The whole extent of Gibraltar, from the barrier gate, at the north, to Europa advance, is about five miles; and very different are now the present means of communication from those in 1704, when the gallantry of British sailors obtained from the Spaniards this valuable possession. To visit the southern extremity was then, and during many subsequent years, an important journey, always performed on foot, or at best, by the slender aid of a humble borrico.
The first building is part of the Bayside Barrier which lies near the North Front
Europa Advance Battery in the south
( Both photos 1880s - G. W. Wilson ) (See LINK)
( Both photos 1880s - G. W. Wilson ) (See LINK)
These two sites are not the most obvious to pick if you wanted to measure the length of the Rock. The Bayside Barrier is some distance from the Rock and along the isthmus and Europa Advance is by no means the most southerly point on the Rock.
The construction of excellent roads and the free communication with Spain, commenced about thirty years ago, led not only to the introduction and use of horses, but also of carriages, which, with surprise, the stranger now sees, in great numbers and in all varieties, kept not only for private use but for hire, adding as much to the comfort of the inhabitants, as to the convenience of travellers.
South Port - Hacks being obtained, and of a better description than is usually met with, our visitor again proceeds southward, to view other curiosities of the rocks; and stopping for a moment at South Port, he there sees, over the gate, the arms of the emperor Charles V., richly emblazoned, but now in decay, supported by those of Philip II, in which, before their dilapidation, might be observed heraldic devices of England, as if prognostic of a future change of masters.
South Gate - or South Port Gate ( 1857 ) (See LINK)
Ragged Staff - From this gate upwards, towards the signal house, extends the wall built in the time of the emperor, and still bearing his name, terminating in the south bastion, overlooking the entrance at Ragged Staff; the whole, together with the ditch outside, forming a strong bulwark on the south side of the town. (See LINK)
Grand Parade - In ancient times, the red sands, inconvenient to foot passengers, immediately presented themselves on passing South Port; but, many years ago, a large portion at the north end was converted into a grand parade, where those who are fond of military spectacles may every morning see the “guard mounting” than which, a more pleasing or amusing military exhibition, although on a small scale, can scarcely anywhere be found.The Alameda - Adjoining, are the Alameda, public walks and gardens tastefully laid out, with a desire of affording exercise and recreation to a somewhat crowded population. For them the public are entirely indebted to Sir George Don, before whose arrival in 1814, not a tree or shrub existed; all beyond the parade being yet arid red sand. (See LINK)
At an enormous expense, defrayed by subscriptions, contributions, various contrivances, and his own liberality, these were arranged and planted under his fostering care, the fruits of which are now seen in extensive and delightful promenades. Prior to his arrival, the neglect was remarkable to which Gibraltar had been exposed.
Lover’s Walk – the Alameda Gardens ( 1865 - Gustave de Jonge )
By perseverance, accompanied by great tact and good management, everything desirable was accomplished; and with justice it may be said, that whatever Gibraltar displays of comfort, prosperity, or embellishment, is altogether attributable to Sir George Don. Nor have subsequent governors been inattentive to these considerations; although where so much had been done, there remained, of course, but little to do. Under the tasteful management of Sir Alex Woodford, even these public gardens were greatly improved, new walks created, and by proper arrangements the whole made more available: nor were these attentions to the comforts of the inhabitants overlooked by them, for on his departure a valuable piece of plate was presented to him.
Much, however, yet remains to be done; while the small sum, granted annually by government, is inadequate even to the support of the Alameda; but the activity, intelligence, and benevolent disposition of Sir Robert Wilson give reason to believe the best hopes of the public will be realized under his direction.
On the whole the governors of Gibraltar were never the paragons of virtue described by the author – although his rather hagiographic descriptions were by no means uncommon at the time. In fact they were the norm. For a more critical approach one would have to go elsewhere. For General Don, (see LINK) for Sir Robert Wilson (see LINK) .
Alameda Statues - In the centre of the Alameda gardens is a statue, harpooning a fish, that does great credit to the sculptor, for the fidelity of its execution; but it has claims to higher regard from Englishmen,—it was the figurehead of the San Juan, Spanish line of battleship, and one of the trophies of the glorious victory of Trafalgar.
After lying many years in the new mole, she was finally broken up, and this, her fine bow ornament, transferred to its present position. Contiguous to it, is another statue, intended to represent Lord Heathﬁeld, scarcely less valuable, although of less exquisite workmanship than the former. It was carved in Gibraltar, from the bowsprit of the same vessel, by an officer of the Royal Waggon Train then in the garrison.
