Money collectors in the temple?

Sitting bizarrely in the walls of the modern-day tax office, is a sixteenth century archway from the Spanish hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Rosario. (Our Lady of the Rosary).

When we first started living in Gib, the arch looked like this, and there was a little plaque that said it had been moved from another church near the Moorish Castle.

St Jago's Arch, 2010. Attribution  - Wiki Commons

St Jago’s Arch, 2010.
Attribution – Wiki Commons

I mentioned this on one of my Gibraltar Heritage Trust outings, and the know-alls in the group said that was rubbish. I found this disconcerting. Not that the know-alls said the plaque was wrong, but that the government could put up signs about history with wrong information.

Back in 1920, it looked pretty similar. Although the windows in the stone block are much nicer as they are sash. {No sense of heritage in Gib at all]

St Jago's in 1920, source of photo, Gibraltar Museum's Fernandez Collection Made available through Wiki Commons

St Jago’s in 1920, source of photo, Gibraltar Museum’s Fernandez Collection
Made available through Wiki Commons

However, for the last goodness knows how many months, it has been hidden by tarps with little or nothing to be seen. Suddenly on a dog walk, I noticed the tarps were coming down and later that evening, I saw the arch revealed in all its glory.

Sandstone arch of 16th century Nuestra Señora del Rosario

Sandstone arch of 16th century Nuestra Señora del Rosario

The misleading plaque has disappeared, to be replaced with a huge sign on the pavement about the history of the arch. I do not like this sign. It is linked to the government’s Gibraltarpedia project, which apparently was somewhat controversial.

Unattractive Gibraltarpedia sign

Unattractive Gibraltarpedia sign

Only the second pedia project after the Monmouthpedia one, Gibraltar ambitiously aims not only to be the first city in the world to have a pedia project, but also aims to extend it to include the straits of Gib, the Spanish towns in the Bay of Gib, and Ceuta and Morocco in North Africa. Even for Gib, that’s going some.

The controversy however is nothing to do with that, but to do with one of the consultants on the original wiki team acting as consultant to the Gib one. There is far more detail about it, but I’m not going into it as it was utterly boring. It must have been a poor news month when that story kept cropping up.

From a personal perspective, while I think it’s very nice of lots of people to spend their time writing historical articles for nothing, it goes without saying as both a journalist and a historian that I think people should be paid for doing that. So this call for volunteers to do what could employ quite a number of people to do the whole thing professionally racks me off somewhat.

Here, is a much nicer sign.

Southport Ditch sign

Southport Ditch sign

I am sad to say that this was provided by the previous Caruana government, which I did not like. But I do like the sign for Southport Ditch much better than the Gibraltarpedia one. Why are there no old pictures on the boring Gibpedia one? There are on the Gibpedia website, as I have reproduced them above. There is also a 16th century sketch on the St Jago’s Arch webpage which would have been a nice addition too (not that you can see much of the hermitage) but it is an interesting pic. Oh very well, here it is:

Drawing by Anthonis van den Wijngaerde from 1567.  The hermitage is labelled 'E'

Drawing by Anthonis van den Wijngaerde from 1567. The hermitage is labelled ‘E’. This one is in the Ashmolean (Oxford), and again courtesy of Wiki Commons

And the juxtaposition? Well, obviously the 16th century hermitage doorway, in what later became St Jago’s barracks after the Anglo-Dutch force took Gibraltar, and is now the tax office. Hence the money collecters in the temple title, derived from the biblical story about money changers in the temple.

And the second juxtaposition is the concept of old technology (ie masonry/construction) and religion and new technology (smartphones) and new religion (our worshipping of all things internet). Gibraltarpedia, like Monmouthpedia, uses QR codes, so that people can scan in a code to their smartphones and look up information about places in Gib. Although I don’t see any QR codes on the Gibpedia sign. Ooops – ETA, I clearly don’t know what a QR code looks like, those funny mosaic symbols are QR codes. Might be helpful to add that to your crappy signs, ie telling people how to use them.

