The first mention of opening a museum was back in 1835 during a meeting of the Gibraltar Scientific Society. It wasn’t until almost 100 years later it actually happened.
On the 23 July 1930 the Gibraltar museum was founded and located in the home of the Principal Ordinance Officer, then known as Ordinance House or more colloquially known as ‘Bomb House’. It is located just off Main Street in Bomb House Lane behind the Bristol Hotel. It is probably the best investment of £2 you will ever make for that is the cost of entrance. It has a small room that shows a 15 minute film on the geology around the Rock including how it came to be. After that you can walk it’s few rooms and marvel at some interesting artefacts ancient and not so ancient covering the existence of more than 20,000 years of history. Whatever you do visit the Moorish Baths and in the room just before you enter them you will see two cages full of oyster shells from the Roman period, shells bigger than a large bread roll compared to today’s tiny oysters. Don’t leave without seeing the Egyptian Mummy upstairs dating from 800BCE found floating in the Bay in 1930 and the 1:600 scale model of the Rock made in 1865 accurate even down to the trees by Lieutenant Charles Warren. The same Charles Warren who 23 years later was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police during the infamous ‘Whitechapel’ murders of 1888.
The remains of medieval baths built during the 14th Century Menindin Dynasty rule of Gibraltar.
Located beneath what is now the Gibraltar Museum, these ancient remains were actually used as stables during the British occupation of Gibraltar. In fact one of the rooms was sufficiently filled to the level of the road to enable it to accommodate coaches, the horse drawn variety of course. Although smaller than originally built after the house was badly damaged during the Great Siege the baths are on the site of the Palace of the Governor of Gibraltar and are therefore, private baths. They consist of rooms similar to Roman ‘Hypocaust’ system of baths with a normal temperature room for undressing, a cold room and a hot room. Like the saunas of today moving between them cleanses the body by sweating the dirt away. The baths had channels under the floor through which warm air circulated heating the rooms. To look at the baths you need to gain entry to the Museum above.
How to get there:
The Gibraltar Museum can be found off Main Street down Bomb House Lane opposite the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned which is located bang in the middle of Main Street.