The Convent (Governor's Residence), Convent Place, Gibraltar. Another of Gibraltar's historic buildings, this became the Governor's headquarters in 1711 (Constantine 73), years before 1728, the date usually given for its official use for this purpose (see Chipulina). The residence's unusual name comes from its previous history as a Spanish monastery for the Franciscans: occupying it was one of the ways in which the new Anglican regime showed its ascendancy. The Franciscan arms adorning it lasted longer than the Franciscans themselves, but were eventually plastered over. The Duke of Kent (later to become Queen Victoria's father), during his short spell as Governor here in 1802-03 (see Constantine 71), proposed restoration works after the Great Siege of 1779-83, and a modified programme was carried out after he left. The Victorian era saw many more changes:

Throughout the mid to late 19th century there was another flurry of reconstruction. The banqueting-room was built in 1864 and during 1867 and 1869 the place was given its present red brick facade and stone portico both probably designed by Colonel Crealock who was Lord Napier’s Military Secretary. The west wing – or Napier Wing – was built in 1879 on the south side of the stable. It was designed by the Colonial Engineer, Captain Buckle.... [Chipulina]

Another way of asserting British ascendancy was through the pomp and ceremony that took place against the Convent's backdrop. The changing of the Guard continues to this day, and on special occasions, when there is a bigger display, visitors and locals alike gather to watch the proceedings.

Text and first two photographs by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. The last photograph was taken by Tony Evans, and is available on Flickr on the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license, which requires attribution but allows modification. Thank you! It has not been modified here. Click on all the images to enlarge them.

Related Material


Chipulina, Neville. "1531 — The Convent — And the King's Chapel." The People of Gibraltar. Web. 31 January 2019.

Constantine, Stephen. Community and Identity: The Making of Modern Gibraltar since 1704. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009.

Created 31 January 2019