Queen Victoria’s Monument on Gunners’ Parade in Gibraltar is in the form of a drinking fountain with a bowl for dogs at the base. On the rear is the inscription “Erected by the inhabitants of Gibraltar 1910”.
The bust of the Queen early in her reign is made of marble and the pedestal and drinking fountain from local limestone. It was the work of the Italian sculptor Lazarini. The lion’s head looks as if it is a modern addition to replace the spout of the drinking fountain.
The original position of the memorial was as shown in the old postcard above but although still on Gunners’ (now Governor’s) Parade, it has been moved to the terrace of the O’Callaghan Elliott Hotel to make way for a car park [ref 1].
It was unveiled by the Governor of Gibraltar on Empire Day (24 May) 1910. The usual celebrations of the day, which marked Queen Victoria’s birthday, were subdued everywhere in the British Empire as the funeral of the late Edward VII had taken place a few days earlier. In Gibraltar, the unveiling was the only event of the day [ref 2].
In the left background of the old postcard is a tank where water carriers once filled their water barrels.
Reading brewers H & G Simonds (later Courage) had a strong presence in Gibraltar and opened their first premises in 1881. The London Bar, to the right of the water tank, was a Simonds pub and is still open today.
The Simonds staff magazine, the Hop Leaf Gazette, covered news from Gibraltar alongside that from other branches in the UK. Many of the Gibraltar events and activities revolved around the fleet and regiments based on the Rock.
It was not possible to avoid Brexit on our twinning visit. Gibraltar is the only British Overseas Territory which is part of the European Union. The economy is closely linked with that of Spain and around 10,000 workers cross the border every day to work on the rock; consequently it had a special position in Brexit negotiations. There is a short protocol devoted to future relations from p495 onwards of the UK withdrawal agreement which states in the pre-amble:
AIMING at continuing to promote balanced economic and social development in the area, in particular in terms of labour conditions, and continuing to ensure the highest levels of environmental protection in accordance with Union law, as well as continuing to strengthen security for the inhabitants of the area, in particular through cooperation in police and customs matters…
- Governor’s Parade – the People of Gibraltar
- Reading Observer 28 May 1910 p8, Leicester Daily Post 25 May 1910 p8 and Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 25 May 1910 p7, via findmypast.co.uk.