On our second visit to Gibraltar, (the frantic three day visit to find and secure our future apartment no less) my estate agent said we had a couple of minutes to spare (Mr BotR was at the bank drawing funds for our deposit) and he took me for a brief look at the Garrison Library. Now to gain access to the library you walk up a little bit of ‘Library Ramp’ but when you google the address it comes up as Town Range, but to make it easy to find, it is next to the Gibraltar Chronicle offices, and opposite The Elliot Hotel. It has taken me over two years to get back there. Shame on me. (Not because I couldn’t find it, I’d like to add, but because I keep odd hours!)
This remarkably beautiful Georgian building holds no less than 45,000 books (and boasts a newly restored ballroom). The reading rooms are like stepping back in time, somewhere a fully netted underskirt and bustle would work very well! Sumptuous leather sofas and chairs invite you sit down and read. Which of course you can do! If you have exams to study for, or want to conduct some research this is the place to do it. The books here are available to read, but not to take home. The quietness in the library is intoxicating, it really is an oasis of calm! Also the staff are super friendly and helpful. The building and contents were up until September of 2011 property of the MoD. After having a look around at the books and documents on displays (some of which date back to the early 1700’s, yes, really) I went out into the gardens. OMG. Mind blown. Glorious views of the Rock, of the architecture of Gibraltar and I swear there was a moment where my heart skipped a beat because there is the most stunning wrought iron spiral staircase that leads to the upper level of the building from the gardens. I know that several years ago the MoD let people hire the Library as a venue for weddings, whilst I would be petrified to think of the damage that could be inflicted from tipsy wedding guests 😉 I want to plead with Mr Picardo and the gang to let this building be used once again, but just for the ceremony itself. Hey think about it the Elliot is just across the street, which is a perfect venue for a reception! 😉
If you just want to take a look around you can do so yourself, although you will need to be escorted to the upper level of the library. There is a tour each Friday and that starts at 11am, there is no entry fee, although donations are welcome.
The summer opening hours 0830 – 1500 Monday – Friday, and the winter opening hours are 0900 – 1700 Monday – Friday. To contact the library for further details telephone 00 350 200 77418.
As per usual I did bring my camera, but I fear my pictures do no justice, so make sure you visit this amazing place yourselves!