The People of Gibraltar
1820 - Henry Sandham - Sketches


1.  Spanish Church - La Plaza - Strada Reale

The Strada Reale must refer to Main Street. (See LINK) The term la Plaza was often used by both locals and Spaniards to refer to either Commercial Square - out of the picture on the right - or indeed to the town of Gibraltar itself. It is not a very informative caption in this case. The sketch looks south towards the Spanish Church - the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned. It had been reconstructed in 1810 in order to widen and straighten Main Street. 

To the right is the Exchange and Commercial Library (See LINK) and the bust in the niche is that of the Governor General George Don. (see LINK) The library's western facade gave out on to the previously mentioned Commercial Square - now known officially as John Mackintosh Square and unofficially as the Piazza. The building facing the viewer and to the right of the library with a large sign on the Main Street side was Griffiths' Hotel, possibly the best one in town at the time. 

The crowds seem to be made up mostly of what were probably members of and visitors to the library. The odd Moorish and other traders, a few soldiers and women and rather too many dogs make up the busy scene. All the dogs in the Garrison  had been ordered to be put down during the Great Siege (see LINK) but the problem seems to have persisted. According to James Anton, (see LINK) an army quarter-master sergeant who was stationed in Gibraltar at more or less the same time as Sandham:
. . . the meanest inhabitant that visits another is attended by a dog, and if the person visited has none , the house is certain of getting a plentiful supply of fleas and the furniture soiled.  Imposing a tax on dogs would be  . . a benefit on the inhabitants in general.  

2. Sappers' Parade


Sapper's Parade is known today as Hargrave's Parade in honour of William Hargrave, (see LINK) one of Gibraltar's 18th century Governors. The view looks north with Prince Edward's Road pointing towards Spain and Sierra Carbonera topprd by the celebrated Queen of Spain's Chair in the far distance. The area to the left - presumably taken up by an RE Barracks - may have been completely reconstructed when St Jago's Barracks was built nearby in 1881.

Lieutenant General William Hargrave ( 1740 - Abraham Seaman)


3. Plaza de las Verduras

The Plaza de las Verduras was the local descriptive name of what was essentially a fruit and vegetable market - the meat market being elsewhere. (See LINK)  Going further back into the Spanish era, the south side of the square was then known as La Plazuela de San Juan de Letran in honour of the church by the same name that once stood there.

Post 1704 thee name was changed to Cornwall's Parade which may have come about because it was used as a parade ground in the 19th century by Cornwall's light Infantry. The same regiment - then known as Fox's Marines - took part in the capture of Gibraltar in 1704. (See LINK) Another theory is that it is a corruption of the name of one of Gibraltar's 18th century Governors - General Edward Cornwallis.

Alex Panayotti also describes this sketch as follows:
This pen drawing . . . gives a rare view of the "Plaza de las Verduras," also known at the time as the Green Market. . . . Calle Comedia (Castle Street) is hidden on the left, and Calle Cordoneros (Governor's Street) is straight ahead.  
A church, San Juan Lateran, previously stood where the building opposite is, it doesn't seem a church any longer . . . A much larger building, called Fives Courts (see LINK) which claims to be from 1812, now stands where the small buildings on the left are. Behind these . . . there had been a "real" tennis court . . . later plays were held there, giving Calle Comedia its name.  
The building to the immediate right was, for a time, the RE Officer's Mess, with a soldier's barracks further on. The . . . Commander Royal Engineers, lived nearby at Engineer House . . . Henry Sandham, an officer in the RE, would have known this area well. 

4. Strada Reale

A section of Main Street - Strada Reale yet agai! - from the south of the Exchange and Commercial Library was once known as Church Street. The sketch covers a section more or less from the southeast exit of Commercial Square with City Mill Lane and Pitman's Alley on the opposite side of Main Street. The single lady on the picture is probably wearing the traditional Gibraltarian hooded, red ladies coat which is supposed to have been made of surplus military uniform material. No dogs in this one. 


5. Europa from Quinta du Plat

Quinta du Plat is not a place which I have heard of before. Whatever it was it must have been just below the southern side of the Officers' Pavilion of South Barracks (see LINK) which isashown on the sketch on the left. Another equally unknown house called Casa du Plat appears in Sketch 8. The Imposter's Church and Casa du Plat.

