The People of Gibraltar
1748 - Robert Poole - A Philosophy of Greed

George Whitefield and Stephen Conning - Joseph Bagetto and Manuel Delipiani
General Don and George Picardo - Antonio Picardo and Roger elliott
Bartholome Canovas and Agustin Picardo - John Picardo and Lorenzo
Abraham Benidir and Sabine - William Hargrave and Jacob Benidir
Roger Ellott and Humphrey Bland.

In 1748 a theologian by the name of Robert Poole visited Gibraltar. He stayed for around eight months and kept a journal of his experiences which he eventually published as a book. It can't have sold too many copies when it first came out as the author's style was extremely turgid. As an exasperated editor once wrote that; 
. . . whenever the author met with anything that would afford a moral reflection, he never failed to embrace the opportunity. 
Nevertheless it is perhaps the best account we have of what Gibraltar was like in the middle of the 18th century.

The Reverend Robert Poole
One of the most striking things he noticed when entering the town on his first evening was the loud call of ‘All is well’ from the guards. It seemed to start with a particular sentinel and was then picked up by others throughout the night, each voice with its own pitch making it a rather agreeable oddity. 

After he had settled in town for a few days Poole changed his mind. The guards that surrounded the town stood quite close to each other and were given to challenging almost every passerby. It meant that the words ‘who goes there’ expecting ‘a friend’ for an answer very quickly became a monotonous backdrop noise. It may have been a question of custom rather than security, but it was nonetheless enormously irritating.
The town itself he describes as consisting of a main street about a mile long stretching north to south from Waterport ( see LINK ) to South Port Gate. ( see LINK
20th century aerial photo of Main Street looking north. The church is roughly halfway from Waterport to South Port Gate  ( see LINK
There were two other gates, Landport ( see LINK ) and New Mole Gate and all four were closed securely at night. Among other streets worthy of mention was Irish Town which by now had become a place of ‘ill fame’: in other words the main red light district if such a phrase could actually describe what must have been a squalid brothel infested area.
The name of Irish Town appears for the first time in the early 19th century - Poole actually used the term ‘Irish-Street. There is some controversy as to the origin of the name. It was once thought that the majority of the warehouses and properties in this street were owned by Irish merchants but the records tell us that this was not so. The accepted theory is that it took its name from an Irish regiment that were quartered there at one time. If so then Poole’s red light district would probably have been populated with women attached to the regiment.

 
French map in which the name Irish Town makes an early appearance  ( 1799 - Barbie du Bocage Jean Denis)  
Modern Day Irish Town
The narrow streets were paved with pebbles and tilted towards the west which meant that when it rained the water tended to wash them clean carrying the rubbish towards the sea. The town houses were ‘mean and low’ and very few were more than one story high. He found the shops similarly unimpressive. Business seemed to be very slack although everybody he asked was of the opinion that a considerable amount of trade of one sort or the other was going on in town; a delicate reference to smuggling perhaps. There was no nonsense about not working on a Sunday. All the shops were open.
He also makes the interesting observation that the shops are mostly occupied by Genoese, Jews and Turks and that very few were run by the English. It was yet another confirmation of the lack of success of the administration in attracting Protestants to settle on the Rock. Poole himself was at a loss to understand why this was so and wondered whether the non-British population ‘offer more for the liberty they enjoy or are more obliging in their address for it.’ He probably hit the nail on the head on both counts.
As regards the Turks it is difficult to understand what he meant. For some reason Turks are often mentioned by casual visitors describing the cosmopolitan crowds of the ‘mean’ streets of Gibraltar: yet there is precious little evidence that all that many people from Turkey ever came to reside on the Rock. One possibility is that the Moors, who were a common sight everywhere on the Rock, were being mistaken for Turks. The other is that they were indeed Turks who were simply visiting on business. As mentioned previously, much of the coffee drunk in London came from Turkey.
Late 19th century print of people in Main Street. It is possible that some of these characters could have been mistaken for 'Turks'  ( Frederick George  Stephens )  ( see LINK
Other civilians behaved with a ‘becoming civility’ to anybody who they took to be a gentleman - which one imagines Poole definitely thought himself to be - but he also noticed that both soldiers and civilians were much given to swearing and cursing presumably to those who did not meet up to their expectations. George Whitefield’s sermons hadn’t made a jot of difference. Generally Poole felt that the inhabitants lived in what he considered to be some sort of confinement. 

