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Throughout its history, this building has served many different purposes: a convent and a church, a school, a boarding school, the first meteorological station and the first provincial library. During the Civil War it was a prison of Falange Española; and it was later a soup kitchen.

But it is educational use that has marked the history of the building. As early as 1539 it was a Latin school and a grammar school; in 1821 it was home to the Universidad Literaria de San Fernando; and in 1846 the Instituto de Segunda Enseñanza de Canarias was set up, the only one on the islands until 1916. Since the year 1940/41 many men and women with relevant roles on the island scene have studied here.

The building underwent some changes and additions after the 1836 Confiscation. In 1926, architect Pelayo López designed new sections with a concrete structure which were placed next to the former convent on the side of calle Anchieta; in the 1950s, architect Domingo Pisaca, introduced more changes. Between 1993 and 1997, the Government of the Canary Islands and the “Cabildo de Tenerife” embarked on its refurbishment. The only part of the building that still needs restoring is the church as a fire that took place on 2 June 1964, badly damaged it.

The interior has one of the best Renaissance cloisters in Canary Islands. Its two floors combine stone and wood. On the ground floor, each side of the courtyard has seven red stone columns in Tuscan order and wooden bases. In the basement, monks, and illustrious people of La Laguna, who contributed to maintain the convent, were buried. The remains of historian Juan Núñez de la Peña are kept in the church of the building.

Six chapels were built around the cloister. They were founded by families, brotherhoods and corporations of the city. Even today some vestiges can be observed such as wall paintings in Italian style. But these rooms were used for other purposes after the Confiscation. On 25 July 1983 the ex-convent of San Agustín was designated Cultural Heritage Asset, under the Monument category.