The People of Gibraltar

1948 - Eliot Elisofon - Shortly after the War

Eliot Elisofon was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. He joined LIFE magazine in 1942 as a staff-photographer and stayed with them until 1962. At some time shortly after the end of WWII he must have travelled to Spain as he produced several portfolios of photographs one of which he called The Atlantic Coast (Spain). It was dated September 1948 and included several of Gibraltar. The following is a selection.

The Rock - possible from Puente Mayorga in Spain - with posing Guardia Civil. At the time these policemen were thought to be prone to a philosophy of shooting first and asking questions afterwards. I don't know if this was true or not as I was never in a position to put it to the test 

Main Street - Bull fights were popular in Gibraltar in the post war years. The poster advertises a Novillada where youngish bulls are fought - as against the real McCoy in a proper Corrida de Toros. The Nestlé advert is for some sort of condensed milk. The real thing was not available to the hoi polloi. For many years a solitary resident cow allowed the Governor - and presumable other top military brass - to use the real thing when they were having their tea

This is the first of a set of six photos taken from more or less the same place and on the same day. Most of us had only recently returned from abroad after the War. I would guess that these fellows are military personnel

These ladies could be 'Matuteras' ( see LINK ) - the local name for Spanish women who smuggled small amounts of essentials across the border on a daily basis - on their way home. They were brave individuals. They were forced to do it as there was at the time hardly any other way to make money to survive

Either of those two boys could have been me

Same boys. Note the Nissen huts in the background which are almost certainly those where these two lived in

 Anti-tank defences from the war - there was precious little cleaning up of wartime installations after WWII - it was lying about all over the place

A local 'bobby'. He is not walking in the right direction but he might just be off for frontier duty - up the road to the left.

The wharf and part of the new airfield which had been completed during the war

Downwards on the Inundation or 'La Laguna', across the airfield, the British frontier, the Neutral Ground and in the far distance, the Spanish town of La Línea 

Europa Point and light house. Not entirely certain but a new road seems to be in the process of being created

An imposing rock face and the Galleries