The following is a list of quotes from those visitors and others who found time to write about la Caleta - aka Catalan Bay aka la Almadrabilla ( see LINK ) - and told us what they thought of it.
Discussing the Turkish raid on Gibraltar in 1540, Maldonado states;
1625- Alonso Hernández del Portillo - Historia de Gibraltar ( see LINK ). . . llegaron á ella jueves 9 de Setiembre, á las nueve horas de la noche, y surgieron detrás del monte de Gibraltar, á la parte donde llaman la Almadravilla . . . E n t o n c e s los turcos se levantaron de la Almadravilla, donde estaban surtos, y pasáronse á la caleta del Laudero. . .
Portillo makes no mention of any Caleta on the east side of the Rock. However, he does identify the Almadrabilla, albeit rather confusingly,
Toda esta agua tan dulce y tan buena se destila del monte, y es cosa muy de notar, que casi dentro de la mar a lo menos lo esta cuando es creciente se ven al pie del monte, al pasar de la Almadravilla fuentes de agua dulcísima, e yo he bebido muchas veces de ella.Ángel J. Sáez Rodríguez in his article El “Proyecto para sorprender a Gibraltar de Francisco del Pozo Aldana states:
Se embarcaron en la boca del Guadiaro en una lancha que los condujo a la cala de la Almadrabilla, actual Catalan Bay. ( see LINK )
His reference for this is Portillo as interpreted and transcribed by yet another Spanish Historian, A. Torremocha Silva.
1704 - Footnote in George Hills - Rock of Contention
The tradition is strong in Catalonia that some hundreds of Catalans who had rallied to Hesse's side when he landed at Barcelona were evacuated with him, and took part in the capture of Gibraltar. . . . it is difficult to see how Catalans in any quantity would have made their way to Gibraltar at any time between August 1704 and August 1705. The conclusion would therefore seem inescapable that several hundred Catalans did in fact take part in the landing and during the whole siege served in the Catalan Company and Catalan battery to which there are numerous references in all the primary documents.
It is hard to disagree with Hills. On the other hand there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the Catalans ever landed anywhere near Catalan Bay or that they were later billeted there. However . . .
1725 - George Hill - La Población de Gibraltar a Través de la Historia
Según el censo de Agosto de 1725 . . . Sobrevivía además la comunidad catalana no censada, que se había refugiado allí ( Gibraltar) durante la guerra de Sucesión, en los años en que Felipe V se vengaba de los catalanes. Aparentemente vivían extra muros. Alrededor de la Bahía de los Catalanes? Puede ser.
I imagine that these Catalans were the same ones who had taken part in the 11th and 12th Sieges. But again there is absolutely no evidence that these people were separated from everybody else and sent to live in Catalan Bay. In 1725 the civilian population was slightly greater than a thousand. There was plenty of space in town for everybody.
A wedding at Catalan Bay ( late 19th C )
1727 - Standing orders for the siege of 1727 refer to the bay as the Genoese Cove. The name never caught on, but the suggestion is that no matter who had lived in it in the past, it was now mainly inhabited by Genoese.
1748 - Robert Poole - The Beneficent Bee ( see LINK )
During my being in this situation, (on the top of the Rock) casting my eye down the Rock upon the shore eastward, I was amused with the motion of something upon the sand, which seemed so small that I could not tell what to conclude them to be; till, using my telescope, I perceived that they were fishermen, busied in their occupation, walking upon the shore and spreading their nets.
1771 - Thomas James - The History of the Herculean Straits ( see LINK )The exceeding height of the Rock was such as reduced them so small. that I could not distinguish what they were, but by the help of the spying glass, I could perceive what they were of Moorish complexion , which by enquiry, I was afterwards informed were Genoese, who had their dwellings in holes in the rocks.
Although published in 1771 James refer to Gibraltar as he found it in the 1750s.
