About & Contact
The Ministry for Heritage website has been launched to provide the public in general with as accurate a summary of Gibraltar’s many heritage assets as possible. The information has been drawn from many quarters and our gratitude goes to all those that have assisted in this endeavour.
Apart from the information provided, there are links to other sources of information that will allow the user to further expand their knowledge.
The main sections of the website deal with Gibraltar’s Listed structures that are protected in law. These are all detailed in maps with their boundaries, together with photographs and text. Some will have more information than others and the website is also a rolling program of work so they will be expanded on as time permits. The mapping of the listed structures will be an invaluable tool to developers and town planners for at a glance they will be able to see if there are any heritage assets in any area.
Other important heritage assets such as Post office boxes, street names or Admiralty anchors are also featured in the section entitle Heritage Environment Record.
There are two other sections that feature: Surveys together with reports and Gibraltar Maps and Plans. This is a valuable resource for researchers. Lastly, there is a section on educational resources that will be expanded in the future.
In 2018, the Government passed new legislation in the Heritage and Antiquities Act 2018 and this can be viewed in Government’s Law website www.gibraltarlaws.gov.gi
The main focus of the Act is to protect the existing listed assets that are featured in Schedule two of the Act.
Part 1. Buildings.
Part 2. Monuments.
Part 3. Fortifications.
Part 4. Caves and geological features.
Part 5. Submerged heritage.
The Act also regulates for the different entities involved with heritage:
- The Ministry for Heritage.
- The Heritage and Antiquities Advisory Council.
- The Gibraltar Heritage Trust.
- The Gibraltar National Museum.
- Gorham’s Cave Complex – UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Gibraltar National Archives.
- The Garrison Library.
More details can be found below:
The Ministry for Heritage is charged with the protection, maintenance and refurbishment of all of Gibraltar’s heritage assets. This is done by a team that also oversees and liaises with other heritage partners, such as the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, the Gibraltar National Museum together with the UNESCO World Heritage Office, the Gibraltar National archives and the Garrison Library.
The Heritage Department is based at Napier of Magdala Battery, the site of Gibraltar’s 100 Ton Gun.
In 2014, the Government appointed its own archaeologist in order to promote heritage and conservation. The role of the Archaeological Officer is a statutory role with statutory obligations enshrined in the Heritage and Antiquities Act 2018.
The act states that the Archaeological Officer shall advise Government on archaeological, heritage and conservation matters and shall be responsible to the Minister in this respect.
This includes the conservation of the built environment, adaptive re-use of historic buildings, development in sensitive locations, heritage asset management and specialist advice on heritage issues.
The Archaeological Officer’s main tasks include:
- Advice to Town Planning and the Private Sector on Building Applications.
- Supervision of Restoration Projects at listed sites and at other historical significant areas.
- Desk Based Assessments and Heritage Impact Assessments.
- Archaeological Watching Briefs and Excavations.
- Heritage Licences.
- Photographic Surveys.
The Heritage and Antiquities Advisory Council (HAAC) was instituted following the introduction of the Heritage and Antiquities Act 2018 in order to offer advice to the Minister with responsibility for Heritage on matters relating to heritage, antiquities or objects of interest, monuments or buildings, historical conservation and archaeological areas.
The functions of the Council are:
- to make its views known to the Minister on how to promote and secure the conservation, protection and enhancement of Gibraltar’s heritage, antiquities or objects of interest, monuments or buildings, and historical conservation and archaeological areas;
- to foster understanding and facilitate the enjoyment of Gibraltar’s heritage, antiquities or objects of interest, monuments or buildings, and historical conservation and archaeological areas;
- to advise on anything which is to be done in relation to antiquities or objects of interest, monuments or buildings or historical conservation and archaeological areas, including advice that such activity always be carried out in a sustainable manner by a suitably qualified person; and
- to identify present and future issues which require or may require addressing in relation to heritage, antiquities or objects of interest, monuments or buildings and historical conservation and archaeological areas.
The Council is currently comprised of the following:
- the Minister for Heritage as the Chairperson;
- the Curator of the Gibraltar National Museum;
- the Government Archivist;
- the Government Archaeologist; and
- five other persons as follows-
- one person representing the Ministry for Heritage;
- one person representing the Department of the Environment.
- one person representing the Board of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.
- one person representing the Town Planning Department.
- one person representing the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society.