Their movements were restricted and they were not allowed to enter or leave the town without a permit. When ships arrived in port they were forbidden to bring ashore or take on board anything without permission. Nobody was allowed to have lodgers and all business transactions required written authorisation  of one sort or the other.
It would not be too uncharitable to suspect that Poole was hinting at the  malpractices of the Governor who at the time of his visit was one of the worst in this respect - Lieutenant-General William Hargrave. He was very careful, however, not to criticise anybody or write about anything that might smack of disapproval. But however hard he tried he couldn’t avoid noticing all those posters stuck all over the place with constantly changing orders and regulations emanating from on high and telling the residents what they could or couldn’t do.
Poole never mentions smuggling other than indirectly, but there is little doubt that it continued unabated and the Spanish authorities were given to closing the frontier in frequent fits of pique at the failure of the British to do anything to stop it. Another irritated  historian put it quite succinctly when he wished that the Spaniards would have ‘had no cause, for it is the same thing whether prohibiting goods through Land Port or Water Port, if vessels are illegally freighted with false passes.’ But he like Poole was reluctant to tell us who was responsble for this or indeed who it was that had issued those false bills of lading. 


1727 Spanish plans for a proposed series of garitas or guard house to be built on the Neutral Ground in an attempt to stop smuggling   ( Antonio Montaigu de la Perille )
From the very beginning smuggling into Spain proved an economically worthwhile activity that increased slowly over the years until by the end of the century it formed an important part of the local economy. For short periods and depending on who the Governor was at the time, the British authorities tried to cooperate with the Spanish in their efforts to suppress it. But these efforts were always far too sporadic and they failed to have any real effect.

Smuggling then as now depended on the fact that the duties on the goods bought had to be less than those of the country where the goods were intended to be sold. In Gibraltar, thanks to its duty free status there were no duties. In Spain - the obvious country to smuggle goods into from Gibraltar - the duties were generally very high. So much so that not even the most rapacious of Gibraltar’s Governor’s was ever able to decrease the rate of smuggling by increasing the value of the illegal tariffs that were made on all imports. On the other hand it would be fair to say that any corrupt Governor worth his salt would have been highly unlikely to kill the goose that laid him so many golden eggs by raising his levies to far.

The attempts by London to impose limits on imports so as to reduce the quantity of good available for smuggling also failed as it was circumvented both by the merchants and by the British authorities at the chalk face. In 1739 for example, the British Treasury issued a warrant that prohibited victualling ships carrying provisions from Britain to take goods on board over and above what was required by the Garrison. There are no records available to confirm whether this was in fact ever put into practice, but even if it had it made not the slightest bit of difference as the importers in Gibraltar would simply have bought their supplies from elsewhere.
Being a religious man Poole soon focussed his attentions on a local group called the Society of Soldiers. This organisation had been set up by George Whitefield ( see LINK ) a decade earlier and its aim was to encourage people to meet every night for lengthy prayer sessions. There was nothing particularly unusual for such organisations to be set up in Britain’s trading posts and colonies during the 18th century. Usually the aim was to improve the morals of the natives and try to wean them on to a rather muscular version of Protestant ethics.
In this particular case the targets, rather unusually, were Protestant British soldiers and civilians who if the records of the times are to be believed, could certainly do with some encouragement as regards improving their morals. Getting drunk on wine - beer was unavailkable - was the prize evil that led to all sorts of other excesses. Unfortunately, as Whitfield himself finally had to acknowledge it was a ‘sin that easily besets the men of Gibraltar’.
What is quite an eye opener, however, is that non-Protestant local inhabitants, seem to have been very aware of this particular society and - much to Poole’s dismay - openly make fun of it ‘by way of sneer and derision’: or as someone said at the time, 'on one’s knees in prayer on Sunday, flat on one’s face with drink on Monday'.
The scarcity of beer was not surprising as the Governor himself had prohibited anyone from brewing the stuff. As mentioned previously this was not an attempt to control drunkenness but rather so that he would be able to make more money from the sale of wine from which he received a kickback. The owners of the local taverns and inns gladly paid up and supplied the soldiers with wine by the pint. 