The order in which these places are given suggest that James was somewhat confused as to their actual position. Worse still he is rather inconsistent and names it Genoese Cove no less than three times elsewhere.. . . we then skimmed by the Little bay, the Catalan bay, and at the foot of a vast bed of red sand, which elevates itself under the middle hill guard, where the Spaniards attempted to have surprised the garrison.
. . . detach two officers with thirty men each to take up the ground from the Genoese cove to defend the corner of the rock . .1782 - Ignacio López de Ayala - Historia de Gibraltar ( see LINK )
Then in a clear reference to the fact that the Almadrabilla is protected by the sheer cliffs of the east side of the Rock.Como a las nueve de la noche del 9 de Noviembre entraron los Turcos en la caleta que a la espalda del monte llamaban la Almadrabilla . . . . . La espalda del monte está cortada hasta una altura que la deja fuera de todo peligro. La senda del Pastor se ha borrado, sin que queden vestigios; i en la caleta de la Almadrabilla, en la circunferencia de las puntas de Europa, frente las caletas que corren a buscar el muelle nuevo, no solo han tajado la piedra , sino que han añadido murallas , reparos , i mucha artillería. . . .
Then a reference to the famous climb by Simon Susarte; ( see LINK )Toda esta orilla era de acceso facil, l como he dicho se extiende ochocientos setenta i cinco pasos: bien diferente de la que retrocede costeando a hasta la almadrabilla , que casi toda esta defendida con una muralla natural de rocas.
La senda del Pastor se ha borrado , sin que queden vestigios; l en la caleta de la Almadrabilla . . .1782 - James Bell in a footnote of his translation of Ignacio López de Ayala's - Historia de Gibraltar
Approaching the Mediterranean is the Devil’s Tower, beyond which are two bays * whence a narrow path called Senda del Pastor, or Shepherd's Path . . . led to the-Heights of the Quiebra and the place called Silleta,
Footnote -The larger one is now called Catalan Bay.
Catalan Bay extreme bottom right and the Silleta shown as a gap between the two hiegh peaks of the Rock shown in the photograph ( 1860s - G. Washington Wilson ) ( see LINK )
A man was discovered near Catalan Bay by the guard at Middle-HillIn his Deadly Visitations in Dark Times - which was published in 2000 - L.A. Sawchuk is of the opinion that Catalan Bay was only permanently settled shortly after 1787. He bases this assumption on the fact that the Spanish commander at San Roque complained to the British authorities about construction work going on in la Caleta which was beyond the limits stipulated by the Treaty of Utrecht.
1800 - Rev Cooper Willyams - Voyage up the Med ( see LINK )
Catalan Bay is a romantic spot to which the Spanish smugglers resort and deposit their contraband goods, which are afterwards conveyed in small quantities round to the town. There is a cavern in the bottom of this bay that has been inhabited by an ancient Spaniard for more than forty years. He and his son and daughter have made a little garden near it, where they produce plenty of vegetables, which they carry to market at Gibraltar; and they also possess an herd of goats, whose milk they also turn to a good account.1804 - A visitor writing in the Gentleman's Magazine tells us that:
On the east side is Cataline Bay; here is only one house; there are several caves or holes in the Rock where the fishermen live; there is a garden belonging to the house where the owner sells wine, porter, fish etc to those who go about the Rock visiting these parts.1809 - Sir John Carr - Descriptive Travels ( see LINK )
Near Catalan Bay, at the back of the rock as it is called, on the eastern side, is vast heap of this sand, which reaches more than two-thirds up the precipice. The traveller will do well to pay a visit to Catalan Bay, situated at the base of the eastern side of the rock, which is there, perfectly inaccessible: this spot is truly romantic and beautiful.
