In a review of Captain James Barber’s Overland Guide-Book - A Complete Vade-Mecum For The Overland Traveller to India Via Egypt a correspondent of Allen’s Indian Mail and Register of Intelligence wrote:
We do not know what part of the United Kingdom Captain Barber acknowledges as the place of his birth but from the title page of his book we are led to form a conjecture.
In other words he didn’t know too much about Barber - and neither do I other than he worked for the East India Company for 23 years, 12 of them in command of a sailing ship, that he was embroiled in an a long on-going argument with the P & O ship company and that he wrote the Guide-Book to India mentioned above.
The P and O steamer - The Lady Mary Wood (1845 - Charles Chabot - Delamotte )
But that is neither here nor there as the only thing that really interests me is that – as he writes more or less at the beginning of the at the book.
The “Peninsular and Orient Company “. . . steamers remain at Gibraltar six and Malta twelve hours.
It meant that Barber thought it appropriate to include a guide for the short visit to the Rock. This is what he wrote:
Gibraltar - From the title so often given to this pleasant little port and garrison - "the Rock of Gibraltar," - the traveller expects to find a barren, inoccupable mass, as inhospitable to its friendly visitors as it was unapproachable to our foes; instead of this, the eye, after entering the bay, (see LINK) is greeted with the sight of a luxuriant vegetation, distributed into gardens, groves and plantations.
The Rock of Gibraltar (Engraving from the Guide )
After the visit of the pratique officer, boats approach the newly-arrived vessel, to take on shore any passenger who may be disposed to land for a few hours. The Club-house (see LINK) and Griffith's Hotel offer temporary accommodations, and to one or the other the traveller may betake himself. He soon, however, is tempted, by the brilliancy of the sky and the warmth of the temperature, to wander abroad, and inspect the new scene that presents itself.
The Old Mole (See LINK ) (Engraving from the Guide )
The Commercial Square, formerly the Grand Parade, (see LINK) offers the first object of attraction. The sales by auction carried on here all day, draw together a motley population, whose costumes and physiognomy alone are a study for the stranger. Greeks, Turks, Jews, Arabs, &c., mingle together in picturesque confusion.
The streets of Gibraltar are narrow, the houses low, irregular and ill-fashioned; yet are there a few public buildings worthy of a passing notice. The Exchange (see LINK) erected during the government of Sir George Don, (see LINK) the Catholic church of St. Mary, the court-house, the Moorish castle, (see LINK) within which are some remarkable excavations, (see LINK) the residence of the governor (which was formerly a convent), the Protestant church, (see LINK) the garrison library, (see LINK) are the principal edifices.
Gibraltar being but five miles long, the whole place may be seen, on horseback or in carriages, easily obtainable, in a very brief space. Preceding southward, the visitor stops for a moment at South Port, (see LINK) where, over the gate, he sees the arms of the Emperor Charles V. richly emblazoned, supported by those of Philip II. Not far from this, are the Alameda, public walks (see LINK) and grounds tastefully laid out. In the centre of the gardens is a statue harpooning a fish, which was formerly the figure-head of a Spanish vessel taken at Trafalgar, and near this, a column bearing a bronze bust of the Duke of Wellington.
Leaving the walks, the next object of interest is San Michael's Cave, a great natural curiosity. The whole rock (Calpe) is hollowed out and perforated by caves. The fantastic forms assumed by the stalactites give these recesses the appearance of work done by ingenious human hands.
Martin's Cave, not far from San Michael's, corresponds in character with, but is smaller in dimensions than, the latter. The wild monkeys that inhabit the place afford much entertainment by their freaks. Extending the ride to Windmill Hill, we reach the Governor's cottage, built by General Fox as a summer residence.
It is pleasantly situated close to the sea. From this the ride may be extended to Europa Point, Rosia, (see LINK) in the vicinity of which is the Naval Hospital, capable of holding 400 patients. From Rosia along the whole range of the western side to Sand Port is a continuation of works, batteries and bastions.
As the period of the steamer's detention (six hours) will scarcely enable the visitor to see more than the above, we do not think it necessary to extend our description. We will merely add, as a guide to those who are inclined to make purchases on shore that accounts are kept in dollars, reals, &c., but English weights and measures are in use.
After quitting Gibraltar, steaming along the coast of Algiers, you soon reach the famed island of Malta
The P & O steamer Himalaya on her way home with the Rock to the north behind her ( 1853 - T. G. Dutton )