The People of Gibraltar
1892 - Margaret Thomas - Spaniard or Rock Scorpion

The English-born Australian artist and travel writer Margaret Thomas was the daughter of the ship owned Thomas Cook. She changed her name from Cook to Thomas for reasons that I have as yet to figure out. She was born in England around the middle of the 19th century, brought to Australia by her parents where she studied art. She returned to England around 1867 when she was about 25.

By the end of the century she was travelling extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East and in the 1892 she wrote and had published A Scamper through Spain and Tangier. In it she included a very short chapter on Gibraltar. Although the book is illustrated with some of own sketches and paintings none of them are of Gibraltar.

(Margaret Thomas - from the book)

The following quotes are taken from the book.

Gibraltar and Galleries - Montis insigna Calpe” 
The fine steamship of the French Compagnie Genérale Transatlantique, Ville de Brest brought us to Gibraltar in about seven hours, for the small sum of fourteen francs, second class. The vessels on this line are good, the accommodation excellent, and as there are also third and fourth classes, the second is quite good enough for ordinary travellers. 
They advertise the boat to depart at eight o'clock in the evening, advise you to be on board at seven, and do not leave till nearly midnight; however, we arrived in Gibraltar just after sunrise. 

Gibraltar   (1892 - John Fraser ) (See LINK)

She was travelling with her long-term companion Henrietta Pilkington. The fact that they did not travelling first class can be interpreted variously but my feeling is that this was a matter of choice rather than not being able to afford it.
Landing was a troublesome affair, and we found lodgings dear; but were agreeably surprised at the beauty of the situation of the town and variety of character and costume in the streets. Every country is represented there, and the Arab has sent his full contingent, which gives a very foreign appearance to the place. Stalking gravely and grandly beside the vivacious Spaniard, or "Rock scorpion," and the terribly trim British soldier, his presence greatly helps you to keep up the idea that you are still abroad. 
Landing in Gibraltar for tourists arriving by sea had been a troublesome affair from 1704 right up to the early 20th century. The horrendously lethal yellow fever epidemics (see LINK) of the early 19th century were followed in the 1860s by the deaths from cholera of 575 people. The last epidemic was in 1885 perhaps not much more than half a decade before Margaret’s visit. In those days the practique men took their work seriously.

Cordon sanitaire at the frontier ( 1884 )

As regards “Rock Scorpions” I suspect she was mistakenly classifying the “natives” as Spaniards although many of them would have been from Genoa or elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Unless I am misinterpreting her - she may have been describing both the locals and the Spaniards as vivacious.
Lured by the lovely tints of the old Moorish castle (see LINK) on the height, we at once made for it with our paint-boxes in our hands, but our hopes of a sketch were rudely dashed to pieces by an observant sergeant, who informed us we were not permitted to paint even the distant mountains or sky here, much less the castle.  
"Do you see that man up there?t" said he, pointing to a red blotch somewhere on the summit of the rock. "Well, he spots you already!" So we walked away, conscious of being under surveillance, and grievously disappointed. 

Old town and Moorish Castle ( Late 19th century - T. F. Levick)

Gibraltar was very much a military fortress in those days and restrictions on the subject matter available to professional and amateur artists and photographers alike was strictly enforced by the British Authorities. In 1887 - and then again in 1895 - laws prohibiting civilians from sketching or taking photographs without the authority of the Governor came into effect. Anybody caught red-handed would be arrested without warrant and cameras and photographs confiscated. 
However, the view from the rock somewhat consoled us for the loss of a sketch. The distant Spanish hills on one side, and the far-off Ape's Hill and mountains of Africa on the other, bound the horizon ; the grand old rock itself rises majestically into the air; below snugly lies the little town and splendid bay covered with the shipping of every nation. 
Algeciras, where the new railway - which, when the ignorant Spanish opposition is overcome, will do so much to connect the interior of the Peninsula with the seaboard commences, and San Roque are easily distinguished; beyond is the blue line of the Sierra Nevada. 
The “new railway” - or "The Algeciras (Gibraltar) Railway Company" to give it its proper name (see LINK) - began work in 1889. The line was built in sections. The first bit from Algeciras north towards Jimena de la Frontera was completed in 1890, the next south from Bobadilla to Ronda in 1891 and the final connection from Ronda to Jimena in 1892. 

Brand new train on the brand new Algeciras-Bobadilla line 

The “ignorant . . . opposition” may refer to the reluctance of the Spanish authorities to allow the railway line to continue along the coast to La Línea just across from Gibraltar which they found militarily unpalatable. It meant that passengers travelling by rail to Gibraltar had to take a ferry for the last leg from Algeciras to the Rock. 
We went through the galleries tunnelled in the rock for which Gibraltar is celebrated; they reminded me of the borings of certain insects make through their favourite cheese. 

A rather romantic representation of the Galleries as suggested by this English newspaper illustration  ( Late 19th century )
The monkeys (see LINK) are not a myth - there are about forty of them; they change their place of residence as the wind changes, live on the wild fruits which grow on the fertile rock, and are mischievous enough in throwing stones at the soldiers. 
As interesting comment - in the mid 19th century an anonymous correspondent of the Friend magazine wrote that the rank and file the of the garrison were convinced that the monkeys hated the sight of a red coat, and often threw or rolled stones down upon them. Apparently they did so in retaliation as one of the amusements of younger recruits was to hunt and annoy the poor monkeys.
The sergeant who accompanied us very gravely related that the chief of the monkeys had lately been found dead, and that the others were looking about for a new king - an electoral monarchy evidently! 
The perpendicular rock is sublime at its northern aspect; below it lie the Jewish cemetery with the men and women buried on separate sides under flat stones, the Christian cemetery, and near it other Christian necessaries - the racecourse, exercise-grounds, and dog-kennels. 

“The perpendicular rock is sublime at northern aspect”  (c1890 - Jean Laurent ) (See LINK)

View north toward La Línea across the isthmus - Cemetery bottom right and other “Christian necessities” - especially the race course and sports facilities - on the left
But Gibraltar is so well known that it seems absurd to describe it again. I will only add that the Alameda is one of the loveliest of gardens, the vegetation almost tropical, and that it contains two decent monuments, one to Eliott, the other to Wellington. 
Not everybody agreed that these were “decent monuments” - here is a contemporary postcard of the one to Eliott
. . . . For fifteen pesetas you can get a return ticket from Gibraltar to Tangier. Our journey was rough and long, the Gibel-Tarik having lost one of her propellers . . . 

Bland Line’s Gibel Tarik (1884 -1930) (See LINK
. . . Tangier at one time belonged to England, having come into the possession of the Crown in the dowry of Catharine of Braganza, who married Charles II. It was given up in 1684 . . . It is the chief seaport of Morocco, and carries on a small trade, chiefly in cattle, with Gibraltar . . .  
In three hours and a half you pass from civilised Gibraltar to wild Tangier - from stiff Tommy Atkins in his subterranean galleries, to supple Reefians toying with their long guns in the brilliant sunshine; from ladies and gentle-men sauntering on their thoroughbred horses through the Alameda, to caravans of tired camels coming from the desert - in a word, from the Englishman's chimney-pot hat to the snowy turban of the Moor. . .