Here under the shade of vines and fig-trees, in company with some intelligent engineer officers, with a fine beach and rolling sea in our front, and in our rear the cliffs of this mighty rock, on the sides of which several monkeys were playing their “fantastic tricks,” we dined in refreshing coolness, although it was sultry- hot on the other side of the rock. . .Referring to the Peninsular War:
. . . Another body of loyal Spaniards had more sensibly encamped themselves, with the permission of the governor, in Catalan Bay.1825 - Chatham Standing Orders ( see LINK )
The gun at Catalan Bay may also be fired, by order of the officer stationed there, at any vessels attempting land, or to cut out vessels from the Bay.1827 - Andrew Bigelow - Travels in Malta and Sicily ( see LINK )
The harbor of Gibraltar beneath, and on the other side of the promontory, the broad bay of Catalan with its graceful sweep of blue waters, under the serene bright sky of such a day as the present, come in for the tribute of admiration to the beauties they lend, in completing the natural features of the magnificent scene.1830 - J Hennen - Sketches of Medical ( see LINK )
At Catalan Bay there is a small detachment, which formerly remained for some months, but is now relieved every fortnight. The men who compose it are accommodated in barracks, and have in general enjoyed excellent health. Catalan Bay is situated on the east face of the rock, in a recess formed by two very high and projecting masses of sand.
Though the village fronts the east, yet in the heaviest gales of wind from that quarter, scarce an additional breath of air is felt, while on the isthmus, over which we must pass to reach it, the power of the wind is very great. This effect is obviously produced by the height of the rock, preventing the direct passage of the current of air across the village, while it has an uninterrupted flow across the flat isthmus. The rock, also, screens Catalan Bay from the westerly breezes, so that the ventilation is effected principally by irregular puffs from the north-east or south-east winds.
Local ladies leaving the church with the Rock looming above them ( 1953 - Ralph Crane ) ( see LINK )
Masses of the rock are often detached in this neighbourhood after heavy rains, to the injury of the property and lives of the inhabitants. The sea, also, frequently makes serious encroachments upon the houses.There are no tanks in Catalan Bay: the water in the wells is generally good.. . . . in 1824 an ophthalmic ward was established, but it did not answer ; the heat and reflection from the sand and bare rock obviated all the advantages derived from a change of air.
Convalescents from other diseases, and weakly men, may enjoy here many advantages, if kept from the wine-house, and in all other respects, placed under strict discipline. The establishment is of great use, as it keeps out of the garrison and brings under due police a large body of fishermen, by whose labours, the town is principally supplied with a cheap and wholesome article of food.
Also according to Jason Musteen:
In larger epidemics, they also established lazarettos on the south end of Gibraltar on Windmill Hill, on the east side of Gibraltar at Catalan Bay . .1831 - Alexander Slidell- Mackenzie- A year in Spain V2 ( see LINK )
There are also many pleasant excursions on foot and horseback within the circumscribed extent of the Rock. Such is that to Catalan Bay, a little fishing-settlement planted upon the shore, immediately under the overhanging projection of the mountain. I chanced to be caught there one day in the rain with a couple of my countrymen, and we had an opportunity of experiencing the insecurity of this singular nestling-place.
Hardly had we taken refuge in the tavern and drawn our horses in after us -for there was no stable—when we heard a rumbling noise as if the mountain was sliding down upon us, and presently a crash of rafters. We all ran out, some with hats, some without; all the huts of Catalan Bay poured forth their inmates - boys and girls, men and women; the fishermen left their nets, which they were hanging over their boats upon the beach, and crowded round in confusion.
The fact was, a piece of the Rock had detached itself from above, bounded down the declivity, and dashed through the roof of a house; but no one, however, was hurt; so we joined the fishermen in thanking God, and when the rain abated took horse and rode home. .
Catalan Bay ( 1830s - William Mein Smith ) ( see LINK )
1838 - A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer - Gibraltar
The town of Gibraltar, though much improved of late years, is still confined, ill ventilated, and over-crowded with inhabitants; the number of which have, however, been diminished by the erection of villages at Catalan bay1840 - G.N.Wright - Sir Grenville Temple - The Shores and Islands of the Med
The town has undergone yearly improvements, yet still remains confined, crowded, and ill-ventilated. The villages at Catalan Bay and the Neutral Ground have induced many families to remove thither from Gibraltar.
