The People of Gibraltar
1954 - The Queen Visits Gibraltar - My Grandfather’s House

The Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh during the combined services parade at North Front

The Royal Yacht steamed into the Bay at 9 am on May the 10th greeted by a 21 gun salute from ships in the harbour and by HMS Rooke - the naval establishment in Gibraltar. The Queen, in a honey coloured dress and hat, ceremoniously touched the Keys of the Fortress presented to her by the Governor and then drove to North Front (see LINK) where she inspected a combined parade of service man and women.

The Rock, one of the smallest but perhaps one of the most historic and strategically important British possessions gave her a sparkling reception, a fitting final high-light to the Royal Tour of the Commonwealth. The sun shone, the narrow streets were crowded with flog-waving locals while the Queen and her husband fulfilled a crowded programme during their two day visit. 

The lighthouse - Europa Point     (Bryan de Guineau)

Trafalgar Cemetery    (  (Bryan de Guineau)

St Michael's Cave   (  (Bryan de Guineau)

The Rock from the Hotel Reina Cristina’s Golf Course in Algeciras (Bryan de Guineau)

The queen never ventured into Spain and the sketch is probably just an excuse to show what the Rock looks like from the south west. I don’t think the artist would have had time for a round of golf and I suspect he did this one from a photograph.

The Rock apes (Bryan de Guineau)

The Queen visited the Barbary apes (see LINK) - as did her children - during the visit. The apes’ headquarters known as “The Ritz” - as visible in the sketch - is near Prince Ferdinand’s Battery and the Queen’s Gate which is framed by two ancient cannons which are also shown. They are still there. The windscreen wiper of the artist’s car was ripped off during his visit and its rubber chewed off by one of the apes. Hopefully the animals were a bit more respectful during the main event.

The Convent (Bryan de Guineau)

The 16th century Franciscan Convent (see LINK) is still the Governor’s official residence and is still appropriately known as the Convent - the scene above shows the Ceremony of the Keys. The Turnkey is returning the Keys to the Governor after having visited and theoretically locked the three major gates of Gibraltar.

Governor’s Parade (Bryan de Guineau)

Main Street (Bryan de Guineau)

Water vendors, known locally as “aquadores”, refilled their wooden barrels with water at this distribution point in Governor’s Parade (see LINK) close to the Garrison Library. (See LINK) From here it was distributed throughout the town. My own house in 256 Main Street (see LINK) - not a million miles away - was supplied with water in this manner after my family returned from our WWII evacuation and for at least a decade after that.

Casemates Square  (Bryan de Guineau)

At the time of the Queen’s visit Gibraltar employed thousands of Spanish workers from the nearby Campo de Gibraltar. At the end of the working day there was a mass exodus north usually via Main Street by Spanish dockyard and other manual workers. The picture depicts a group of these men and women about to go through Casemates Gates (See LINK) after which they would return home by bus to La Línea and or other nearby towns or by ferry to Algeciras. During Queen Elizabeth’s visit about 400 of them were denied entry for security reasons. Behind them are the Moorish Castle and the older part of town. One of my Grandfathers owned the house identified with a red rectangle - 42 Crutchett’s Ramp.