They never seemed to lack for custom. Poole also mentions the fact that debauchery - by which he meant prostitution - was very common in so far as the soldiers were concerned. So much so that the Governor had taken the unprecedented step of stopping women from coming into Gibraltar, including the wives of soldiers stationed there; a rather uncomplimentary comment on what the authorities thought about these women’s morals.
As also mentioned in a previous chapter, the currency in common usage was the same as that in Spain but there was one curious anomaly. It seems that Spanish silver coins could be purchased for fewer reales in Gibraltar than in Spain which meant that people tended to take them across the frontier to make a simple profit. To stop this, the authorities ordered that a hole be cut out of the centre of the coin thus reducing the amount of silver and therefore its value. Several of these coins seem to have survived and we have it on Poole’s evidence that the hole was always in the shape of a heart. Whoever was responsible for this decision must have had either a feel for romance or a sense of humour.

Despite the obvious inconvenience there was an incentive to carry out Hargrave’s instructions. The owner of the money had to pay out one real to have a coin officially stamped but he was also allowed to keep the heart shaped silver bit which was valued at two reales. There was, of course, an even greater incentive to reduce the cost and increase the profit. People illegally avoided paying the fee altogether by stamping the coin themselves.


Legally stamped coins with ‘official’ heart shaped cut-outs



Illegally stamped coins with ‘irregular’ heart shaped cut-outs
Commenting further on the local population, Poole tells us that the place ‘abounds with inhabitants’ yet the impression  one gets when reading through his diary is that there were not all that many of them. Apart from his landlord and his guide – both of whom might just possibly have also been English - he never refers directly to any local inhabitant although it is sometimes difficult to tell whether he is commenting on the behaviour of the soldiers or of the locals.
There are no official records for population numbers at the time of Poole’s visit but it is almost certain that there were close to two thousand civilians most of them Genoese, Spaniards and Jews with a good sprinkling of what can best be described as ex-pats. Taking a leisurely stroll down Main Street close to the main Catholic Church he was much taken by the appearance of the Spanish women with their black voluminous dresses, a uniform which up to a point persisted in Spain for many years in smaller provincial towns. He stopped for a while to admire them as he watched them putting on their fine lace veils so as to cover their heads before entering the church.

Poole followed the veiled Spanish ladies into the cathedral and later gave us a non-committal description: ‘pretty large and used for divine worship’. He followed this up with a rather more the useful comment. The Vicar seems to have been running some sort of school for Genoese children. As there is no record of any kind of formal schooling in Gibraltar until the next century one can only surmise as to what sort of education was actually taking place. It was much more likely to be of a religious rather than an academic nature.
He also noticed the many Jews with their loose coats and white trousers and wearing sandals without stockings. Many were shop owners but there were also quite a number who were obviously employed to do most of the heavy work in town. There were soldiers everywhere. The Garrison must have well outnumbered the locals. There were over four thousand soldiers on the Rock at the time.
Poole also comments on the north, south, east and west facing bells of the Cathedral, one of which, the north facing one, was cast at the beginning of the 14th Century. His interest, however, was not on their age but on the fact that they were rung by moving their clappers from side to side using bits of string. They therefore produced ‘a very indifferent sort of noise’. This was done, he was told, because the Governor objected to them being rung properly. The noise disturbed his sleep.

