The People of Gibraltar
1873 - Beanland Malin and Co - 500 000 Postcards

Bolton Beanland and Emma Beanland 
Abraham Beanland and William Malin

The words Beanland Malin - like others such as Saccone and Speed, Bland, Lipton, Bassadone, Cazes and the Emporium for example,   are more than just commercial institutions -  they are words that define a Gibraltar that no longer exists. To a Gibraltarian like myself who lived on the Rock during the mid 20th century just saying their names out loud produces a strong feeling of nostalgia.

According to Malcolm Beanland, writing in the Gibraltar Heritage Magazine, it was his great grandfather Bolton Beanland who started the ball rolling in 1873. A retired Royal Artillery Sergeant Major he opened a shop in Church Street that sold a huge variety of material most of it to do with stationery of one sort or the other.

Both he and his wife Emma were dead by 1876 and the shop was taken over by their son, Abraham Emmett Beanland.

Abraham Emmett Beanland  ( 1874 )

Advert in the Gibraltar Directory of 1879

Around 1882 Abraham joined forces with a local printer called William Malin whose father was also a retired military man. By 1884 they had established a new partnership now  known as Beanland Malin.

William Malin at his Printing works in Cornwall's Lane   (1895)

The stationary shop at 72 Waterport Street  ( 1908 )

The printing works at Gavino's Court just off City Mill Lane with L. Charles Beanland, R. William Malin and unknown children ( 1910s )

Workers outside the printing works ( 1910s )

Inside the printing works ( 1910s )

Shop at 72 Waterport Street  ( 1910s )

Inside 72 Waterport Street - apparently they even sold handbags  ( 1910s ) 

By the 1920s, the company operated from various different locations, including one at 225 Main Street which was not far from my own family house at 256 and the business continued in existence under the guidance of various members of both families. The printing works were improved and the original Albion handpress was upgraded by the purchase of Letterpress and Lithograph machines all of which were housed in Gavino's court just off City Mill Lane. In 1908 the Company obtained a concession to sell Imperial typewriters in both Gibraltar and Tangier. But deteriorating  relations with Spain and the eventual closure of the frontier in 1969 made it difficult for the business to prosper. Beanland and Malin closed in 1978.

In 1914, and long before this, the British author Alistair MacMillan visited Gibraltar to carry out research for his book Malta and Gibraltar Illustrated. Unusually, he made a point of complimenting Beanland Malin both on the quality of its printing equipment and its excellent output of lithographs and other prints. He also mentions, almost en passant, that the firm had 'on average upward of 500 000' postcards in stock - an unbelievably large number for a place the size of Gibraltar.

Not surprisingly, the examples shown below are just a fraction of those still readily available nowadays as antiques and as digital copies. The photographers are mostly unknown.

Harbour from the Alameda Gardens

Entrance to the Alameda Gardens

American War Memorial

 Catalan Bay

Catalan Bay

Typical Gibraltar Hackney Carriage

Main Street 

Military Hospital

Rock from the Neutral Ground

Rock from the west

Rock from the east

Rock from Spanish frontier

South Port Gates

Water Port and Grand Casemates Gates

Spanish frontier - photo is signed by a well known photographer of the mid 20th century, L. Roisin 

 View towards the Sugar Loaf and Windmill Hill

Apes of Gibratar

Also known as the Smith Dorrien Bridge - and locally as el Puente Aleman. It had been dismantled at the beginning of the Second World war and reassembled later by German prisoners. It had originally been intended as a railway bridge for India.  Car dual Spanish and Gibraltar number plates were common at the time. 

The Main Street shop - many of the poscards shown above appear on the street cabinet