1845 - Rev William Robertson - Journal of a Clergyman . . . 1841
Of the excursions in the neighbourhood, the shortest, and one of the pleasantest, is to Catalan village and bay. In order to reach this pretty village, leaving Gibraltar by the Land-port, we pass under the bluff perpendicular precipice which overhangs the neutral ground, and beneath the guns of the upper lines, which are seen looking gruffly out of their rocky portholes at a vast height overhead.
Doubling round the foot of this warlike precipice, we come to the shore of the Mediterranean, and find a narrow path through deep sand overhanging the sea, across that singular bed of sand formerly mentioned as occupying part of the eastern side of the rock. Following this for a short distance, we come to Catalan village, a singularly pretty and romantic hamlet, occupying a few yards of level ground at the back of the rock, at the foot of the gigantic precipice which rises immediately behind, and between it and the margin of the sea.
It is a fishing village, very neat and clean, with little gardens between some of the houses, and a pretty sandy bay in front. It belongs o Gibraltar, and offers an exceedingly convenient place of refuge to the smugglers, who, when hard pressed by the Spanish coast-guard, and unable to make their escape through the straits into the bay of Gibraltar, are sometimes obliged to run their craft ashore here, where they are under British protection.1846 - E.F. Kelarrt - Flora Calpense ( see LINK )
Catalan bay is on the east side of the rock, facing the Mediterranean. The small village attached to it is picturesquely situated near the shore, bounded on three sides by the rock; on the southern aspect is also the immense mound of blown sand, which attracts the attention of even the casual visitor.
The approach to Catalan bay is, after leaving the garrison, a road on the left of the bay-side guard ; this road round the base of the northern side of the rock, having the neutral ground before it, and it terminates in a bridle-path, about a quarter of a mile from Catalan bay ; this pathway is rather dangerous, from the nature of the sandy soil, and a deep precipice overhanging the sea on the left side of the road ; danger is always to be apprehended from the rolling down of loose fragments of the rock, a casualty to which the little village is also liable. There have been instances of large blocks of the rock rolling over into the interior of the houses through the roof.
The late commanding officer's quarter was thus visited on one occasion by a heavy boulder, but the family fortunately escaped being hurt. During tempestuous weather, the sea approaches some of the houses, and the water finds its way sometimes into the lower apartments. In summer this village might be made a delightful residence, were it not for the easterly wind which has here its worst effects.
The sun sinking a few hours after noon behind this part of the Rock leaves the rest of the day cool and agreeable; there are, however, but few commodious houses available to families requiring summer quarters. The population of the village scarcely exceeds three hundred souls; they are chiefly engaged in fishing. There is here a Roman Catholic chapel, with a small school attached to it. About thirty soldiers are always stationed here, in charge of a captain, who is also the civil superintendent of the place.
Catalan Bay and Water Catchments ( 1931 - George Lewis Land ) ( see LINK )
. . . near its northern extremity, crouched the little village of Catalan Bay, the only one in view, with its white houses, looking as if it must inevitably be crushed some day by falling masses of rock . . . Catalan Bay, a nest of fishermen and smugglers, to which the only access is by a road carried round the north-east angle of the rock.. . .
Catalan Bay, a romantic little cove, overhung by precipices, bordered by a few white houses and the huts of the fishermen, who spread their nets to dry upon the beach; a scene the quiet and seclusion of which curiously contrasts with the bustle of the town, from which it is but a brief half-hour’s walk. No one should on any account omit to pay it a visit.
1852 - Ángel María Monti - Historia de Gibraltar
Algunos buques de menor porte fondearon en la ensenada de la 'Caleta' a la parte del Este de la montaña, conocida también por 'Bahia de los catalanes'. .
1854 - Thomas Landmann - Recollections of a Military Life
I was proceeding one day to the back of the rock in search of a large piece of the petrified water; and on reaching a little bay preceding Catland-Bay, with a narrow sandy beach, hemmed-in by rocks, I met General Fox's family returning, in consequence of Mrs. Fox having been nearly drowned, in attempting to cross that bay, by a wave which had swept her into the sea; and it was with great difficulty, and considerable personal risk to himself, that Captain Young, the General's Aide-de-Camp, had, by rushing into the sea, been able to save her; as both were several times carried backwards and forwards before Captain Young could regain and secure his footing. . .General Fox was Henry Edward Fox, acting Governor of Gibraltar. That was his wife who nearly drowned.