Appropriately his next visit was to the Convent where he noted that parts of it were now occupied by the Governor. His description of the church itself provides the rather odd statement that ‘it is large within but unceiled above’. It is hard to believe it possible that it had yet to be repaired twenty odd years after the damage caused to it during the Gunner’s War. It would appear that the authorities must have been unable to find a suitable replacement for Stephen Conning!
Perhaps of more interest to Poole was the fact that very few people attended church services and those who did were ‘little better than indifferent Christians.’ The Protestants on the whole seem to have been left totally unmoved by George Whitfield’s evangelical zeal. Nor did they seem to have been influenced by the great displays of devotion shown by their Catholic co-inhabitants who - as Poole had observed for himself - crowded their Cathedral at least once a week dressed in their Sunday finest.
He later revisited the Convent with a guide recommended by his landlord and was very impressed by the Governor’s gardens. It was an enclosed site, well laid out with all sorts of vegetables. The well which supplied the water was drawn by a contraption described as a wheel with buckets attached to it at intervals. As the wheel turned the lower buckets dipped into the well, filled up with water and then poured it into a trough which lay higher than the level of the garden.
This type of water wheel was known as a ‘noria’, a word of Arabic origin. The wheel is mentioned several times in various other accounts and appears to have been quite a common method used for watering in larger vegetable gardens on the Rock. No doubt it was introduced to Gibraltar during its days as a Moorish town.
Noria
Water, in fact, had always been a perennial problem in Gibraltar. At that time there was no such thing as a general water supply. Some was brought from the south into the centre of town by an arched aqueduct designed by the Moors and updated by a Jesuit priest in the late 16th century. It ran for about a mile and brought the water to a plainly decorated fountain in the Grand Parade from where it was collected by the locals.
Late Eighteenth century print of the water fountain in the Grand Parade  ( 1771 - Thomas James )   ( see LINK )  
Poole’s lodgings were in an ‘airy place’ facing Grand Parade. For the next hundred years or so almost all the best inns, hotels and coffee houses in Gibraltar were situated within this area of town. It was a curious place to have them. As already mentioned the square was used on a daily basis as a place to flog misbehaving civilians and soldiers. The most likely reason why the owners of these establishments chose it was that it was one of the few open places available in a town of crowded, narrow streets.
Poole’s lodgings were very close to the fountain and he took the trouble to taste the water. In his opinion it was ‘soft and well tasted’ a difficult comment to believe by anybody living in Gibraltar during the mid twentieth century. By then the local drinking water was collected and distributed from huge water-catchments that occupied a good portion of the east side of the Rock. 

In those days the water would more likely have been described as bad tasting, hard and almost brackish. The Garrison also used the fountain as a main source of water and employed watermen, known as Aguadores, to deliver small wooden barrels of the stuff by donkey. It was a system that would eventually also be used by many civilian households even up to the middle of the 20th century.
However comfortable his lodgings it must also have been an extremely noisy place. For a start there was the twice daily changing of the guard. A look at a contemporary drawing of the square shows that the soldiers took up their specific positions according to the places where they would be required to do guard duty.
Plan of Grand Parade, later renamed Commercial Square  ( 1771 - Thomas James )   see LINK )  
Those who would remain in the Guard House lined up in front of it. The Governor’s guard took up their position by the prison and all the rest on the side of the square leading into Irish Town. In total there were no less than sixteen different places which required guarding apart from the two already mentioned - the Grand Battery, the Landport, the Princes Line, the Kings Line, Water Port, Line Wall, Willis’s Battery, Middle Hill, Rock, Castle, Hospital, Southport Gate and Advance. There was also a town and an old town guard. The Garrison never did anything by halves.

Middle Hill Battery.

At six o’clock in the morning the signal gun was fired. This was followed by a persistent roll of the drums and the soldiers assembled either to exercise or receive instructions for the day. On church days there was another roll of the drums for prayers and at one o’clock yet again for the soldiers to start work. At six o’clock in the evening the signal gun was fired again after which the drums were beaten for the assembling of the night guard. 

Poole was suitably impressed by the military precision of it all. Perhaps he was less enamoured by the fact that the commanding officer of the Royal Artillery was also given to exercising his guns in the middle of the square, as and when he fancied.
Choosing a fine day to go on a trip to Signal House on the top of the Rock he was able to admire some great views over the bay.


