Leisure and culture for the colony

Leisure and culture for the colony
1870. Race meeting held by the ‘Royal Calpe Hunt’ society in Gibraltar. From ‘The Illustrated London News’. Source: ‘Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya’ (ICGC)

Leisure and culture for the colony

The elitist Royal Calpe Hunt society existed in El Campo de Gibraltar from 1812 to 1939. Military officers and members of the British and Spanish aristocracy took part. They organised fox hunts and horse races, which some older people still remember. On the day of the hunt, the area chosen was at their disposal. After the event, a member of the society and the mayor of the affected county inspected the area to value damage to crops and to pay for them.

The route of the race shown in The Illustrated London News takes in the neutral area and the present day airport as far as the western coast of La Línea. In the background, dominating the scene, is the rock of Gibraltar. There are men, women and children, some in British and some in Andalusian dress; amongst them several policemen, a water-carrier and a guitarist. Vicente Ricardo remembers these races during his childhood.

Since the birth of the city, shacks and huts lived together with grand theatres, cinemas and brothels. They were places for leisure and business mainly for the Gibraltarians but also very well-known in the surrounding provinces. La Línea became a city of enormous social differences.