Bleak House (see LINK) shown in the distance on the right was constructed in 1817 by Sir Charles Holloway Commander of the Royal Engineers in Gibraltar on General Don's orders  as a sanatorium for officers. By 1820 it was no longer used as one. Across the Strait and just to the left of Bleak House lies Apes' Hill - or Jebel Musa - behind it. It is considered by some - but by no means everybody - to be the southern Pillar of Hercules. (See LINK)  


6. Southport Street - the Start for Cadiz

This was the name of the southern section of Main Street at the time. The view looks north possibly towards the Convent entrance at the very end of the street. Its present brick facade facing Main Street was not built until the 1860s. Again and as elsewhere in Sandham's sketches - a couple of dogs. This area may have been quite familiar to Sandham as St Jago's or Engineer Barracks was close by just off the sketch to the right. 


Southport Street with Engineer Barracks to the right   ( Early 20th century )

The reference to Cadiz is hard to interpret. The Spanish Civil War of the early 19th century began in Cadiz in 1820 when Major Rafael de Riego led a revolt that was in effect a response directed against the reactionary post Peninsular War government in Madrid. It called for the army to support adoption of the liberal 1812 constitution. 

The history of this period of Spanish history is too complex to go into here but there were at the time a large number of liberal sympathisers using Gibraltar as a refuge. Some of these belonged to the Sociedad de Caballeros Comuneros. This society - with its Gibraltarian Masonic links  - found it possible to use Gibraltar as a base from which to organise their so-called revolutionary activities. It is possible that the people in this sketch were members of the Society on their way to Cadiz for some reason or other.


7. Southport Wall

This view looks south from what was then the one and only Southport Gate. (See LINK) To the right of the wall is a dry ditch which continued right down to the Ragged Staff area. (See LINK) Off the picture to the left is the Trafalgar cemetery. Southport Wall must be Sandham's name for the section of Charles V Wall (see LINK) into which the Gate was constructed. 

Cannonball heaps as shown on the middle right often appear in late 19th century photos of the area. Water from the well - middle left - is being transferred to wooden barrels for delivery elsewhere. The mini-houses drawn on bottom right corner, however, are hard to interpret but also appear in another sketch. They may possibly be dovecots. 


A comparison with what the place looked like about 20 years later looking north ( 1840s - Capt J.M. Carter ) (See LINK


8. CRE's House

Engineer House was the residence of the Commander of the Royal Engineers in Gibraltar - Engineer Lane just off and to the east of Main Street takes its name from it and can just be seen behind the saluting soldier. Engineer House once boasted a large and rather beautiful garden which has now long since disappeared.


9. CRE's House

The sketch shows the front of the house - the couple on horseback are riding down the driveway and towards Engineer Lane. The tall structure behind the house shows a tower and section of the wall that formed part of the Moorish Castle precinct. (See LINK) The tower is minus the clock donated in 1845 by the then Secretary of State for the Colonies Lord Stanley.


Engineer House in the mid 20th century with the tower now sporting the Stanley Clock


10. Vespers - 1828 epidemic

The view is from somewhere near the village of Catalan Bay (See LINK) looking south. It 1828 the Rock was revisited by yet another yellow fever epidemic (See LINK). Modern estimates suggest that more than 2300 people - civilian and military - died of the disease. For various reasons - all of them based on a misunderstanding of the causes of the disease - many people thought that certain areas of the Rock were healthier than others. Catalan Bay was thought to be one of the better ones. 

Interestingly the great majority of the people in the sketch - apart from the person leading them in evening prayer - are women. The fact that they are facing the tall eastern cliffs may also be significant.


A comparison of the eastern Rock cliffs showing the likely location of the artist's view point by identifying the position of a pillbox on the ridge


Caption on the 'Vespers' sketch

The writing on the side is impossible to decipher properly but it seems to read as follows:

The Image of...
the Virgin (Mary)....
translated fr(om)...
the Church w(here)...
Gib was to be...
by the Heretic...


The word 'translated' could be local patois - or Llanito (see LINK- for 'transported'  - a translation which does very little to make sense of the caption - other than that it was almost certainly not written by Sandham.


11. Moorish Battery

The history of the names of Gibraltar's many batteries lies elsewhere but according to an 1859 map the "Moorish" one  was situated above Flat Bastion overlooking Ragged Staff.


Moorish Battery - so called because it was along the misnamed Moorish Wall
 ( 1859 -  Map of Gibraltar's Fortifications - detail )


12. From Jewish burial ground, back of Commissioners Garden, looking over Gibraltar.

The Commissioner's Garden - on the right - is known today as Mount Pleasant - or The Mount for short.  The "Jewish burial ground" I take to be the old Jewish cemetery which was opened in 1746 and closed in 1848. It was also known as both the Jews' Gate Cemetery and the Windmill Hill Cemetery - which refers to its location.