. . we had recourse to a most charmingly secluded spot on the Eastern side of the Rock, called Catland Bay, of which the name is sufficient to bring to my recollection, in the liveliest colours, numberless parties of pleasure in that charming retreat.
Such, indeed, were the attractions of its romantic scenery, and the delightful coolness of the shade, caused by the sun passing, at about one o'clock daily, behind the Rock which here formed the Western boundary of this place, and which rises perpendicularly to the height of about fourteen hundred feet, that, during nearly a whole summer, our mess assembled every Thursday at Catland Bay, there to dine under the thick foliage of grape-vines, trained so as to cover a large space by the side of a luxuriant vegetable garden, having a good well of fresh water within fifty yards of the sea.
During the preparations of cooking and spreading the tables, we usually passed an hour or two in rambling along the beach to the Southward, as far as the perpendicular cliff, which rises out of deep water to a vast height, and beyond which no one can advance on the shore.
Others amused themselves in ascending the enormous bank of sand, extending from near the water's edge, at an angle of more than thirty degrees, to within three hundred or four hundred feet of the top of the rock, and consequently must be full one thousand feet high. On these occasions we were frequently pelted by the monkeys . . .
. . . I passed several very agreeable mornings, riding with the General until his usual dinner-hour, when on reaching his residence, he often invited me to dine with him. It was on one of these occasions, when the General and myself were passing along the side of his meadow on the Neutral Ground, on our way to the Eastern beach, or perhaps to Catland Bay, that we came upon a dozen or two of his sheep feeding there, accompanied by a black ram. His Excellency, turning to me, said, "Are you acquainted with the celebrated Sir Joseph Banks?" "Not particularly," was my reply. "I have been introduced to him by my father . . .1854 - Reginald Fowler - Hither and Thither ( see LINK )
. . . the little village of Catalan Bay, nestling timidly under the frowning rock, is now for the first time seen. It is garrisoned by a company of soldiers, from Gibraltar, and is a mere fishing village. Except this little sandy cove, all is precipitous rock on this side.
1855 - 'A Naval Chaplain' - The Ladies Companion and Monthly MagazineCatalan bay is inaccessible from Europa point, but when the wind blows strongly from the east, the walk round the north end of the rock, to this sequestered nook, is most striking. Above, is a natural wall of rock, a quarter-of-a-mile high, and almost perpendicular; and at your feet a raging roaring surf, breaking furiously on the shore, while the pathway is scarcely more than a yard in width.
A more pleasing excursion, though more distant than the last, is a visit to Catalan Bay, with its colony of Genoa boatmen. These latter emigrated from their own country more than 100 years ago, but do not seem to have benefited much by the change of residence, nor to have altered their habits of life. The only possessions acquired by these adventurers consist of the shores of a small bay on the east side of the Rock, which here rises to a height of 1,400 feet above the level of the sea . . .
1860 - Francisco María Montero - - Historia de Gibraltar ( see LINK )
En la caleta o bahía de los catalanes, situada detrás del monte con vista al Mediterráneo, hay también casas con unos 260 habitantes, capilla católica, escuela y un destacamento de treinta hombres al mando de un capitán, que es el gobernador del punto. Las casas están construidas en la playa, que en tres parajes forma allí el monte, habiendo al lado de ellos un inmenso depósito de arena movediza.
Para ir a ella se sale por la Puerta de tierra y faldeando el monte por el lado del norte se toma un camino bueno, que termina a un cuarto de milla de dicha bahía; ya de aquí hay una senda estrecha y casi peligrosa por los precipicios que hay a la izquierda y que dan al mar. No deja de ser también peligrosa la aldea por hallarse expuesta a ser aplastada por los peñascos que suelen desprenderse del monte, y que a veces han ocasionado no pocas catástrofes.
