The People of Gibraltar
1860 - Unknown Photographers - Gibraltar - Introduction 

Let me start with the last photograph that appears in an album I recently found on the net. It was taken at the Gibraltar cemetery in North Front and shows a memorial to the wife of a certain Reverend C. Moore. He is described as a Chaplain to the Forces - presumably those in Gibraltar - although I have so far been unable to identify him as such.

The rest of the album is made up of thirty-seven 19th century photographs of Gibraltar. In 1936 it was sent by somebody from the Hibernian Bank in Dublin to the National Library of Ireland. 

As can be appreciated from the letter, the sender knew very little - if anything at all - about either the photographs or the album, although the recipient's web site does offer the viewer their guess as regards the dates in which the photographs were taken - that is from 1860 to 1899 - which in most cases seems reasonably correct although I suspect that most are in fact much earlier than 1899. Nor can one tell what might have been the connection with the Rev Moore.

For those interested in such an esoteric activity as trying to find out the names of the creators of the earliest known photographs of the Rock, I can confirm that these tend to be limited to a handful of photographers - locally based or otherwise - and includes well-kent names such as Francis Frith and Robert Peters Napper (see LINK) Charles Clifford (see LINK), Gustave Dautez (see LINK), James H. Mann (see LINK), Jean Laurent (see LINK) and a few others.

Add to that list perhaps a couple of gifted amateur pioneers such as Alfred Capel Cure (see LINK), Benjamin Browning (see LINK) and a number of locals whose work I have so far found mostly impossible to identify  . . . . and that’s about it. 

On the whole the subject matter of these photographs tends to be repetitive - as are many in the album. Gibraltar is not just small, but was very much a military fortress where security was taken seriously. During the mid and late 19th century you simply couldn’t go around taking photographs wherever you fancied - you needed permission and it was not always forthcoming - and when it was it usually came with artistically numbing restrictions. The end result was that many of these old photographs are very similar, repeating the old scenes again and again with just a few variations. 

Top - Gardiner’s Battery - Bottom - Europa Advance Battery     (All Late 19th century)

My newly found album, however, appears to be an exception to the rule in more ways than one. The output of most professional photographers of the day was either used by postcard publishers or sold locally as prints. These are in fact the sources of just about every digital copy I have been able to collect - but I doubt whether too many of the views included in the album - eight or so at the most - have ever been used on any Gibraltar postcard.

Another oddity is that although there are numerous other collections which include old photos of the Rock, very few of them contain most of the photographs that appear in this particular album - and I don't quite understand why.

Included in a collection compiled by the Rev J. N. Dalton and presented to George V during his 1912 visit to Gibraltar, this photo is possibly one of about half a dozen or so in the 1860/1899 album that I have ever seen elsewhere - The photographer in this case was was J. H. Mann

To make for easier viewing I have decided to post the collection in two separate links as shown below.

Part 1 contains a copy of the photos as they appear on the album
Part 2 contains cropped versions showing sections of particular interest to me - with the highest possible definition.

1860 - Unknown Photographers - Gibraltar - Part 1
1860 - Unknown Photographers - Gibraltar - Part 2