Housing and dress with materials from Gibraltar

Housing and dress with materials from Gibraltar
1960s. La Atunara (La Línea). Houses built of several materials on the sandbanks. Some houses are basically tarpaulins or blankets tied together with sticks and string. In the middle, a crouching woman seems to be washing. To her right, a cat and a man walking by. There are clothes sunbathing on the grass. Source: Blog ‘La Línea de la Concepción en Blanco y Negro’, Luis Javier Traverso

Housing and dress with materials from Gibraltar

In the 1950s, the slums in La Línea consisted of thousands of shacks made of wood, cardboard and tins, «without electricity, running water, sewers or paving. Some people slept on the sand. New shanties appeared every day using any bit of land available» according to the Christian community of the Santiago parish in La Línea.

«The material for building shacks depended on what money people had, on what they found, and if they could go into Gibraltar», states Antonio Barros, who worked making shacks on demand in the 1940s and 50s.

Antonio gives details: the walls were made using large wooden boxes which the food and equipment for Gibraltar came in, and they were whitewashed on the inside. The wood was covered with tin from large gas canisters from a factory in Gibraltar. After covering the roof with wood, sheets of cardboard were added, also from Gibraltar, and these were tarred and covered in sand. The shack was built on the sand and the floor inside was the same sand. Some people paved the floor sticking stones into the sand, others used pebbles or shells from the beach mixed with lime mortar and sand.

Isabel Álvarez explains about a friend of hers: «She would arrive home with old tins, cardboard and any clothes they gave her. She even brought back stones from Gibraltar». This expression is common among the inhabitants of La Línea and describes the constant flow and use of products from the colony.