities to access such abandoned and derelict townhouses is proving to be a rare opportunity.

The final four images of Casa Bencomo were taken during various visits to La Gomera since then. The first image taken a year and a half later, on 30th September 2007, shows Casa Bencomo boarded up and it’s prominent location on the corner of the square and Calle Real.

The second image was taken another year and a half later, on 9th March 2009, showing very little change apart from a few more billboards on the doors and a few more broken panes in the first floor windows. It also illustrates the pace of life and change in La Gomera, with little change year on year.

The final two images were taken on our last visit another year later, on 20th March 2010, clearly showing the restoration and renovation work in progress. These images also show the mix of materials used, ranging from concrete and breeze block to strengthen and rebuild the walls to high quality timber for the new roofs.