The People of Gibraltar
2019 - Patios of Fraser’s Ramp - Gibraltar

"Patio" Fraser's Ramp - Patio Shakery - Patio Benoliel

The steps of Fraser’s Ramp with a view of the arches at the back of Patio Policia - Castle Road is out of view at the very end on the right.

Fraser's Ramp

The entire area along Fraser’s Ramp is still made up of a hive of small cul-de-sacs which were once often given the name of patios although in reality they more often than not referred to the names of passageways leading off roughly north from the steps of Fraser’s Ramp. In other words they were not really patios as such although not everybody would have agreed. Here is how one of the residents put it:
It's Fraser’s Ramp, my childhood home, my neighbourhood. There were three patios, Shakery’s Passage, Fraser’s Ramp and Benoliel’s Passage and at the top the police barracks or el Patio Policia as we used to call it.
In other words with a typical disregard for dull logic, Fraser’s Ramp was both a patio in itself and an area consisting of three patios - one of which was called Fraser’s Ramp as well. Fraser’s Ramp itself does not appear on the 1814 Gibraltar census and makes its first appearance in 1834. 

Rampe de Fraser   (1830 - Piaget et Lailavoix)

As to who exactly was Fraser I have no idea. The surname is surprisingly common in early 19th century Gibraltar - although often hard to find because it was at the time spelt with an “f” instead of an “s” - Frafer.

Major General Sir John Fraser was one of the many lieutenant Governors of Gibraltar for about a month in 1809, Captain Percy Fraser was Naval Commissioner from 1811 to 1813, Major General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser distinguished himself during the Great Siege, Hugh Fraser was the surgeon at the Civil Hospital during the yellow fever epidemics of the early 19th century - to mention just a few but none of which appear as likely candidates for naming Fraser’s Ramp.

Patio Shakery

21st Century - With acknowledgments to Anthony Aquilera)

This one was the first pathway leading off from Fraser’s Ramp. A once upon a time resident remembers it like this:
The door on the right is the entrance to a small patio which consisted of four very small flats with one toilet for all outside, which meant that if you needed to use it, you had to go out and walk and hoped it wasn’t occupied by someone else - come rain thunder or whatever.
It may have been named after José Shakery Rusiano, a prominent mid 19th century business man. In 1865 he was chosen by the Governor to be a member of the newly created Sanitary Commission. His main claim to fame, however, was a much recorded event that happened in June 1844. This is what the Gibraltar Directory of the day had to say about it.
Mr. Joseph Shakery was waylaid on San Roque road and taken to the mountains by two armed men. Party of soldiers sent out by the Alcalde of San Roque who rescued Mr. Shakery after killing one and capturing the other bandit. H.E. the Governor Sir Robert Wilson, wrote to the Alcalde thanking him for his active and effective measure.
José Shakery was  the uncle of a Gibraltar artist Juan Shakery Linares whose work is less well known that perhaps it should be.

Hermita de San Roque   (Early 20th century - Juan Shakery Linares)

Bandits - probably based on his uncle’s assault on the way to San Roque (Early 20th century - Juan Shakery Linares - with acknowledgements to Dale Joseph Desoisa who owns the original)

Patio Benoliel 

As confirmed by Lutgardo Zaragoza in his 1899 Guia de Gibraltar y su Campo, Fraser’s Ramp itself - presumably including the section that leads off to the north was known in its entirety as Escalera de Benoliel.

(1899 - Lutgardo )

This patio was probably named after a wealthy well-known merchant family who may have owned property in Benoliel’s Passage. The Benoliels crop up every so often both in Gibraltar and in Tangier and are frequently referred to as mega-rich. Judah Benoliel, for example, is reputed to have been the richest man in Gibraltar in the early 19th century.

Another, Solomon,  is also mentioned in tourist guides of the 19th century and by people who visited the Rock and wrote of their experiences.

His shop became a must for visitors. When Queen Alexandra accompanied by Princess Victoria stayed in Gibraltar for a few days they :
. . . drove through the town visited Algeciras and the waterfalls, Guadacorte residence of Messrs Larios . . . . . and Benoliel’s establishment.

Benoliel’s “Establishment” in Gunner’s Lane

To end on an historical bit of nonsense, the fancy, ebony, ivory and tortoiseshell cabinet shown above came from Benoliel’s shop. Several years later, however, had you ever been invited to Marlborough House when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) was in residence - you would have seen it there. Later when he became King he took it with him and had it installed in the “Buhl” room - one of the finest guest rooms in Buckingham Palace. George V inherited the thing but  . . . I don’t know what happened next.

The Prince of Wales visited Gib in 1876 but I can’t see the future King slumming around in the back streets of the town. Some brown-nosed individual must have given it to him as a present - I wonder who it was.

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