The Duke of Kent was sent to Gibraltar with a very specific remit – to clean up the mess that had been left behind by of his immediate predecessors. (See LINK) In doing so he produced 169 new regulations some of which involved the closing down of more than half the taverns in town and forcing the soldiers to use only three of them.
To make matter worse from the soldiers’ point of view, these drinking houses were also instructed to stop serving spirits such as gin and rum and restrict themselves to the sale of the local Bristol Beer, a dreadful concoction brewed somewhere in an area in the south known as Nun’s Well. (See LINK)
The following quote from the Standing Regulations for Regimental Canteens at Gibraltar - printed by the Garrison Library (see LINK) in 1803 should give the reader a flavour of the kind of tone favoured by the Duke when issuing his various diktats.
Duke of Kent
1. The canteen is invariably to be held by a sergeant of respectability, and one who will keep up and enforce his authority as such: he is to be allowed the assistance of one careful man. It is not to be open, on any day, until one hour after guard mounting; it is not to remain open later than the drummer's call beats for tattoo, viz. half an hour before second evening gun-fire; it is to be shut whenever the regiment is on parade, or out in the field, and not to open on Sundays until after Divine Service in the Convent Chapel (see LINK) is over.
2. No spirituous liquor, whether mixed or unmixed, of any sort or kind, is to be sold upon any pretense whatsoever; the sale, therefore, of liquor is limited to wine, malt-liquor, cyder, (sic) and beer.
3. No cards, dice, or gambling of any description, are to be allowed in it.
4. No liquor whatsoever is to be sold for any other purpose than that of being drunk in the canteen; as none is on any pretense to be carried out of it, except for the use of the families of outlayers, and then the quantity sold to any one person is not to exceed one pint, nor is any to be delivered to children under the age of fifteen years.
5. No liquor whatsoever is to be sold on trust; and therefore, if any non-commissioned officer or soldier be suffered to depart without paying for what he has been supplied with before he leaves the canteen, he is cleared of all obligation to pay afterwards.
6. No non-commissioned officer or soldier is to be permitted to leave in pledge any part of his dress, necessaries, or appointments, for liquor, nor is anything to be received but money; therefore, if any one calls for more than he can pay for on the spot, he is immediately to be sent prisoner to the regimental guardhouse charged with the crime of disobedience of orders, for the purpose of being brought to a court-martial, and punished for the same.
7. No non-commissioned officers or soldiers of any other corps but that to which the canteen belongs, nor any stranger of any description, except being passed in by a commissioned officer, the sergeant-major, or quarter-master sergeant, is to be admitted into the canteen without producing permission in writing from the commanding officer of the corps; nor are any persons to be supplied with liquor from it, but the non-commissioned officers, &c. belonging to the regiment.
8. No non-commissioned officer or soldier who has the least appearance of intoxication, is to be permitted to enter the canteen; such as show a disposition to drunkenness, or rioting are immediately to be sent to their barracks, and if disobedient to the orders of the non-commissioned officer holding the canteen, when directed to go there, are to be sent prisoners to the guard-house, with a crime against them, for refusing to obey his orders.
9. The non-commissioned officer having charge of the canteen is to be obeyed by the other non-commissioned officers and soldiers, as next in rank to the quarter-master sergeant, in everything relating to the carrying on the business of the canteen. He and his assistant have authority to call upon the barrack guard for assistance, whenever good order and regularity are in danger of being disturbed; but, on no other occasion, except when called upon for this purpose, are non--commissioned officers or soldiers, on duty, to enter the canteen.
10. The captain of the day and orderly officer are each of them frequently to visit the canteen, and if they discover any irregularity or breach of these regulations, during the time they are on duty, they are to report the same to the commanding officer in writing.
11. The established price of wine and malt liquor is to be at the following rate, and never to be altered without an order from the commanding officer, viz. Malaga, two reals per quart; black wine, one real and a half per quart; porter, one real and a half per bottle; and beer one real per quart. The wine to be sold in the same state as it is purchased from the merchant, and any attempt to adulterate it is, on detection, to be punished in the most exemplary manner.
The Standing Regulations are quoted from - The British Colonial Library - Vol 1 – 1837 - R. Montgomery Martin. (See LINK)
It goes without saying that neither this regulation - nor any of his other 169 survived for more than a few months. He left the Rock for good that very same year.
The Rock from the west – The engraving is from Montgomery Martin’s History - It was almost certainly taken from the English school painting shown below it (1837)