Another view from Mount Pleasant. This patio must have been well above the gardens hence the slightly different view ( 19th century - Unknown )


13. Buena Vista Gibraltar showing a view of the South of Gibraltar with the North African coastline in the distance.

Difficult to interpret but the sketch possibly looks down on to the outcrop on which the Buena Vista Barracks would one day be built. The tall hill to the right on the Africa coastline is Apes Hill.


14. Queen Charlotte's Battery

Queen Charlotte's Battery has been around since 1727. It was built on the eastern corner of the Moorish Castle, south of Hanover Battery and perhaps its most interesting feature is that it had an entrance into the tunnels of the Northern Defences. A couple of dogs - and a goat - make interesting additions as does the bird cage or dovecot more or less in the middle of the picture Seminiscent of the ones drawn on the Southport Wall in Sketch No. 8.


Part of the Northern Defences showing Queen Charlotte's Battery and its two guns - as confirmed on the sketch   ( 1859 - Map of Gibraltar's Fortifications - Detail )



15. Lady Don's Garden

I suspect that Sandham was referring to the entire Alameda Gardens rather than just a section of it. The suggestion is that Maria Margaretta Don was a rather keen horticulturalist and it was through her that her husband - General George Don - pushed through the plans for the Garden.


16. Capello Real

This is King's Chapel inside the Covent - although as far as I know it was never known as the Capello Real. A pastor on the pulpit appears to be giving his sermon to an empty church and - surprisingly - the perspective on the right seems out of sync with most of the rest of the picture. 


Two views of King's Chapel as it was 50 years later   ( 1879 - Capt Buckle ) (See LINK)


17. Imposters Church and Casa du Plat

The view is that of Secretary's Lane looking north and the building at the bottom of the road hidden by a tree is the Protestant Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The tower on top of the cathedral no longer exists today.


View from the Line Wall showing the same tower on the Protestant Cathedral as in Sandham's sketch  ( 1830 - Frederick Leeds Edridge ) (See LINK

The enigmatic Casa du Plat possibly refers to the house on the right although I cannot find any reference to any building with this name ever having existed in Gibraltar. The Quinta de Plat that is mentioned in Sketch 5. Europa from Quinta de Plat cannot refer to the same building as it is in a completely different place.

The phrase "Imposter's church" is also hard to interpret. The building of the cathedral was completed in 1832 with a certain Colonel Pilkington of the Royal Engineers in charge of the project. As an RE officer himself Sandham may have known Pilkington and may have been involved the drawing of the plans. Could the "imposter" be a joking reference to the rather odd Moorish facade used in the final design? 


Cathedral of the Holy Trinity ( Unknown ) 


18. New Mole

The New Mole (see LINK) - or the South Mole as it was later known - lies right of centre - with Rosia Bay, out of view just south of the Mole. South Barracks is also out of sight below the viewpoint and the old Naval Hospital is too far left to be included.  To the south of the Mole is New Mole Parade with soldiers being square-bashed by a couple of officers on horseback. The tents just behind them suggest that these were their rather unwelcoming quarters. 


New Mole Parade ( Late 19th century )

Alex Panayotti describes some of the buildings that appear on the sketch as follows.
The U-shaped building must have had its western open end filled in sometime between the 1820s and 1865 to form what is now our police station . . . "New Mole House." To the north of the U-shaped building is a barracks, later used for some years (1858 onwards) as a school building. The two buildings north of Rosia Bay, with double walls around them (for extra security?) are - I guess - ammunition storage for the ships. 

Detail of a Model of Gibraltar used by Alex to confirm his descriptions (1860s - Sir Charles Warren - 1860s )


20. Court House

The view is of Main Street looking north with the classical facade of the local Court House on the right. The captions at the bottom of the picture identify the people sketched above them. Reading from left to right:

Jew Porter
Police Segt (Police Sargeant)
Oxberry (Mr. James Ross Oxberry - Deputy Registrar and listed as a subscriber to the Garrison Library in 1837 booklet)
Falla (Lt. Col D.Falla RE - Town Major - Appointed member of the Board of Commissioners (yellow fever) In 1828) 
Scott - (Could be Capt. Scott who was the Governor's ADC in the 1820s)
Budgeon ( Lt Thomas Budgeon RE )
Unknown
Sandham ( Lt H. Sandham - the artist himself - also on the Garrison Library list)
Middleton ( Could be a local merchant - Charles Stuart Middleton - also on the Garrison Library list)
Marshall - Possibly Major John Marshall military secretary to the Earl of Chatham)
Hatchman (Robert John Hatchman - Garrison Chaplain died of Yellow fever in 1828 )
Howell ( Judge Thomas Jones Howell - Also a member of the Board of Commissioners)
Unknown 
Unknown 
Gilchrist 
Moors