Cuando la invasión francesa muchos de los vecinos de San Roque, que allí se refugiaron, fueron víctimas de uno de estos terribles desprendimientos. . . En cambio el paraje tiene cierta agreste y sombría belleza que los amantes a las escenas naturales no pueden menos de admirar. El imponente y altísimo promontorio con sus salientes peñascos lo cubre y priva del sol desde el mediodía, y por otra parte cuando el mar está borrascoso se ven estrellar las rugientes olas en la pedregosa playa bañando casi los edificios. . . .
Referring to the raid on Gibraltar by the Turkish Corsairs, Montero continues. .
Then, when the Corsairs left for home;. . . Bajo tan favorables auspicios llegaron estos en la noche del 9 de setiembrey desembarcaron varios de ellos en una de las caletas que están a espaldas del monte, llamada la Almadrabilla . . . .
No era el ánimo de los enemigos volver al combate; y contentos con su botín recogieron el destacamento de los Tarfes que, mientras ellos en la población habían saqueado la ermita de Europa, y embarcáronse todos sin tropiezo en el mismo sitio de la Almadrabilla, después de haber estado cuatro horas en tierra.It seems rather unlikely that the Turks would have been able to move right across the town and along the North front in order to get to la Caleta. At that time there was no other way to get to it from Europa Point.
. . . La punta de Europa seguía después; siendo el extremo mas sobresaliente por la parte del Mediterráneo la punta del León, fortaleza natural de inaccesibles rocas. Siguiendo la dirección de levante y rodeando el monte estaba la caleta llamada la Almadrabilla, y después había otras dos, la mayor de las cuales se llamaba y se llama en el día bahía de los Catalanes; y viniendo al extremo del rodeo, o sea la parte norte del monte, remataban las fornicaciones con la torre del Diablo. . .From this description one can deduce that the Almadrabilla is not Catalan Bay. According to the Encyclopaedia of the World's Coastal Landforms, edited in 2010:
Along North Sandy Bay and narrow sandy beaches extend along North Sandy Bay and Blackstrap Cove. Shirley Cove is rocky, and Guilds Point, Blair's Point and St Abbe's Head are minor protrusions.I am not sure where the author got the last four names from but they were definitely not in common usage in the mid 20th century. Montero also mentions:
. . . el templo de San José, una cómoda capilla en la Caleta . . .The Church is still there.
1860 - Walter Thornbury - Life in Spain (see LINK )
I had . . . gone to Catalan Bay, that quiet, storm-washed fishing-station, with its melancholy one officer on duty . . . fêted with bitter beer . . .1862 - Frederick Sayer - The History of Gibraltar ( see LINK )
Showing his disdain for everything to do with the local inhabitants Sayer, who was Civil Magistrate at the time, dismisses Catalan Bay in a single sentence.
On the eastern side of the Rock, ensconced in a sandy nook called Catalan Bay, are a few houses occupied principally by fishermen of Genoese origin.1868 - 'Naval Chaplain - Leaves from a Mediterranean Journal ( see LINK )
A more pleasing excursion, though more distant than the last, is a visit to Catalan Bay, with its colony of Genoa boatmen. These latter emigrated from their own country more than 100 years ago, but do not seem to have benefited much by the change of residence, nor to have altered their habits of life.
The only possessions acquired by these adventurers consist of the shores of a small bay on the east side of the Rock, which here rises to a height of 1,400 feet above the level of the sea, and is crowned by a signal station.'The last excursion' was a walk from the Alameda Gardens to the Neutral Ground which leaves us with the impression that it was not all that easy to get to Catalan Bay. The description is also odd in that no mention is actually made of the village itself.