The view south from Signal Hill. The cannon pointing east may or may not have been the one used as the 'signal gun'

On reaching the top he was enthralled to see the cobalt blue of the Mediterranean as it stretched in front of him all the way to Africa. Looking down the sheer cliffs on the eastern side his eyes were drawn by the activities of some fishermen drying their nets in the sun on a small beach a thousand odd feet below him. Using his telescope he made out their weather-beaten faces and mistook them for Moors. Later he found out from his landlord that they were Genoese and that the beach they were on was called Catalan Bay.
The fact is that at that time there were very few people actually living in Catalan Bay. The place seems to have been used by fishermen who remained there during the summer months living in holes or caves on the rocks at the back of the beach. Despite being relatively close to the main town it could only be accessed by a rough track. In the early 20th century a proper road was opened but this was later destroyed by a landslide making the place even less accessible than before.
The Spaniards called the bay La Caleta, a name which is also still in use today. Its alternative name of Catalan Bay has always been the subject of much discussion. For a while it was suggested that the place had been assigned to the Catalans who had helped Hesse’s Dutch army during the capture of Gibraltar ( see LINK ) but it seems rather unlikely as Genoese was the language spoken in the bay during the late eighteenth century and many of its inhabitants continued to do so until the late nineteenth. 

Another suggestion was that Catalan Bay was an English mispronunciation of La Caleta or that the British had somehow confused the Genoese for Catalans but both also seem unlikely. For a start standing orders during the 1727 siege actually give the place a third name – Genoese Cove - and in any case very few Catalans were ever listed on any census taken during the early years after the capitulation.
The most likely explanation is one offered by a local historian. There is considerable evidence that during the seventeenth century Catalan fishermen travelled to the south of Spain every summer in order to fish for Boquerones or anchovies which were quite plentiful in this part of the world. Their main base was at the mouth of the river Palmones which is more or less opposite Gibraltar. It was an ideal place to beach their boats and salt their catch in readiness for taking back home at the end of the season. 

During the War of the Spanish Succession, however, Catalonia was allied to the Archduke Charles of Austria which meant that the fishermen were in effect enemies of Bourbon Spain. It would therefore have seemed quite natural to move out of the beaches of the Palmones and set up their base on the Eastern side of the Rock which by 1704 was in allied hands. When peace was established in 1713 they returned to the more sheltered waters of the Bay. But by then the Catalan association had stuck.
The presence of Genoese fishermen in 1748 as commented on by Poole is  easier to explain. The people of the Ligurian Alps were very dependent on chickpeas and chestnuts for their diet. In fact they were well known for making their pasta, bread and polenta from these ingredients. Whenever the crop of either of these failed, the peasants found it difficult to survive and tended to flock to Genoa which at the time was a very prosperous sea port.

In the early eighteenth century the crop duly failed affecting so many families that there simply was not enough work to go round. Many of them then took the decision to move away to Andalucía as there was a shortage of labour in this part of Spain. The people there were in turn emigrating to a new life in South America. The Genoese of Catalan Bay were fishermen who were part of this exodus from Liguria.
The 1777 the census gives the names of about 50 fishermen living in Catalan Bay. They were all men and there were only four buildings in the village. One can only surmise that the fishermen had left their families in Genoa and were simply involved in seasonal fishing. By 1816 their numbers had increased to about two hundred individuals. Nevertheless only one family had lived there for more than 6 years and a good number hadn’t even lived there for more than one.


Late 19th Century print of 'Catland' Bay ( A Quinton )  

By the nineteenth century living in caves became a thing of the past. Two wine houses were opened by Joseph Bagetto and Manuel Delipiani which were also used as hostels by the fishermen. A few years later the Governor, General Don, ordered that ‘the establishment at Catalan Bay’ should be confined to fishermen, with a few persons employed by them.’ Numbers continued to increase but there were still a large number of individuals who viewed their stay in the village as temporary. By the middle of the nineteenth century, however, the economic depression which had forced these Genoese fishermen to become itinerate workers had were becoming less acute. The seasonal fisherman disappeared and the population finally became entirely made up of permanent residents.
 
