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Virtual Museum: Military History
Booth’s diaries

Continuing with William Booth's diary...

“10. Waterport which communicates to the Old Mole and Quay; its gate has a drawbridge with a Guardroom on one side and the Pratick house on the other; it was formerly a strand and very inconvenient for landing stores, but at the request and consent of the merchants then residing here, General Hargrave (who was only Commandant of the Garrison) had a Quay built in 1724 with large blocks to retain the filling it in necessary for the enlarging it, whose expence was defrayed by a Duty raised on every Butt of wine for sale in the Garrison: but in time the sea continually beating against this part, had laid it almost open again; General Bland on the addition of another Dollar on every butt of wine imported in the Garrison , without exception of persona had this Quay now repaired in 1750 by new facing the wall next the sea with square stone stairs ; the whole at present makes it as commodious as ye depth of water will admit of. There is a small covertway Palisaded and Glacis to defend this Quay; fronting the Guard to the Pratique house where is another Palisade which encloses this part from without with a Barrier that leads to the Old Mole this work was new built and repaired in 1730 and 1731.

Old Mole was built by the Spaniards and proved a galling Battery to them in the last Siege of 1727 which made them employ their Batteries vigorously against it, which they did and ruined most of the Parapet which was rebuilt in 1728 and 1729 (en Redans), in order that the cannon placed in the Embrasures should bear the nearer to the Town: an Old Building then was taken down to give more space and that part next Waterport was widened which gives room besides the 17: 24 pounder mounted in the Battery, for 16 platforms for Mortars , but at this present there are only four howitzers which can equally be made use of against the Land or Sea. The back wall of this Mole is so low that the Sea in high winds washes into it and has no Banguette, for the defences of small arms. From this Mole under the Line Wall as far as the Prince of Orange’s Battery is a covertway Palisaded and Glacis made to defend the landing there as there is space from the back of the Old Mole , of 200 feet in length, quite clear of rocks and sandy where boats commonly haul up, within this covertway and thro’ the wall is a postern , or small Gate with a communication into a spacious yard made use of for a Cooperage for the Navy, and adjoining to the Town; this covertway was now palisaded , with a Banguette , and a Sortie made in the Year 1749.

Image: View of the Rock and Town of Gibraltar in the early 19th Century. Note the old mole and the water gate with beach in front.

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