1875 - Howard Irby - Ornithology ( see LINK )
I made arrangements, by aid of the "almighty dollar," with some men who had been goatherds at Catalan Bay,A curious comment which suggests that there were more than just fishermen residing in Catalan Bay:
1877 - William James Joseph Spry - The Cruise of HMS Challenger
On the east side of the Rock, near Catalan Bay, there is a sand formation similar to that on the Neutral Ground; this deposit has attained the enormous height of 1000 feet. There is no road round this side, for a portion of the sand has been excavated at the point where the isthmus joins the Rock, and the water of the bay flows in so as to leave only a narrow low dyke of firm ground.Not entirely sure about this excavation. Perhaps the author is referring to the Innundation which was actually on the South west side of the isthmus.
There is also a small barrack for a detachment stationed at CatalanBay, a smallvillage on the eastern side of the Rock, ensconced in a sandy bay, and occupied principally by fishermen of Genoese origin.
1883 - The Bruce Herald - New Zealand
The most peculiar colony is that of Genoese, at the back of the rock in the quaint tumble-dawn village known as Catalan Bay. These are the descendants of some shipwrecked mariners from an Italian vessel, who were cast ashore here, and presumably prospered, sending home for their wives and families, and establishing themselves permanently on an hospitable soil.1888 - Major Gilbard - A Popular History of Gibraltar ( see LINK )
A small fishing village at the back of the "Rock, in a small sandy bay, to which there is a good road from the North Front Quarries. It is inhabited chiefly by the descendants of Genoese fishermen, and there is also a detachment of soldiers from one of the regiments in the town always quartered there, in a small and convenient barrack; at the back of which is a small Roman Catholic Church.
The village is well worth a visit, as the Rock nowhere looks more grand and imposing than the steeps which rise almost perpendicularly behind it. These occasionally remind the villagers of their close proximity in a manner no less practical than dangerous, by tumbling big stones down upon their dwellings, which has sometimes occasioned not a few disasters.
During the French invasion many of the inhabitants of San Roque who had sought refuge at Catalan Bay, were victims of a large fall of stone from the cliffs. In 1870 there was a very large landslip, but fortunately on the road near the North Front, so the village escaped. The road was, however, destroyed, but as the fall happened in the night no lives were lost.
In the flood of November, 1875, the little church was completely gutted by the torrent of sand and stones washed from the rocks above, and some of the out-buildings of the barracks were buried, but there were no casualties. The village passed, a path over the sand leads to the next bay (Sandy Bay), from which no further progress can be made.
Military Barracks in Catalan Bay - the top of the church is just visible behind the roof of the main building ( 1860s - George Washington Wilson )
Field only makes a passing historical aside on Catalan Bay. The Spanish shepherd is Simon Susarte. ( see LINK )
And so a Spanish shepherd, or goatherd, had found a path from Catalan Bay, up which he offered to lead a party to the top,
Catalan Bay from Mediterranean Battery ( 1900 - F. G. Stephens )
1889 - Captain Buckle, (see LINK) Colonial Engineer - Confidential
The houses have no latrines or slop sinks - the people dispose of their excreta and slope such as they can - by deposit on the sea shore - as a rule. The houses are generally in bad repair and the pavements are bad and there are many dirty sheds. The place is however, I believe, healthy in spite of all the disadvantages for the people lead an active, sober outdoor life.
1911 - Baedeker's Mediterranean
. . . to the Devil's Tower (10 min. from the Land Port), probably an old Genoese watch-tower. The road then turns to the S. to Catalan Bay, below the E. flank of the rock, just allowing room for the little fishing-village of Caleta. The rocks contain several caves.A moot distinction between the bay - Catalan Bay - and the village - Caleta.
Baedeker map identifying both Catalan Bay and Salto Garrobo - Sandy Bay ( 1911 )
1934 - Sydney A. Clark - Spain on $50
Gibraltar town, consisting practically of one street, which deserves the name it bears, Main Street, is not interesting but it is clean. The village of Caletas on the other side of the rock is not clean but it is interesting. It is completely separated from the North Town, Rosia, and Europa settlements on the other side. The sun sets on it shortly after noon.
Its inhabitants are descended from Genoese fishermen. And to add to its appeal it is more exposed to danger than is any other settlement on Gibraltar. One is disconcerted on approaching it to read on signboards placed beside the road this warning couched in phraseology that appears to the American eye awkward if not ungrammatical.
