The People of Gibraltar
2019 - Other Upper Town Patios - Gibraltar

Patio de la Sanidad - Patio Saladero
Patio de las Calderas - Patio de la Planchadora
Patio de la Lavandera - Patio de la Tumba
Patio Gregory - Patio de las Piedras Blancas
Patio Carrera - Patio Bobadilla

Patio de la Sanidad

According to somebody who was born in this patio:
I recall it being known el Patio de la Bañasca when I was young, but have never heard it called that since.
He might as well have also added other variations such as Patio de la Salud and de la Vañasca which have also thankfully disappeared with the passage of time. Whatever its name its address was in the hard to find Richardson’s Passage - hard in so far as finding a photograph of the patio is concerned - which is surprising as its twin blocks with their commanding view of the Bay should have been easily identifiable.

El Patio de la Sanidad in the middle extreme left of the photo with its twin blocks showing two columns of windows on each

It was known as el Patio de la Sanidad because it had originally housed members of the local Port Department. In the past the gentlemen employed by this authority were responsible - among other things - for “pratique”. In other words they visited newly arrived ships in the Bay to check whether they complied with Gibraltar’s supposedly strict quarantine regulations and that everybody on board was in good health. As in Spanish the word for “health” is “sanidad” local Llanito patois decreed that the entire Port Authority would become known as “la Sanidad” - as indeed were several other local authorities that had anything to do with health.

The headquarters of the Gibraltar Port Authority on the Commercial Wharf - It too was known as “la Sanidad”.

Despite official attempts to the contrary, pratique was often anything but strict. This is how the fairy story writer Hans Christian Anderson remembers it when he visited Gibraltar in the mid 19th century:
A boat came out to the steamboat; all the papers were taken up with a pair of iron tongs, looked at, and returned by the hand. We then obtained permission to land. . . 
According to the person born in the patio and quoted previously it seems that it was sometimes necessary to join the Port Authority to be entitled to rooms in the patio:
My Dad had to leave his job and take up employment with the Port Department. It was the only way my parents could continue to live in "el Patio de la Sanidad" which was a Colonial property!
Perhaps worth mentioning is that the employees of the Port Authority were often engaged in other far more taxing activities than pratique.

In 1891 the steamship Utopia carrying emigrants from Naples to the US, accidentally collided with the battleship HMS Anson in the Bay of Gibraltar. The Utopia sank in less than a few minutes in a midst a violent gale and rough seas. Despite acts of heroism performed by many - including men from la Sanidad - well over 500 people perished.

Members of the Gibraltar Port Authority wearing medals awarded by the Italian Government for bravery for their intervention in the Utopia disaster - The photo was taken - appropriately - on the terrace of el Patio de la Sanidad.

To end on a happier note the following is a superb sketch of the Patio and many of its residents.

(Mid 20th century - Brenda Smith)

Patio Saladero

I can’t find any mention of this Patio anywhere other than that it was in Crutchett’s Ramp. This is a very old part of town - known as Villa Vieja during the Spanish period and as Portuguese Town during the early 18th century. 

Entrance to Crutchett’s Ramp from Main Street

It takes its present official name from a house owned by a Mrs Crutchett which was badly damaged during the Great Siege. It was known locally for many years as la Calera - the lime kiln - as there was one of these at the top of the Ramp.

Mrs Crutchett’s House  (1783 - John Spilsbury)

It so happens that my Grandfather, Diego Gomez who came to Gibraltar from the town of Coin and made himself small fortune selling muscatel grapes to the Garrison. He used most of it to built himself a house in a very visible part of Crutchett’s Ramp.

The one in the middle with the dormer windows and a good view of the Grand Casemates still belongs to members of my family - The roof was replaced in the late 19th century by an
additional floor and a flat terrace

Patio de las Calderas

Connecting Crutchett’s Ramp from north to south to the Road to the Lines is Demaya’s Ramp but I have no information on Patio de las Calderas other than its general address in Demaya’s Ramp. “Caldera” is Spanish for Boiler - so not much help there either.

Demaya’s Ramp - Could the Patio de las Calderas be the building at the end of the steps? (21st Century - Samuti)

This unknown couple are possibly from the Patio in question.

Whether the couple did in fact live in el Patio de la Caldera or not they were certainly involved in an activity that hundreds not to say thousands of Patio residents would be doing almost every day - filling up their quota of fresh water from the nearest available pump. Here are a few quotes straight from the horse’s mouth:
Our drinking water (la fuente) was luckily just outside to the right of our patio. Our house was on the left as you entered the patio, so we didn’t have to carry buckets far . . .  
Our water lady was lovely Emma, she sat on a little stool beside our window, my mum made her breakfast every morning, God bless her . . . . . This was also when we lived at la Calera. . . 
I can remember mama only having salt water in the house. The fresh water came from a tap on the road above the house . . .  luckily not too far . . . 
4 cubos al penique . . I remember going to my granny’s house and there were always tinajas and buckets of water covered with wooden tops and a panyito or cloth. Remember that in the late 70s they finally connected potable water to her house.