Wooden Statue of Eliott ( 1844 - J.M. Carter ) (See LINK)
Wooden Statue of Eliott in the Convent ( 1939 - National Geographic)
Much care is bestowed on both, but it is feared the more valuable one will speedily decay. In a conspicuous situation also, on a column, brought from the ruins of Lepida, rests the bust in bronze of the duke of Wellington, having appended to it a shield, with the following inscription, from the pen of the celebrated Dr. Gregory:
This bust of Arthur Wellesley, duke of Wellington, was erected by subscriptions, A. D. 1819, from the military and civil oﬁicers of the garrison, in honour of the soldier-like qualities, and brilliant deeds, of that great invincible commander, who, under divine providence, in the reign of George III., King of Great Britain, father of his people, while commanding the British Forces, in alliance with those of Spain and Portugal, - in arduous and almost desperate circumstances, after hard service and numerous battles, almost always victorious - driving the French from the shores of Cadiz beyond the Pyrenean mountains and river Garronne - happily accomplished the liberation of these countries, sorely oppressed by an immense host of French armies; and who finally terminated, by the battle of Waterloo, the war, impiously renewed in France and Belgium ; richly deserving the thanks of his king, his country, and the whole human race, for thus, while acquiring renown for himself, and immortal glory to the British arms, at once relieving Europe from the tyranny of its oppressors.
And if that inordinately lengthy single sentence panegyric was not enough brown nosing for somebody who – in the final analysis - had very little to with Gibraltar, the Old Inhabitant gives us this.
The expense of this bust was defrayed by the contribution of a day’s pay from all the officers, military and civil, and soldiers of the garrison, at the time of its erection. On the pedestal of the column, is the following inscription:
This Column, Brought from the ruins of Lepida, was presented by Richard Turner, Esq., Commander Of H. M. Store ship, Weymouth, To His Excellency Gen. Sir Geo. Don, G. C. B., G. C. H., and G. C. M. M., Lieutenant Governor of Gibraltar, Under whose auspices The bust which it supports was erected By the Corps of Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Sappers and Miners, Detachments of the Royal Staff Corps, and Royal Waggon Train, The 11, 26, 27, 64, and 4 West Indian Regiments, And by the Officers of the Naval, Military, and Civil Departments Of this Garrison, A. D. M.D.CCCXX.
All these are ornamental, and do credit to the taste that placed them in their respective positions.
Wellington on his pedestal ( 1844 - J.M. Carter )
All of which suggests that this particular old inhabitant was not a member of the local non-British rabble but rather a home grown Briton who happened to have lived in Gibraltar for a while The statue harpooning a fish was also remarked upon by others (see LINK) during the middle of the 19th century but it has long since disappeared without trace. Lord Heathfield’s – also made of wood - was moved to the Convent and as far as I know it is still there.
Bust of Eliott that eventually replaced the wooden affair ( Mid 19th century - Edward Angelo Goodall )
A troop of the Royal Waggon Train – there were only two of them left – was stationed in Gibraltar in 1818. They were the precursors of the Royal Logistic Corp. The inscription on Wellington’s shield is quoted by the author in Latin.
St Michael’s Cave - Leaving these delightful walks, we soon arrive, by an easy ascent, at San Michael’s cave, the greatest natural curiosity on the rock: and the number of these natural formations, noticed by the earliest writers, forms one of its most remarkable features. The Roman geographer Mela, a native of Tangier, who wrote A. D. 45, says,
“This rock (Calpe) hollowed out in a wonderful manner, has almost the whole of the west side perforated by caves; a large one of which may be penetrated to a great extent into the interior of the mountain.”
Of these many yet remain in different parts; one, very large, near the centre of the town; some, altogether destroyed, and others converted to various uses, as buildings have increased: San Michael’s, however, yet retains its original character. The entrance is small, but immediately within, is seen a magnificent and lofty cave, the roof supported by numerous columns of stalactites of tasteful formation of stalactites of tasteful formation. . . .
Advancing far into the interior, other lower caves are discovered, only to be reached by ladders; many have been penetrated by officers of the garrison to a considerable extent, nothing very interesting being observed; but at no great distance from the entrance is a large chamber, fantastically and beautifully ornamented by stalactites in all possible variety of forms and shapes. This has hitherto escaped the mischief to which the outer cave, being more accessible, has been exposed, for having no light from without; it is only when illuminated for the occasion that its beauties become visible. This is often done with great judgment for the gratification of strangers of distinction . . .
St Michael’s Cave ( 1830s – Arnout )
Martin’s Cave - We now quit San Michael’s cave, and passing round the South point, crossing the Jews’ burial ground, where the curious in ancient lore may be amused with monumental inscriptions in Hebrew, we arrive at Martin’s Cave, accidentally discovered about twenty years ago by an artillery soldier of that name.