French map of Catalan Bay showing houses and lists of the inhabitants living in them. Joseph Bagietto is still living there in House No. 9. Apart from a Jenkins and a Doley all the other surnames are either Genoese, Italian or Spanish . The one and only shop - right in front of the chapel - belonged to Pascual Fava and there were two area close by the beach which were reserved for playing Boules. ( Unknown )     LINK

 For many years the people of Catalan Bay, mostly known as los Caleteños, continued to speak Spanish with an Italian accent. Their long close contact with their original city gave the community a stronger cultural identity with Genoa than their compatriots on the other side of the Rock.
 
Mi Caleta, chiquita y bonita
Con sus cuatro casas,
Vale más que Buenos Aires,
Con sus grandes plazas.

Late 19th century ditty referring to Argentine immigration during this period  ( C. Reiss )     

Poole returned to the main town and after several days rest decided on a trip to Europa Point towards the extreme south of the Rock. As he passed through South Port gate with his landlord as a guide he was taken aback by the sight of the town gallows and the bodies of several murderers and deserters hanging upside down in chains.

Prior to their execution, these prisoners had been obliged to follow a ritual which may have been peculiar to Gibraltar. After being condemned, they were made to attend a place of worship where they were forced to sit through a sermon guarded by four soldiers with bayonets fixed to the muzzles of their guns. After the service they were returned to the dungeon or Black Hole in the Grand Parade and would remain there until the day of their execution. This took place in the main parade ground just outside the South Port gates and usually in front of most of the Garrison. The bodies were then left there for a few days as a warning to others. Poole had just caught a glimpse of the final stages of the process.

The Grand Parade at the Alameda  (  1846 - Captain J.M. Carter )      ( see LINK ) 

Moving further south Poole passed a place called the Vineyard, a beautifully kept garden with many different types of fruit trees. The place was leased to a local by the name of George Picardo who rented it from the Garrison. The nearby house had been granted to his father Antonio in 1708 by Roger Elliott, then Governor of Gibraltar. Elliott had also allowed him to rent the surrounding area so that he could cultivate it. 
Picardo senior, who was Genoese, had actually managed to obtain this concession through marriage. It was another Genoese, Bartholome Canovas who had originally been given permission to live in a ‘cottage and garden near the New Mole’. Originally this had been the site of a chapel called Nuestra Señora del Rosio. The name of Rosia Bay, a small stony beach that lies close by may be a corruption of Rosio although a sixteenth century Spanish map calls it Bahia del Rosia and on another later one it appears as Bahia se Santa Rosa. ( see LINK
Old German map of Gibraltar. The north western coves are given Spanish names; Calita de Juan Verde, Calita de los Remedio, Calita de Landeras. Curiously Rosia is called by its English name of Rosia Bay.
When Canovas died his widow married Antonio Picardo. Elliott simply settled for the status quo. The Picardos were obviously the kind of inhabitants responsible for spreading the word that the Genoese were excellent gardeners. As early as 1714, a relative, Agustin Picardo, bought a ‘garden and cottage in the ditch at Southport from one of the original Spanish inhabitants. His son John continued with his good work. Generally the Picardos must have been both well off and influential. Yet another member of the family, Lorenzo was also granted a property for unknown services rendered and by 1718 was running a coffee shop in town.
Picardo’s Vineyard probably occupied the area to the right of the picture.
On his return to his lodgings his curiosity was drawn towards two quarrelling soldiers. They were collecting wild plants for use in a kind of salad which was quite common in Gibraltar at the time. Poole had actually tried it and found it very agreeable. It consisted of a mixture of dandelion, monks-weed, sorrel, wild leek, parsley and tongue-grass.  Unfortunately apart from this salad he didn’t think much of the rest of the food on the Rock.

Beef and mutton were available but tended to be far too lean for his liking although the locals seemed to prefer it to the fattier versions. Beef, regardless of quality was restricted to three times a week to the rank and file. It was thought to encourage scurvy. In any case the supply of meat was a big bone of contention to everybody including the locals. According to Poole, by the time that the Governor and his officers had taken their share there was very little left for anybody else, lean or otherwise. The Spanish butcher was obviously still doing a good job.