Patio de la Planchadora - Patio de la Lavandera - Patio de la Tumba

These three patios were in Town Range - Patio de la Planchadora in No 5, and la Lavandera in No 16 - which must have come in handy for anybody in the area who wanted their clothes washed and ironed.

La planchadora in question was a deaf-mute lady who used to iron clothes for the military billeted around Governor's Parade in the 1950's. It meant that the patio was also known as  the inevitable but  cruel Patio de la Muda. 

The doorway of el Patio de la Planchadora   (2019 - Anthony Aquilera)

As regards la Lavandera I can only presume she washed clothes to service more or less the same clientele who frequented her ironing neighbour. As for el Patio de la Tumba I have no idea who lived in it or what the “Tumbo” referred to.

Town Range itself dates back to the Spanish period . The barracks that dominated this part of the world was designed in the early 18th century by James Montressor - although at the time this section of the street was known as Queen Street.

Queen Street south of St Andrew’s Church with Town Range Barracks on the right  (c1858)

Montressor’s Town Range Barracks Plans with officers’ pavilions on either side

Patio Gregory - Patio de las Piedras Blancas

Patio Gregory is in Lopez Ramp which is an offshoot of Devil’s Gap Road. Colloquially both the road and the ramp were known as La Escalera del Monte.

Devil’s Gap Road - Escalera del Monte

Somebody who knew this patio well as her boyfriend and future husband lived in it had this to say about it.
My in-laws lived in Lopez Ramp and as far as I know all that area has been known as Escalera del Monte. Further up at the top of Lopez Ramp is a building which people used to call el Patio de las Piedras Blancas. The building stood right next to a set of white stones that made up that part of the cliff-face.
As regards Gregory . .  no idea.

Patio Carrera

The address was Carrera’s Passage - just off Engineer’s Lane. According to one local:
My mother used to call Carrera’s Passage el Patio Carrera.

Carrera’s Passage (21st Century)

The Gibraltarian Antonio Nile - the name is probably a corruption of Neale - lived in Carera’s Passage during the early 20th century. He was the father of Imperio Argentina - at the time a very well known singer and actress.

Imperio Argentina   (Gustavo Bacarisas)

Patio Bobadilla

Its address was No 1 Serfaty’s Passage - as alleyway leading eastward from Engineer’s Lane.

Serfaty’s Passage was once called el Callejon de Bobadilla and the only connection I can think of is the Spanish town of that name. In the late 19th century a British company with Gibraltar connections - Algeciras (Gibraltar) Railway Company Ltd - built the first railway connecting Algeciras to Bobadilla. But I am not at all convinced that this is where the name comes from.

In 1717 the strict terms of the Treaty of Utrecht were put into practice, the Jews were expelled from Gibraltar and the synagogue in Bomb Hose Lane was closed down. When the Jews returned a few years later the Governor General Hargrave allowed them to build another synagogue in what was then called Synagogue Lane - today’s Serfaty’s Passage.

The synagogue was destroyed during a tremendous rainstorm in 1766 in which 60 inhabitants lost their lives. The synagogue - today known as the Great Synagogue - was rebuilt with an entrance in Engineer Lane.

So who was the Serfaty referred to in the present day name of the passage? Serfaty’s is quite a common family surname in Gibraltar but I find it hard to decide which particular individual gave his name to the Passage.

To make matters even more complicated during the late 19th and early 20th century the passageway became known colloquially as el Callejon de Tady - a reference to the name of a  well-known shop in the area. At that time the most imposing building in the Callejon was the officers’ quarters with its main entrance in Engineer’s Lane.

Balconies of the Officers’ Quarters facing el Callejon de Tady

2019 - Patios of Gibraltar - Introduction

2019 - Patios of Flat Bastion Road - Gibraltar
2019 - Patios of Lynch’s and Turnbull’s Lane - Gibraltar
2019 - Patio Arengo - Gibraltar
2019 - Downtown Patios - Gibraltar
2019 - Rosia Patios - Gibraltar
2019 - Patios de la Buena Vista - Gibraltar
2019 - Castle Steps Patios and Beyond - Gibraltar
2019 - Upper Town Patios - Gibraltar
2019 - Patio Schammarri - Gibraltar
2019 - The Patios of Fraser’s Ramp - Gibraltar
2019 - Other Patios - Gibraltar
2019 - Patio Schott 1 - Gibraltar
2019 - Patio Schott 2 - Gibraltar

2019 - Los Patios de Gibraltar - A Disappearing Way of Life