The People of Gibraltar
1876 - The New Market Place - Bargaining, and Cheating
. . . . Tourists should not neglect, en passant, to visit the several markets, if possible early in the morning ; not so much for the special value of the various articles offered for sale, as for picturesqueness of surroundings and dress of the motley crowd. Moors, Turks, Greeks, Jews, the Spanish smuggler, the Catalan sailor, the red coat of the English private, all mingle together, bawling, disputing, bargaining, and cheating in their different tongues, ways, and gestures.  
The fish-market is another sight not to be omitted. The fish is excellent and varied. There is always a good supply of fruit from Spain and Morocco ; the Tangerine oranges are exquisite. Henry George O’Shea - 1899 - ( see LINK )
On the 15th of April 1876, the Prince of Wales made his second visit to the Rock ( see LINK )  and as usual and probably much to his chagrin he was obliged to what visiting Royalty is usually supposed to do - meet people they have little interest in, open events that bore them to distraction and lay foundation stones for buildings they will never visit once they had been built.

As regards the later Prince Edward could hardly escape. The laying of the foundation stone of Gibraltar's new market near Waterport was organised with the assistance of the local Masonic Lodge 153. As the Prince happened to be the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England,  it was obviously felt very appropriate that he should  be asked to lay the foundation stone of the market.  Unable to refuse he did so dressed in full Masonic regalia. 


A rather blurred picture of Edward, Prince of Wales laying the foundation stone of the new market at Chatham Counterguard.

The buildings and layout were the work of Captain S. Buckle - the Colonial engineer at the time - and on the 1st November 1877 the new market was opened to the public. An official photographer was sent to take a few snapshots of the place shortly after. The result was then carefully collected in an album and filed away in the Colonial Office library in Gibraltar. It remained there, probably only seen by a select few who were allowed to do so - but definitely not by the general public - until graciously released by the British Government's National Archive more than a hundred and thirty years later.  Who exactly took these  photographs is unknown as the Colonial Office probably thought such information to be relatively unimportant. 

The new market seems to have been designed with two main objectives in mind - the first in order to locate all the different markets that have existed before it in one place. Meat, for example, had originally been sold from a building in Irish Town which had been converted into a Police Station in 1864. It is hard to tell where the meat was sold in the intervening years  Also, the original vegetable market was in a place suitably known as La Plaza de la Verdura located in Cornwallis Parade - so named after Edward Cornwallis who was Governor during the late !8th century. The name had now been changed to Cornwall's Parade.

The second main objective would have been met when the market was placed in a Gap between the curtain wall - with its Waterport Gates - and the main entrance to the town via the Grand Casemates Gates. It meant that market vendors had no real need to enter the town. 


Also known as the Moorish Market as most of the vendors were Moorish 







This covered shed lay just underneath the western flank of North Bastion. Most households in Gibraltar at the time used charcoal for cooking - much of it produced in the surrounding Campo area. Most local housewives, however, preferred to buy their charcoal from street vendors with donkeys with panniers laden with the stuff conveniently brought to their doorsteps




The new market was itself demolished and replaced with the present market hall in 1929.