Actually he probably would have been better off blaming Abraham Benidir, Sabine’s Jewish secretary, polyglot and interpreter but also Governor Hargrave’s ( see LINK ) sole importer of beef from Morocco at the time of Poole’s visit. In typically Gibraltarian fashion Abraham made full use of his influence with those on high. His Gibraltar born son Jacob was for a time the British vice-consul in Mogador and was even once sent as an ambassador to London by the Moroccan emperor.
Fish was plentiful but again Poole found them generally indifferent in taste, either too hard or too soft and always ‘mean’ flavoured. On one occasion he was invited by ‘a gentleman’ to try ‘some of the oysters of this place.’ He was not impressed. Although they were ‘very large and much admired by the inhabitants, yet were in taste very indifferent.’ As oysters have long since disappeared from Gibraltar some historians – who incredibly seem to have found time to delve into such matters – have suggested that they were imported. Others argue that these larger than normal oysters were in fact local and point out that the 1777 census lists two Portuguese ‘oystermen.’
The bread, which he didn’t really like either was made not from yeast but by leavening. In other words the local bakers must have used the classic sour dough process whereby mixtures of flour and water were simply left in a warm place for a few days until the mixture began to ferment. This was then used to make the dough and a piece was then reserved to add to the next day’s batch. This kind of process is still used all over the world to produce bread with a distinctive flavour which is different to bread made with fresh yeast.

Sourdough cultures have been collected and passed down for centuries in given localities where the inhabitants take a strong liking to their own particular type. In Gibraltar, and in the surrounding Campo de Gibraltar, this type of bread is called pan de masa dura. It is still considered a delicacy by some - and inedible by others.
Commenting on the trivia of the domestic scene Poole noticed that the washing of linen was done by men ‘who are generally soldiers’ and he disapproved of the fact that men should be involved with anything to do with women’s clothes. One might guess that for a man as prudish as Poole to think about such matters must have given him a certain frisson of excitement.  

To give the man his due Poole was making a good general point. There was a Garrison tendency to use soldiers for purposes other than military from which he makes the interesting observation that in Gibraltar certain activities which were elsewhere not very well regarded were acceptable simply because they had become part of local military tradition.  
Back in his lodgings Poole was confronted with a great cannonade; it was King George the Second’s 65th birthday. They gave him a 65 gun salute.
King George II
That evening he was also treated to more noise. The garrison put on a tremendous firework display from the Parade which was answered by another from the Soldier’s Hospital on the other side of the Rock.
Poole’s account of his carefree wandering about through Gibraltar gives the impression of a relatively open town with little restriction of movement to the casual tourist. The changing of the guard at Grand Parade was an interesting if noisy ritual, the continuous calls of the numerous sentinels exotically pleasant, the people generally polite. 

On one occasion, however, when Poole had strayed just that little bit too far he received what he called a ‘civil message’ from the Governor warning him that he had exposed himself to arrest by the officers of the Garrison and that he should be more careful in the future: all this to somebody who was a distinguished Protestant, a well known writer of the day and on good personal terms with several commanding officers of the garrison, including the Governor. If he had to watch his step one can only imagine what it might have been like for the ordinary local.
In fact the military discipline that regulated everyday civilian life including such matters as the colour in which they were allowed to paint their houses or even when they were permitted to be out of doors and when not. On the other hand, while these restrictions were considered quite onerous to British residents, the non-British population was relatively indifferent to them. Most of them were quite used to far more restrictive and capricious conditions in the countries from which they had originally come from.
Poole’s visit to Gibraltar coincided with the last year or so of William Hargrave’s stint as Governor of the Rock. His term of office was in a sense the culmination of a philosophy of greed and malpractice of which mention has been made previously and which started with Colonel Roger Ellott, the first Governor appointed by the British Government. All this was about to come to an end - or so it seemed - with the advent of a brand new type of governance in the shape of Lieutenant-General Humphrey Bland. ( see LINK