The People of Gibraltar
1846 - Gibraltar - John Murray Carter’s Lithographs

In Gibraltar we tend to know him as Captain John Money Carter - but in 1839 he married Jane Ferguson Murray, daughter of the 8th earl of Elibank. He eventually became a lieutenant-Colonel and changed his name to John Murray Carter.  It is under this name that in 1846 he published a wonderful book with unbound, hand coloured, lithograph plates based on his own original paintings.  Although not mentioned by the Auction house it is possible that the engraver was Thomas Coleman Dibdin, a painter in his own right.The auctioneers from whom I got this information from valued the lot at anything from 25 001 to 100 000 quid.

This first one was used as the title page illustration. 

1. Statue of Lord Heathfield in the Alameda Gardens

Commissioned in 1815 it was made from the wooden bowsprit of a Spanish ship. It was replaced by a bronze one in 1858. Being able to date this kind of trivia was symptomatic of the British colonial administration of the day. The only civilians enjoying the park are a soldier and a couple of Moorish day merchants from Barbary - a bit of local colour . . . without the locals. 

2.  View of the Rock from Sandy Bay

This is the first one - the title is “View of the Rock of Gibraltar from Sandy Bay” which is confusing to us Gibraltarians as we have our very own “Sandy Bay” - and this isn’t it. It is very possibly the beach at Getares near the Spanish town of Algeciras.

3. The Commercial Square, Commercial Library, and the Main Guard

The square has had more than its fair share of names over the years - today it’s called "John Mackintosh Square". The Main Guard - which was exactly what it was in its military sense at the time - is the house on the right with columns - it dates from the early 18th C. The Commercial Library was damaged by fire in 1919 but still looks not all that different today. In 2006 it became the home of the Parliament of Gibraltar.

4. The Alameda. Trooping the Colour

Lots of soldiers - very few civilians . . . and another Barbary merchant in the foreground - On the left just visible in grey is the edge of Gibraltar's impressive sea Line Wall. Although much strengthened since its origins it dates from the 14th C when it was built by a Moorish overlord - Abu Inan. He described the entire wall as a halo that surrounds the crescent moon - a neat description as the Line Wall does not go right round the Rock but only along the west and southern sides of it.

5. The Victoria Battery

Somewhere on the south western side of Gibraltar - The British man-of-war is “parked” in the New Mole. The larger buildings in the far distance are part of South Barracks perhaps the biggest on the Rock at the time and dating from the early 18th century. In this one Carter just includes a Barbary merchant, a soldier and a woman with a parasol who is most likely a garrison lady rather than a local. It all looks lovely . . . but most of it was later destroyed to make room for an impossible and improbable 100 ton gun - one of the very few ever made and of which we ended up with two in Gibraltar.

6. The Saluting Battery

This one was probably overlooked by Victoria Battery - I am not too good on Gibraltar batteries of which there were literally hundreds. Mons Abyla aka Jebel Musa - or Apes Hill as it was often referred to in those days by the British, can be seen in the distance across the Straits of Gibraltar and behind the ships in the New Mole. Some have suggested that this mountain might be the southern pillar of Hercules. 

The area hidden by the trees on the left would decades later become Kingsway - a favourite spot for local mums and their children - and indeed everybody else eventually. Carter made do with only two soldiers and a couple of Barbary merchants - not a local in sight in this one.

7. The South Barracks, from Rosia Bay

Perhaps one of the most published and appealing of all his paintings - Those children fishing add to the general charm. However, the idyllic calm depicted is deceiving. Rosia Bay was the main deep water harbour for the Royal Navy throughout the 19th century. Nelson’s badly damaged Victory was towed into this small bay after the Battle of Trafalgar. The large buildings are those of the South Barracks of the title with its two Officers’ Pavilions. The rather lovely looking houses along the Line Wall were almost certainly the homes of British military officers.

8. Europa Pass

The original gate was built in 1811. It was the only way to get to the southern area of Gibraltar and for many years civilians needed a special pass to get through it. In other words Europa point and the area around the lighthouse were virtually out of bounds for the locals. The view is from the out of bounds side looking north. 

The tower on the hill on the right was ordered built in the early 19th century by Charles O’Hara, also known as ‘The Old Cock of the Rock’, and Governor at the time. It was supposed to enable an observer to see ship movements in Cadiz. Nobody had considered the intervening mountains and the tower became known as O’Hara’s Folly.