Conveniently the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge of Juxtaposition coincided with me taking these pics a couple of days ago, so for once a useful challenge as I was about to post this pic anyway. Thank you WP 😉

12 comments on “Money collectors in the temple?”

  1. […] Money collectors in the temple? | Every picture tells one […]


  2. […] Money collectors in the temple? | Every picture tells one […]


  3. An interesting story to the arch, but how on earth did they get the information so wrong before.
    I agree, I don’t like the Gibraltapedia sign at all, it’s far too modern looking for something with such history. Signs more in keeping with the subject would be far more appealing.
    I love the 1920’s photo, I don’t know why, but it reminds me of many old French villages. Is there any link with France?

    How odd that WP came up with the juxtaposition challenge perfectly for your pics. The same happened with my attempt at the challenge too. I’d only taken my pics last week, without any thought of the link between them, and certainly with no apparent reason in mind.

    Nice colour DT has chosen from the stonework 🙂


    • You can imagine how much it wound me up that someone hadn’t done their research properly. I went into an anal spiral!! If there is such a thing.

      Honestly, I swear they have no f***ing idea about how to present history, it needs class not gimmicks. The blue is so ugly and glaring, and why no other little piccies on a nice sign board? Must amend my post too, those crappy logo things on the sign are the QR codes!

      Isn’t the 1920s one good? It blows up btw, as does the sketch. I set them big specifically. France, no, not that I know of, but I know what you mean. Just colonial British really.

      Yeah, I was wondering how to feed it into roughseas, and then it got its own very personal slot 🙂

      I think beige/taupe is def the new grey/mustard. I’d been hoping for darker, but suspect I was thinking of the dark night. It’s an OK colour.


  4. well – how surprising to land on a non-grey page. i quite like this colour here to go along with the old gate.
    and what a cool post. a great take on the challenge. there is nothing nearly as old in this corner of the planet unless you go by the mountains and the trees, which actually just brought a possible image to mind for the challenge. i was going to sit out on this challenge, as no images came to mind and nothing i have seen while out and about the last couple of days inspired me either. other than possibly Timmy in a snoring position juxtaposed against the carpet, LOL.
    i suspect that cost was a factor with the new sign – no images means cheaper production. but the old sign is much nicer – and for more interesting – for sure.


    • ok, i did end up posting for the challenge, and had to chuckle when i saw the colour that DT provided. tan and beige really are the new grey! 😀


      • I’ll be over to looky. Isn’t it odd? I think it must be an annual cycle. 2012 – mustard, 2013 – grey, 2014 – beige/tan/taupe. I think I’ll open a book for bets on the colour for 2015 (and gosh where do the years go?)


    • Well, it matches the sandstone more or less, and the deep tone pretty is
      much the same saturation as the door part of the archway.

      Thanks. I was wondering what to do with the photos I’d taken, as it didn’t merit a post in its own right for roughseas, plus I had another post in mind for that which I must do today, so this was just right. Subconsciously I suspect Vicky’s old and new power pix (fossil fuel and wind power) must have triggered the thought too.

      Best to sit out if you can’t think of anything or only end up doing the obvious. It can so end up being ‘odd person out’ rather than juxtaposition I suspect. If I hadn’t taken this, I would probably have looked for an old and new building type pic anyway as the easiest thing to find in Gib, which means I probably wouldn’t have posted at all 😀 I like having something that fits rather than going out to take it specifically. Adapting something usually adds that quirky interpretation.

      Anyway of all that. I could have done the dogs too, the Little and Large juxtaposition, and I did see a nice dog shot with a black one and a white one lying together.

      You are probably right about the cost. I should have thought of the added cost of graphics, but it still seems like spoiling the ship for a ha’porth of tar.

      I must also have a go with those silly codes now I have figured what they are.


  5. […] Money collectors in the temple? | Every picture tells one […]


  6. […] Money collectors in the temple? | Every picture tells one […]


  7. […] Money collectors in the temple? | Every picture tells one […]


  8. […] Money collectors in the temple? | Every picture tells one […]


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