The Gibraltar Heritage Trust is an independent statutory body entrusted with the preservation of Gibraltar’s heritage and aims to work in partnership with all like-minded bodies, both locally and internationally.
The Trust is responsible to the people of Gibraltar for the preservation and enhancement of all aspects of Gibraltar’s heritage, which includes promoting all aspects of Gibraltar’s heritage culturally, educationally and touristically It works closely with the Government of Gibraltar and the private sector in fulfilling its aims.
The Trust operates on a not for profit basis. Since 2008 they have received an annual grant from the Government of Gibraltar to help cover staff salaries and basic administration costs. Funds for all of the Trust’s projects are raised by the Trust through their annual membership drive, their commercial activities or through specific project targeted fundraising. All funds generated are applied to achieving the aims and objectives of the Trust.
External link: www.gibraltarheritagetrust.org.gi
The Gibraltar National Museum is located in the town centre, and was founded on 23rd July 1930.
The museum is housed in a building that can trace its origins to the medieval period, but that also bears testimony to Gibraltar’s rich and eventful history. Its upper levels contains galleries and hundreds of exhibits representing the Rock’s history and the unique culture of the Gibraltarians, and includes an impressive model of the Rock which dates back to 1865. Just below ground level, in the oldest part of the house are the spectacular Moorish Baths which date to the mid-1300’s.
Monday - Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 14:00
Sunday and public holidays Closed
Last entry 30 minutes before closing time.
Children (under 12) £2.50
Infants (under 5) Free
External link: www.gibmuseum.gi
The Gorham's Cave Complex is the name given to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – an area which covers some 28 hectares on the eastside of Gibraltar from sea level to the top of the Rock (426 m above sea level). It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016 “for its exceptional testimony to the occupation, cultural traditions and material culture of Neanderthal and early modern human populations through a period spanning approximately 120,000 years”. A striking cluster of caves at sea level contain archaeological deposits that provide evidence of Neanderthal and early modern human occupation of Gibraltar, and the landscape setting and natural species which assist in presenting the natural resources and environmental context, including climatic conditions, of Neanderthal life. The site includes the cliffs that rise above these caves, and which contain an impressive example of the natural environment which has remained almost unchanged since the time when the Neanderthals lived here.
Gibraltar has a longstanding association with the Neanderthals. A skull was found in Forbes’s Quarry in 1848 and presented to the Gibraltar Scientific Society by Lieutenant Edmund Flint of the Royal Artillery - eight years before the famed remains found in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf in Germany, which gives its name to these people. A second skull, sometimes referred to as the “Devil's Tower Child” or more familiarly as ‘Flint’ was found in 1926.
The Gorham's Cave Complex is of major significance in understanding the global story of human evolution and adaptation. Gorham's and Vanguard Caves have been archaeologically excavated annually since the early 1990’s, and results have shown that Gibraltar was last refuge for the Neanderthals around 32,000 years ago. An international, multi-disciplinary research project has revealed the vital importance of the site in our understanding of a critical juncture in human evolution and of the Neanderthals in particular. Now there is a wealth of information on where and how the Neanderthals and early modern humans lived and behaved, what plants, birds and animals they were familiar with and ate, where they acquired materials for their tools and what their environment was like. There is evidence of their complex social behaviour, dress and unique elements including a rock engraving carved by the Neanderthals in Gorham's Cave, which indicate their ability for abstract thought.
Tours of the Gorham’s Cave Complex UNESCO World Heritage Site
There are several options for visiting the World Heritage Site:
Unescorted walking tours along the Mediterranean Steps Neanderthal landscape.
Pre-booked guided walking tours to Gorham's Cave, led by experts from the Gibraltar National Museum and its World Heritage Team. These are subject to a strict annual quota so booking ahead is highly recommended. Tours can be booked at the Gibraltar National Museum, by telephone (+350) 200 74289, or by email: email@example.com
Specialised boat trips, provide views from the sea of the WHS including Gorham's and Vanguard Caves (and neighbouring sea caves).
Europa Advance Batteries Viewing Platform, offer a visit to the interpretation centre with a guide and views of the site in the context of two continents and a strait connecting two major water bodies. Parking for coaches and cars is available at the viewing platform and at Europa Point, a short walk away. Tickets can be bought on site or from the Gibraltar National Museum.