The building on the extreme left is probably Signal Station. Ship movements were monitored and signals were sent back to town using black leather balls hoisted on to flag masts according to a rather complex code. The gate was demolished in 1925 to allow for two way traffic. 

9. The Mediterranean Battery

This battery on the east side of the Rock is rarely mentioned in contempory lists of the many Gibraltar batteries. Apparently it could be found at the entrance to Martin´s Cave ‘ a precarious site at the best of times and was first armed in 1834. Together with several Europa Advance Batteries it was supposed to guard against enemy landings from the Mediterranean side. 

The view is towards the north and Spain. The top of the peak on the left was known as Rock Gun and the stretch of beach from the North Front of the Rock includes Gibraltar’s very own Eastern  Beach - “el Mar de Levante” followed by the long stretch of “la Playa de La Atunara” on the Spanish side.
The only locals are the two apes  . . . . or should that be monkeys?

10. The Wellington Bust, Alameda Gardens

That will be Arthur Wellesley better known as the (1st) Duke of Wellington. That shield below the bust probably has the longest single sentence panegyric ever written. It is a classic example of the kind of brown-nosing that went on in British colonies about British heroes who had very little to do with the colony itself. It goes like this:
This bust of Arthur Wellesley, duke of Wellington, was erected by subscriptions, A. D. 1819, from the military and civil officers of the garrison, in honour of the soldier-like qualities, and brilliant deeds, of that great invincible commander, who, under divine providence, in the reign of George III., King of Great Britain, father of his people, while commanding the British Forces, in alliance with those of Spain and Portugal, - in arduous and almost desperate circumstances, after hard service and numerous battles, almost always victorious - driving the French from the shores of Cadiz beyond the Pyrenean mountains and river Garronne - happily accomplished the liberation of these countries, sorely oppressed by an immense host of French armies; and who finally terminated, by the battle of Waterloo, the war, impiously renewed in France and Belgium ; richly deserving the thanks of his king, his country, and the whole human race, for thus, while acquiring renown for himself, and immortal glory to the British arms, at once relieving Europe from the tyranny of its oppressors.

11. Southport and Prince Edward’s Gates

I could write a hefty volume about this particular picture - but I will keep it simple - and personal. The barrels on those donkeys are full of water. The lack of decent drinking water was a perennial problem on the Rock and very few households had running water. Barrels with water collected from reservoirs here and there were therefore delivered daily to just about every civilian home in Gib. The men who carried out this very arduous job were mostly Spaniards. They were known as “aguadores”.

12. The Upper Room of the Gibraltar Garrison Library

The Garrison Library of Gibraltar was not just a major institution in Gibraltar but was well admired throughout the Empire and the entire British Army. It was the creation of a Captain John Drinkwater the man responsible for the definitive history of the Great Siege.

The colonial apartheid ideology of the day ensured that the locals were ALWAYS persona non-grata in what was not only a pretty decent library but also a glorified and extremely enjoyable officers’ mess. The richer merchant princes of Gibraltar - some of whom were of the originally UK-born variety - took umbrage and created their own rival “Exchange and Commercial Library” . You can see the building they created in Carter’s engraving “Commercial Library . . . etc” which I have already posted.

13. The Rock of Gibraltar from the San Roque Road

Anglo-Dutch forces captured the Rock in 1704 in the name of Charles III. He was the Pretender to the throne of Spain. Almost the entire population of Gibraltar then seem to have decided that there was little chance that the incumbent Philip V might be replaced by Charles. They therefore moved out of town en-masse taking up temporary accommodation along the towns of the Campo area surrounding the Rock. One of these was the very small settlement of San Roque. 

The Gibraltarians had guessed correctly - Charles III was a loser and Philip V won the war of the Spanish Succession. What they had not taken into account was that the English - later to become Britain - decided that it might be worth their while to keep the place for themselves.

The Gibraltarians were therefore forced to stay in San Roque well within sight of their old homeland and were duly rewarded - if that is the right word - by Philip V. He renamed their settlement and it became la Muy Noble y Muy Leal ciudad de San Roque, donde reside la de Gibraltar. Years later many a British military officer found it a pleasant place to visit in order to escape the claustrophobic atmosphere of Gibraltar. The track shown on the picture must have been a well trodden path for Carter.

14. St Michael’s Cave

A tourist attraction today as it was then - although in the 19th century it was also a playground for officers who enjoyed messing about in caves - to such an extent that some of those who went in . . . never came out again. Lots of women in this one - but I would put my hand in the fire that they are all military wives or women.