Designed in 1836 and concluded only 30 years later, due to the wars against Uruguay and Paraguay, the Council Chamber and Prison is an architectural monument of great historical and cultural value to Santos. An important cultural center, it has been the headquarters of (Pagu Workshops), run by the São Paulo State Government, since 1994.
With an area of more than 2000m², the historical building has housed over the years: the city council (1870 to 1896), a prison, court, police stations and was the site of the proclamation of the country’s first and only Municipal Constitution, on November 25, 1894,
Constructed in stone, whitewash, clay, sand and sugar-cane molasses, the building is typical of the Brazil colony. Emperor Dom Pedro II and Empress Teresa Cristina were in the building in 1876 and 1878. Ten years later, it was the turn of Count d’Eu and Princess Isabel, who in that same year signed the Lei Áurea, the law that abolished slavery. To honor her, the Council sessions area received her name, which was maintained when the Legislature functioned in the Valongo Mansions and today, in the City Hall.
The property also has six rooms and eight old prison cells on the ground floor. The prison began to function in 1870 and remained active for more than 80 years. One of the cells was occupied by Patricia Galvão, the first political prisoner in the country. Known by her nickname, Pagu, she was a writer, poet, theater director, translator, designer, cartoonist, journalist and militant Brazilian politician. When the local Council began to operate in the Valongo Mansions (1896 to 1939), the building continued to house the court, prison and some police stations until 1956.