External link: Gorham's Cave Complex
Email for other enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since its inception in 1969, the Gibraltar National Archives (GNA) formerly the Government Archives has been responsible for the collection and preservation of public records, as well as the preparation of those records for public access and academic research in those cases where records can be released.
The Gibraltar National Archives holds historical, cultural and fiscal records amongst many others spanning almost 500 years, from the 16th Century to the present day. These records are all from various bodies and institutions involved in the day-to-day administration of Gibraltar. In addition, some private individuals, groups, and associations have also deposited their records at the Gibraltar National Archives.
The work of the Archivist goes beyond the preservation and preparation of records. The Gibraltar National Archives provides a research service and officers deal with a substantial amount of both local and international enquiries. Additionally, the Archivist liaises with schools and other institutions in Gibraltar and abroad and is often required to conduct research and deliver lectures on various aspects of Gibraltarian history.
External link: www.nationalarchives.gi
The Gibraltar Garrison Library was founded in 1793 by Captain (afterwards Colonel) Drinkwater, the historian of the Great Siege of Gibraltar, 1779-1783. Drinkwater had, during the Siege, ‘lamented the want of a public library in Gibraltar’, especially under siege conditions when little by way of newspapers and reading material reached Gibraltar. It took 10 years however before the first reading rooms were opened for the officers of the Garrison. These were based at premises opposite The Convent, the Governor’s residence, with an initial catalogue of around 460 volumes. Books continued to be purchased for the library and by 1799 is was decided that larger premises were needed to house the fast growing holdings of the library.
Work on the current building commenced in 1800 under the auspices of General Charles O’Hara, Governor of Gibraltar. These were completed in 1804 under the governorship of the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria’s father. The Librarian at that time was Captain Fyers (afterwards Major-General) of the Royal Engineers, but his role in the Library’s evolution went much further in that he was the architect and the driving force behind the Garrison Library building as we see it today.
The Map Room
Captain Fyers was in fact one of the original members of the Library committee and a co-signatory of the 1799 circular to officers regarding the plans to expand the Library.
At its present location at 2, Library Ramp, the Library flourished as a meeting place for the officers of the Garrison. This early history gives us a clear indication of the purpose of the library as a place for training and recreation. As an outpost (albeit a European one) of Empire, Gibraltar served as a first posting for many young officers who would, during their stay, continue in their military training before being sent further afield. A library therefore, was essential for young officers in training, and this is reflected in the collections which cover a number of areas such as the military sciences, travel narratives of Mediterranean countries and cultures and of histories of countries such as India and Africa. The Gibraltar Garrison Library collections certainly reflect the era of colonial expansion and we are dealing with, in many respects, a collection build around notions of Empire.
The Gibraltar Garrison Library remained as a military library up until September 2011, at which point the Library was handed-over to the Government of Gibraltar. This historic move has ensured the continuity of the Library and the preservation of its collections. The Library is open daily and functions as a reference library and a research centre, providing open access to the collections and archives that form part of the catalogue. This new chapter has also brought the Library well and truly into the twenty-first century.
External link: www.ggl.gi
Some other useful links are:
The People of Gibraltar
Neville Chipulina's Gibraltar's Social History blogspot - The People of Gibraltar. In 2013 the blogspot was awarded a Special Commendation by the Heritage Trust for its vast array of interesting topics.
The Siege of Gibraltar
The Siege of Gibraltar, between 8th July 1779 and 2nd February 1783, whose defence under General Eliott so inspired Great Britain at a time of defeat in the American Revolutionary War.
The Gibraltar Timeline
Gibraltar Timeline is one of the most important and exciting websites ever created for Gibraltar, collaborating with many of Gibraltar’s venerable institutions.
Acting, also, as a directory, the Gibraltar Timeline provides a fascinating window for the eyes of the world into Gibraltar, featuring a main Timeline for the Rock itself, from formation to date and Timelines of the most important and influential individuals and companies in the history of Gibraltar.
Defence of Gibraltar - Project by the Fortress Study Group.
A two year project run by the Fortress Study Group from 2015-2017 whose aim was to develop a definite database of the military landscape in Gibraltar (circa 1704-1960). The website has been kept live by the FSG because of its value to researchers and visitors to Gibraltar.
Heraldic emblems of the world
History of the National Arms, Emblems, Regimental Crests, Flag etc., of each nation.
Hubert de Vries National Arms and Emblems Past and Present (Gibraltar)