has invited tenders for the beautification of John Mackintosh
Square. This is the next stage in the beautification of Main
Street, and the project will see the recovery of what was
once Gibraltar's main square.
for the square have been conceived in such a way as to create
a central focal point on Main Street. The square was known
as the Alameda in the 18th century, when it was the central
recreational area allowed to our forefathers by the military
authorities. It was also the commercial hub of Gibraltar where
auctions were conducted (hence the Spanish name for the square,
"El Martillo" - a reference to the auctioneer's
gavel), and where the Merchants' Exchange was built by General
Don in 1817 with money raised from a public subscription by
the principal merchants and inhabitants. Fine town houses
graced the square. Indeed, when the grant of land to build
a house was made to Aaron Cardozo in the early 19th century,
one condition was that the house should be "an ornament
to the Alameda". The square also had a military past:
the Main Guard (now the offices of the Heritage Trust) was
the place from which all the sentries in Gibraltar were posted
each evening. Military punishment in the form of floggings
would take place in the square.
felt that the enclosed, raised Piazza denied this fine historical
square of much of its charm. There is at present a lack of
connectivity between the square and the perimeter side streets.
The raised platform is acting as a visual and physical barrier.
There is a lack of activity within the square. There is a
poor scale and distribution of planting. There are poor finishes
to the square as it now stands, and the street furniture is
inapporpriate for a major city square. There is poor relationship
between the square and the buildings, shops, cafes and restaurants
round the square.
decision was therefore taken to address all these issues,
demolish the structure and recover what is actually a large
open area. The project which has gone out to tender will restore
the square as one of a series of focal points along the Main
Street and bring it back to life." Said Acting Chief
Minister, Keith Azopardi.
is estimated to take 13 months, and it will be carried out
in four phases as follows:
1 - the demolition of the structures on the square and
the area of the taxi rank on the south side of the square.
2 - the area between the taxi stand and Treasury Building.
3 - the western part of the square, in front of the City
Hall and between the City Hall and Irish Town.
4 - the remaining eastern part of the square.
to temporarily route traffic from Line Wall road to City Mill
Lane have been drawn up, and also plans to temporarily resite
the taxi stand. The public will be informed of the arrangements
that have been made in this respect in due course.
will be positioned in the square, and will be an attractive
feature at a point which will connect the axis represented
by an imaginary line from the House of Assembly with the City
Hall with the cross axis represented by an imaginary line
from Irish Town to the Main Guard. It will therefore be at
the very centre of the square.
stage of the beautification of the square will be the planting
of trees similar to those which grace Main Street round the
perimeter of the square and larger trees which will be allowed
to become mature in the centre of the square, in a series
of grassed area.
with this major refurbishment, improvement and redesign of
John Mackintosh Square, the façade of the House of
Assembly will receive a facelift and the building will be
floodlit at night.