Beware of Falling StonesThe Public Are Warned Not to LoiterBetween the Three Notice Boards
Catalan Bay ( 1928 - The voyage of the USS Resolute )
The public are indeed very unlikely to loiter between these three boards. One glance at the wicked beetling cliffs overhead is enough to dispel any such tendency. Various tragedies have occurred here.
In 1811 an immense stone broke loose and plunged down on the unfortunate village, killing eighteen and wounding as many more.
In 1870 a large slip wiped out the road close by but did not touch the village. In 1875 a flood occurred which loosened such immense quantities of sand and stones that much of the village, including the little St. Mary's Chapel, was wiped out.
In 1917 a great rock broke loose and plunged down on the corrugated iron water catchments, tearing jagged holes and loosening such quantities of sand beneath that a great part of the village was again wiped out. But these intermittent tragedies, emphasizing the obstinate loyalty of the human race, have only served to strengthen the hold of this little village of Catalan Bay upon its inhabitants. The oftener they are endangered the more tenaciously they cling to their ancestral homes.
Local fisherman ( 1954 - Bert Hardy ) ( see LINK )
The new generation ( 1954 - Bert Hardy )
Catalan Bay women at work ( 1954 - Bert Hardy )
The Rawson Committee strongly advised a completely new dock on the east side of the Rock in the neighbourhood of Catalan Bay. This they contended was 'fourteen times more safe' than the west side . . . they recommended the immediate expenditure of five million on an eastern harbour. The work would have taken about ten years.
1959 - Allen Andrews - Proud Fortress ( see LINK )
Ballesteros . . He beat them soundly at San Roque . . .The exiled citizens of the Rock, or their descendents, were not then at San Roque to applaud, but back in Gibraltar proper again, where they had been offered refuge from the French and lived mostly at Catalan Bay.
There is no great snobbism in Gibraltar. Willie Isola, solicitor and city councillor, who is not impressed that his family were among the first Genoese in Catalan Bay, jokes that no one traces his ancestors too assiduously because he generally finds they were hanged . . .2000 - Maurice Harvey - Gibraltar, a History
If time permits, a brief visit can be made to Catalan Bay . . . It is mainly of interest for the splendid close-up view of the north face of the Rock and from here many of the military accretions and embrasures can be clearly seen.So much for poor old Catalan Bay . .
2003 - Almoraima Magazine Estancia del . . 'José Luis Díez' en Gibraltar
Durante el combate nocturno, y dado que el buque republicano estaba pegado a la costa y se confundía con las rocas, algunos de los disparos efectuados por el Vulcano y que pretendían alcalizar al JLD cayeron en la pequeña villa de pescadores de la Caleta, situada junto a la playa de Catalan Bay, dañando algunas de las modestas viviendas que allí existían e hiriendo a cuatro personas. Una de ellas, un agente de policía de nombre Joseph Baglietto, murió con posterioridad a consecuencia de dichas heridas.2007 - Tito Benady - La Población de Gibraltar después del 6 de agosto de 1704
Quoting from E.G.Archer, E.P. Vallejo and Tito Benady - Catalan Bay
Los pescadores genoveses que faenaban en la bahía de los Catalanes llegaban y se refugiaban en las cuevas cerca de la playa; venían en sus botes de seis o siete metros, de la costa de Liguria y, después de pasar una o más temporadas en Gibraltar, volvían a Liguria donde tenían sus familias y casas. Además de surtir a la ciudad con pescado, cosechaban boquerones que salaban y enviaban a Génova. Esto continuó hasta mediados del siglo XIX, cuando la presión sobre la población de la costa de Liguria se amainó cuando tuvieron la posibilidad de emigrar en masa a las Américas en las nuevas líneas de buques a vapor, y ya no les era necesario ganarse la vida en una forma tan incómoda y azarosa.
The modern village ( 21st century - Evanor on Flickr )
Main Article ( see LINK )