It opens on the east side, is somewhat less elevated than San Michel’s, and of far smaller dimensions; its character is similar, the roof being supported by columns of stalactites; and although soiled and defaced, as is too often the case, when exposed to promiscuous visitors, it is a very interesting aperture, and when first discovered, was beautiful in its natural state. The path, for several yards before reaching the entrance, being narrow and irregular, on the edge of the precipitous rock, measures were immediately adopted for its security.
Martin’s Cave ( 1839 – William Lacey ) (See LINK)
The Monkeys - The approach seems of late to have been neglected, the situation and even existence of such a cave is already little known, and its visitors are but few. It seldom happens, however, on reaching this secluded part of the rock, that their curiosity is not gratified by a sight of the aborigines (for so they may fairly be called), who, although making occasional visits to the western side, inhabit for the most part the inaccessible chasms and recesses on the east.
These are the monkeys, (see LINK) (or rather apes, for they are without the ornament of a tail), who appear to have existed on the rock from time immemorial: this, it is believed, is the only spot in Europe where they are found in a wild state, and they were no doubt brought originally from Africa: undisturbed by the battles and sieges, or the vicissitudes to which Gibraltar has been exposed, they quietly inhabit their fastnesses, careless as to the nation to whom the rock may belong.
They are seen in groups of twelve or twenty, of all sizes, and probably of all ages; the young ones mounted on the backs of the mothers, and all indulging in the freaks incident to these curious animals: nor are they harmless; for they have much dexterity in casting stones, and an individual caught by them in a secluded spot, might be roughly, if not very seriously handled.
They grow to a large size, but their habits, their retreats, and their modes of life, are alike unknown. Neither their bones, their skins, nor their skeletons, have ever been discovered; they are supposed to be numerous, for large groups of them have been seen simultaneously on different parts of the rock.
The Apes ( 1854 - E. Widick )
As the use of fire arms is prohibited on the mountain, they appear to avail themselves of this immunity, and secure from violent molestation, they venture boldly to the lower parts of the rock, and are very unwelcome visitors at Ince’s farm and the places contiguous; where the figs in their season, with other fruits, as well as poultry, are subject to their depredations.
Their visits to the western side are made chiefly during an east wind, but rather it would appear for pleasure, and to benefit by the warmth of the sun, than from any physical sufferings; for in the most tempestuous weather from the east, during the winter, they remain quietly at home, and are seldom anywhere to be met with. The peaceable-ness of their community, like that of all others, is however apparently subject to interruptions, and internal , commotions evidently occur.
About two years ago, the attention of the keepers of the Alameda gardens, was arrested by an unusual screaming of monkeys, and they presently saw one of very large size pursued most hastily by two or three others. The fugitive was evidently seeking to escape their rage, and having gained the trees, he ﬂew from one to the other, hotly pursued, until on the approach of the keepers, he allowed himself quietly to be taken, preferring captivity to punishment, or probably death.
He was evidently aged, and of the size of a full grown pointer dog; although when a prisoner, he shrunk himself into the smallest possible compass: his pursuers seeing his fate, retreated quickly to the mountain, chattering loudly as they retired; and as nothing could be learned from the captive, the cause of this disturbance and expulsion must ever remain a secret.
The governor ordered the fugitive to be properly treated, and finally had him transported to the zoological gardens in the Regent’s Park; where he probably yet survives, to pass in durance the remainder of his days. Nor is this a singular instance of commotion among these animals, observed more particularly of late.
A similar occurrence to that above recited took place last year, when another monkey was captured, while escaping from pursuit, in a tree near the South Port gate. Other instances are not wanting; and besides fugitives taken under such circumstances, smaller ones are frequently caught, while committing depredations on the gardens.
Governor’s Cottage - We now take leave of the mountain, and traversing Wind-mill hill, we pass through a gate, formerly Moorish, and reach the extreme practicable point on the east side, called Europa advance, all beyond being perpendicular rock from the sea upwards. In this retired corner stands the governor’s cottage, originally a small and temporary dwelling, built by General Fox, for an occasional residence in the summer time.
It was greatly extended by Sir George Don, others were added, and being exposed to the damp east wind, inducing early decay, a great expense became necessary for continual repairs. It is now supported by government, on a reduced scale, and is a proper retreat for the commander of the garrison, in the hot months of July and August. For this purpose, its contiguity to the sea, the absence of the sun after mid-day, and its perfect seclusion, render it a very desirable temporary abode.
Lighthouse - At Europa point is seen the newly erected light-house, an excellent beacon for mariners coming from the east. It is soon descried on the other side, after leaving Tarifa, and well distinguished as far up on the coast as Marbella. The light is fixed, and the reflectors are constructed on the newest principle.
Below the flag-staff at the point, is where during the epidemic in 1804, (see LINK) Colonel Fyers, the commanding engineer (see LINK) resided with his family under canvass, and thus escaped the contagion.