View of the Court House about 50 years later ( 1879 - Captain Buckle Collection ) 


22. Plaza de los Cañoneros

Plaza de los Cañoneros  or Plaza de Artilleros - meaning more or less the same thing - was the old local post 1704 Spanish name for this square, a reference to the Royal Artillery Barracks on the left hand side which does not appear on the sketch - although what look like a pair of gun carriages can be seen on the left. Its English name was Gunners' Parade but this was later changed to Governors' Parade - its present name. The three uniformed soldiers are quite possibly gunners.  

As if all these names for the square were not enough it has also been known at one time or the other as French Parade  - a Frenchman had once had a garden there - as Library Square - because the Garrison Library which appears on the right hand side in the sketch dominated the square - and as Plazoleta del Teatro - a very local reference to the Theatre Royal (see LINK) which had not yet been built when the sketch was made but would stand approximately in the space occupied by the large building on the extreme left.

The other large building just behind the soldiers had only recently been built. In 1810 and by common consent between the two countries the Spanish Lines on the isthmus - together with its two fortresses, San Felipe and Santa Barbara - were demolished during the Peninsular War (see LINK) by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Holloway and his Royal Engineers. The aim was  to prevent it falling into French hands. Stone blocks from it were used to construct this building. 


Photograph showing the Theatre Royal on the left ( Late 19th century Postcard )


23. Back from the Convent Gate

The view is of the Guard House in front of the entrance to the Governor's Residence - The Convent.   It does not seem to have changed much over nearly two hundred years.


24. The Square

The Square is Commercial Square and the main building is the Exchange and Commercial Library. Other views of the library have appeared already in two other sketches. It had probably only been built about a decade or so before Sandham made this sketch. 

In its heyday, all manner of goods were sold in the square by auction - so much so that the colloquial name for it became "el Martillo" - a reference to the hammers used by auctioneers. Several of these men are shown standing on barrels and elsewhere, hammer at ready. The four pole contraption is a weighing machine called a "Romana".

A lady wearing her traditional red coat looks on while well dressed gentlemen hang about waiting to bid for whatever it is they had come for. Meanwhile an officer and his lady trot by on their carriage while a dog glares balefully at the artist. The structure with an arched entrance and what look like two houses on top of it a standing by itself on the Rock is probably the Blue Barracks - originally a  16th century Spanish Hospital. (See LINK)  


A coloured engraving by a contemporary artist of more or less the same scene ( 1825 - P . Benncci ) (See LINK


25. North Gun

Hard to interpret but presumably this is the view from the top of the North Front. Years later any ordnance placed up here would be referred to as the Rock Gun. Not one of his better sketches.

26.  Cornwallis' Hall


Cornwallis' Hall is one of the main chambers in the Galleries hewn out of the Rock and sometimes referred to as the Great Siege Tunnels. The gun is in the foreground is mounted on a Koehler Depressing Carriage, a new type of gun carriage  invented by Lt George Frederick Koehler of the R.A. in 1782. It enabled cannons to be fired at a downward angle.



27. Europa Point


The sketch seems unfinished and is yet another that is hard to interpret. I suspect the flag - it surely ought to be the British one but it isn't - flies from where I would suppose the Europa Point light house would eventually be built. The wind is up and one of the horsemen is hanging on to a hat which looks suspiciously similar to that worn by the officer in the Imposters and Casa Du Plat sketch. The horseless officer could be Sandham. Where exactly the officers are going to or from is hard to tell.




28. Venta de G

This is probably one of the oldest available sketches of the Calpe Hunt. The scene depicts huntsmen from Gibraltar - almost all of them undoubtedly Garrison officers - rendezvousing   somewhere in the Campo de Gibraltar. The enigmatic "G" might refer to either the Venta de Agualcahijo or the Venta de Guadalquejigo both possibly referring to the same place but probably misspelt as the real Spanish name would have been unpronounceable to most Englishman. The horseman in the middle wearing an RE uniform could be a self-portrait.


29. Road to Europa

This is possibly Europa Road with a side view of the northern officers' pavilion of South Barracks but I am not at all sure about the where or what of circular pergola style building.