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Gibraltar


       The Alameda Gardens












                                                           The Alameda Gardens were established in 1816 by the
                                                           Commander Lieutenant Governor Sir George Don to
                                                           provide the public with a place of relaxation.
                                                           The gardens are laid out with interconnecting paths,
                                                           water features and terraced beds formed from the local
                                                           Jurassic limestone. At path junctions and other strategic
                                                           places, you will find guns and artillery, commemorating
                                                           Gibraltar’s military heritage. At the entrance are two of the
                                                           four Russian cannon given to Gibraltar by Britain, for
                                                           Gibraltar’s help during the Crimean War, in 1858.
                                                           In pride of place, atop a limestone column as you enter
                                                           the gardens from the Alameda car park, is a bust of
                                                           George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, PC, KB. In
                                                           1777, Lieutenant-General Eliott was appointed Governor of
                                                           Gibraltar and was promoted to full General in 1778. The
                                                           following year Gibraltar was besieged by Spanish and
                                                           French troops. The siege lasted until 1783 when the               promotion to Field Marshal. Following the battle many
                                                           French and Spanish admitted defeat. Eliott was credited,          British soldiers looted the French baggage train of over
                                                           quite rightly, with holding the British forces together and       one million pounds worth of booty, well over one hundred
                                                           maintaining morale and his leadership qualities in actions        million pounds today, causing Wellington to write his
                                                           such as the ‘defeat of the floating batteries’. He was            famous line, “We have in the service the scum of the earth
                                                           invested as a Knight of the Bath immediately after what           as common soldiers”.  He later, famously, defeated
                                                           became known as ‘The Great Siege’.                                Napoleon at Waterloo. After his military career, Wellington
                                                           Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH,           went into politics and was Prime Minister from 1828 to
                                                                                                                             1830. In 1834 William IV dismissed the Whigs by a political
                                                           PC, FRS is also honoured. His bust looks west over the            coup, summoning the duke to form a ministry, but the
                                                           Naval Dockyard. Wellington was instrumental in throwing           65-year-old duke replied that Peel must be prime minister.
                                                           the French out of Spain during the Peninsular War. His            He was nominally Prime Minister for a little under one
                                                           actions during the Battle of Vitoria in 1813 where he             month making this the shortest prime ministership in Great
                                                           commanded a combined Spanish, Portuguese and British              Britain. Most quiz masters do not recognise Wellington and
                                                           forces against the French army led by Joseph Bonaparte            nominate George Canning as the shortest serving Prime
                                                           and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan earned him his
                                                                                                                             Minister, April to August 1827.
                                                                                                                             Visitors may wonder at the statue of Molly Bloom and her
                                                                                                                             association with Gibraltar. Molly was a fictional character in
                                                                                                                             James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. Gibraltar is one of the Pillars of
                                                                                                                             Hercules to which Odysseus (Roman Ulysses), sailed. The
                                                                                                                             1922 novel is about a very dreary, dull, post-war Dublin. In
                                                                                                                             the last pages of the book Molly gives a breathless
                                                                                                                             soliloquy, recalling her days in Gibraltar, ‘the sea crimson
                                                                                                                             sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the fig
                                                                                                                             trees in the Alameda gardens… and the rose gardens and
                                                                                                                             the jessamine [sic] and geraniums and cactuses…”, giving
                                                                                                                             a hopeful splash of colour and hope of a brighter future.
                                                                                                                             In the mid-19th Century, the Italian Giuseppe Codali
                                                                                                                             designed ‘The Dell’, an Italianate style garden that is best
                                                                                                                             viewed from the wisteria covered bridge above. The Dell is
                                                                                                                                                                          continued >>

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