Lighthouse and Governor’s Cottage (1846 – Unknown )
In other words Colonel Fyers and family were able to choose to live in what was regarded as the safest place in town. I am not quite sure why exactly one was less likely to catch yellow fever by living in Europa Point - perhaps the fact that it was drier and windier than elsewhere may have had something to do with it.
The whole of the rock around Europa being perpendicular, and against which the sea perpetually beats, seems to bid defiance to approach, and to require no art for its protection. Nevertheless it has been always strongly fortified; in addition to which new works have recently been constructed, that must for ever remove all apprehension of attack in that quarter.
Passing on towards Rosia, (see LINK) we arrive at the naval hospital already noticed. Erected solely for this purpose, it is a perfect and complete building, with every accommodation on a large scale, and capable of holding 400 patients. Since the peace, it has been appropriated to the military service; and under the superintendence of the principal medical officer of the garrison, is admirably conducted, and of the greatest utility.
Water Tanks and Water Supply - This noble building overlooks Rosia Bay, (see LINK) with the naval tanks and store houses, contiguous to it. During peace these with the exception of the tanks, are of little use; but here the navy are supplied with excellent water, their boats being sent round from the bay; and to protect them a mole of some extent was some years ago constructed at great expense. When the supply from these tanks is inadequate, or fails, recourse is had to the inexhaustible wells on the neutral grounds; at all times used by the merchant vessels and foreign ships of war in the bay.
( From the book )
( 1832 - Robert Batty ) (See LINK)
The water tanks which were designed and constructed for the Royal Navy by a Gibraltarian architect – Giovanni Maria Boschetti (see LINK) – in the early 19th century and can be seen as a large square-roofed building on the middle left hand-side of both engravings
In former days, when shipping was seldom seen at Gibraltar, the water at the fountain in the centre of the town sufficed for all purposes. There is now not enough for the use of the inhabitants, especially during the summer; but this is of little importance, as almost every house is now provided with a cistern, to receive the rain water from the roof. Moreover, government (somewhat late) having ordered large tanks to be formed for the public service and use of the troops, the occupation of water-carrying will soon dwindle away.
A poor prediction - Gibraltar’s Aquadores continued to work their water barrels right up to the mid 20th century.
Aquadores filling up their barrels in Governor’s Parade ( Early 20th century postcard )
The water of the wells at Gibraltar is hard, brackish, and unfit for drinking: that of the fountain is pure, light, and digestible. It percolates through the red sand into reservoirs, curiously contrived, about twenty-five feet underground, extending from Jumpers Well nearly to South Port; for descent into these, are several shafts, the turrets of which are seen on the face of the glacis, in the rear of the saluting battery. From South Port the aqueduct passes under the Line wall to the bottom of the commercial square, conveying the water to a small reservoir behind the fountain; thence, when the cocks are shut, into a large cistern by the side of it, from which provision is made for an overflow to run into the sea.
Fountain in the Commercial Square - and Line Wall ( 1756 - Thomas James ) (See LINK)
Leaving that part of the south called Rosia, studded with houses, surrounded by gardens and cultivation, and whose appearance from the sea is prepossessing, we immediately perceive the arsenal, or dock-yard, with its mole, and the strong fort commanding it. Of the origin of these, nothing now is known, or whether the whole is a work of art, or that nature provided such a projection.
Torre de Tuerto - Even in the first days of Moorish possession this was a strong position, and here stood the Torre del Puerto (afterwards Tuerto), still existing at the capture in 1704, and which was supposed, anciently, to protect and defend the entrance into the bay.
I am not sure what the author means by a “strong fort” in the New Mole. The Torre de Tuerto was destroyed during the takeover of the Rock and as far as I know never replaced.
From this point, along the whole range of the western side, until Land Port, adjoining the rock is a continuation of works, batteries, and bastions. Gibraltar has long been considered impregnable, but even these works, not being deemed sufficient, other new ones, immensely strong, are constructing, and carried on with great activity.
When we contemplate the position of this rock, its natural defences, the skill and ingenuity displayed in converting every point into one of attack or defence, the 800 guns, some of immense calibre, bristling at every corner; when we look at the regiments and artillery within, in the highest state of discipline, every soldier a model; at the 30,000 stand of arms at the grand store; at the numerous barracks, quarters, and store-houses filled with supplies of all sorts; and when we see the strict regularity with which the military duty, day and night, is maintained,- convinced, that at a signal, a lighted match would, in a quarter of an hour, be found ready at every touch-hole; we may with perfect truth exclaim : Gibraltar’s strength would laugh a siege to scorn.
“Gibraltar’s strength would laugh a siege to scorn” ( 1870s – G.W. Wilson )