The People of Gibraltar
1899 - Henry George O’Shea - Not Very Good

Mrs Prescott, Livio and Sprague - Triay, Saccone and Speed

I am not entirely sure who Henry George O'Shea was other than that he was born in 1838 and that his name appears on an influential travel guide called, O'Shea's Guide to Spain and Portugal. It was a book that was readily available at the time in Gibraltar at A. Beanland, 103 Church Street.

The eleventh edition of this huge opus is dated 1899 and was extensively revised and updated by John Lomas, who himself wrote a travelogue - In Spain 1908 - an update of his previous work which was published in 1884.

The following quotes are taken from the chapter on Gibraltar in O'Shea's Travel Guide

. . the port might be made excellent; but alas! although facing Gibraltar, where all is trade, activity, order, and improvement, there are here neither moles, quays, nor works of defence . . . There are two poor inns here, the ' Victoria' and the 'Marina.

Lomas mentions the Hotel Reina Christina in Algeciras as 'the excellent and wonderful — characteristically Spanish, of the best order'. O'shea missed it as it only opened to the public in 1901.

The Reina Cristina in 1902 ( Unknown )

The Town of Gibraltar
. . .is most uninteresting and dull. It consists of uniform white- washed huge barracks, and low, flat-roofed, and darkly-painted houses, mostly made of bricks, plaster, and wood, after an Italian, or rather no style. The streets are narrow and winding; the principal one is Water-port Street, which is lined with very indifferent shops, where prices are higher than in England. English comforts, however, can be procured, including excellent tea, ales, cigars, English medicines, firearms, saddlery, etc. . .

There are no buildings of particular interest. The governor's house is in-different, the synagogues poorly decorated, the English and Spanish churches not worth visiting. Religious toleration rules side by side with liberty of commerce.

Tourists should not neglect, en passant, to visit the several markets, if possible early in the morning ; not so much for the special value of the various articles offered for sale, as for picturesqueness of surroundings and dress of the motley crowd. Moors, Turks, Greeks, Jews, the Spanish smuggler, the Catalan sailor, the red coat of the English private, all mingle together, bawling, disputing, bargaining, and cheating in their different tongues, ways, and gestures. The fish-market is another sight not to be omitted. The fish is excellent and varied. There is always a good supply of fruit from Spain and Morocco ; the Tangerine oranges are exquisite.

Entrance to the 'Moorish' market (Unknown )

The Alameda
. . .is the pride of Gibraltar, and is truly charming, being laid out in the English style, and abounding in beautiful geraniums and bowers. It commands fine views of the straits and coast of Africa. At the entrance is the drilling-ground, where the regimental bands play in the evening. The monuments to the Duke of Wellington and General Elliot are mean and tasteless.

The Alameda then becomes the fashionable lounge, and the spectacle presented by the close contrast of populations of extreme points of Europe is quite novel and curious. The London bonnet and Mrs. Brown 's hats are seen side by side with the mantilla de tiro; blue eyes and rosy complexions next melting black eyes and olive-dark cutis. The different mien, toilette, language, and walk are all striking.

The 'mean and tasteless' statue of Wellington in the Alameda Gardens ( Unknown )

The Royal Hotel
Opposite the Exchange, old-established, dear, not very good.
The Europa
On the New Mole Parade, quiet and reasonable.
The Grand Hotel, and The Calpe and Cecil Hotel
Both in Waterport Street, fair, but noisy.
The Bristol
Cathedral Square, best situation.
Bargaining everywhere necessary.
Miss Prescott's boarding-house, 2 Wheatley Terrace, for a lengthy stay.

The Club House Hotel - which was considered by Thackeray to be 'mouldy and decrepit' - now belonged to Pablo Larios and was no longer the best hotel in town. The Royal Hotel must have occupied a prime position in Main Street but had already been dismissed by several other visitors as both shabby and over-priced.

Bristol Hotel ( Early 20th century - Unknown )

France - M. Eugene Livio
United States - H.J. Sprague

An American newspaper the Daily Record-Union dated 1885 informs that the President of the United states had decided to retain Mr. H.J. Sprague as consul at Gibraltar because of his excellent record. He had been at his post since 1848. He was renowned in Gibraltar for his efforts at trying to cultivate grapes and mulberries with very little success as there was very little water in the place.

Wheeler - Engineers Lane
Triay - Bell Lane

Wines and Cigars
Sacconne - Market Street
Speed - Waterport Street

James Speed started trading in Gibraltar as a wine merchant in 1839. Nearly a decade later Jerome Saccone had also established his own wines and spirits business. They competed with each other for the rest of the decade and it was only in 1908 that they decided to merge and form Jerome Saccone and James Speed & Co - later to become the more familiar Saccone and Speed Ltd. When O'Shea visited they were still separate companies.

James Speed and Jerome Saccone - ( From Saccone and Speed (Gibraltar) Website )

Theatre Royal, Tennis, Polo, Cricket and Rowing clubs

1875 - Theatre Royal Poster
Garrison Library
45,000 vols. Visitors admitted upon introduction. Adjoining is the Pavilion, with bar, smoking, billiard, card and dressing rooms.

Poster Theatre Royal ( 1875 )

The Calpe Hunt Club
. . . was founded by Admiral Fleming in 1814, who brought here a pack of hounds, which became the property of the club. There is a secretary, to whom apply for admittance. The sport is good, and there are excellent covers. A good hack can be hired for the day for 3 dollars. The best meets are now :
2d Venta, Pine Wood, Malaga Road,
Duke of Kent's farm.
There is like-wise some shooting, woodcocks especially, in the corkwood, and cabras montesas, partridges, and wildfowl are found in the vicinity of Estepona and the convent de la Almorayma,

The Rock from pine woods near San Roque ( 1870s - George Washington Wilson )

Strict regulations concerning foreigners and British subjects are observed here, and martial law rules on the rock. No foreigner can reside without his consul or a house-holder becoming his security. Permits of residence are granted by the police-magistrate . . .military officers can introduce a stranger for thirty days. The gates are shut at sunset, immediately after the evening-gun has been fired.

The precipitous sides of the grey limestone rock are verdant in spring and autumn, and the scattered orchards produce excellent fruit ; in summer they become tawny and bare. There is, at that season of the year, a want of circulation of air, which, added to the extreme heat, scorching Levanter, and absence of trees, makes Gibraltar next to intolerable. The rock, moreover, rising behind the town, reflects the heat, and checks the currents of air.

This is what John Lomas had to say about Gibraltar's weather some 25 years after this.

It is one of the anomalies of the world's travelling that only slight heed is taken of the attractions and advantages which Gibraltar possesses. The climate may not be desirable for a lengthened residence, and the charms of the place, being all in a small compass, may be worn threadbare by any prolonged and exacting demand ; but for the bird of passage, or the sojourner for a few weeks, there is here a little paradise. Balmy air, glorious sunshine, far-reaching views over rock and glittering sea, a bright life and a gorgeous nature's dressing, home feeling and homelier fellowship, with the always surpassing interest of treading old paths amidst new surroundings — what more can an even exacting bird of passage desire ?

Gibraltar from Campamento ( 1870s George Washington Wilson )