The People of Gibraltar
1860s - Edward Frome - Chief Engineer - Gibraltar

Edward Charles Frome was born in 1802. He entered the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich when he was 15 years old and made it as a lieutenant in the Royal Engineers 10 years later. From then on it was a steady climb through the ranks to Commander of the Royal Engineers in Scotland, Ireland and Gibraltar.

Edward Frome

Edward is perhaps unique in having been the only chief engineer on the Rock - and there were quite a few of them over the years - to be able to claim to be a Gibraltarian. His father was military chaplain to the Garrison of Gibraltar during the very early 19th century, but I doubt whether Edward ever spent too much time there as a boy. Both his parents died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1804.

In 1840 he published his Outline of the Method of conducting a Trigonometrical Survey which would later come in handy during his stint as Chief Engineer of Gibraltar from 1862 to 1866. He was now a Lieutenant Colonel. 

During his time on the Rock he was involved in two major undertakings. The first was the creation of two large models of the Rock and the other the publishing of the 1865 Plan of the Fortress and Peninsula of Gibraltar. In both projects he was assisted by Lieutenant Charles Warren of the Royal Engineers - who I would imagine did most of the heavy lifting.

Model of the Rock held by the Gibraltar Museum - The other was once kept at Woolwich but I am not at all sure where it is at present

Small section of the Plan of the Fortress and Peninsula of Gibraltar   (1865)

Frome’s hobby was painting and his art work confirms that he was a very good draughtsman. Throughout his career he recorded the places he was posted to with many a sketch or watercolour. I find it frustrating that I have only been able to find three examples of those which he did during his years in Gibraltar as I am certain he must have done quite a few more. 

The view looks down on Willis's and Farrington’s batteries with Eastern Beach and La Atunara in the distance. I have never come across those three arches that appear top right.

Bottom left, the Moorish Castle and Old Mole or Devil’s Tongue - on the right the West Beach. Sierra Carbonera lies in the middle distance - it is missing the tower that topped it which was known to the British as the “Queen of Spain's Chair.” The Spanish frontier “town” of La LĂ­nea was barely a village at the time.

This painting depicts a part of the south-western coastline of Gibraltar. The artist’s viewpoint is probably from a site once known as St John’s Point with Rosia Bay out of sight behind him. Those sharp looking rocks close to the shore are captioned as “dangerous” on quite a few older maps

Cationed as "Powder Magazine. Moorish Castle, from end of tank" - The magazine is the building in the middle, today known as the Gatehouse - In the 12th century - minus its pyramid roof - it was called Bab-al-Fath  - the Gate of Victory - The "Tanks must refer to a very recently completed water reservoir 

All in all four watercolours offer several perspectives which are more or less unique - at least in so far that I have never seen them on any other appropriate painting or photograph.