MOST famous for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, not many know that British writer George Orwell spent two days on Gibraltar in 1938, noting down his thoughts on the Rock.
He had stopped off there, en route to Morocco with his wife, after suffering a serious injury from fighting for the Republican Government during the Spanish Civil War.
His notes include musings on various local newspapers, including their adverts and political standpoints.
He said of the Gibraltar Chronicle, now the longest-running newspaper in the world, that it was ‘more or less pro-Fascist’.
He also mentioned a destroyer, the Jose Luis Diez, that lay in the harbour, as well as the Rock’s wildlife.
“Population of the town is about 20,000,” he noted. “Largely Italian origin but nearly all bilingual English-Spanish.
“Many Spaniards work here and return to Spain every night. At least 3,000 (of them) refugees from Franco territory. Authorities now trying to get rid of these on pretext of overcrowding.”
He continued: “Standard of living not very low, no barefoot adults. Fruit and vegetables cheap, wine and tobacco evidently untaxed or taxed very little.”
“No English sugar or matches, all Belgian… Some of the shopkeepers are Indians and Parsees.
“The Barbary Ape is said to be now very rare at Gibraltar and the authorities are trying to exterminate them as they are a nuisance.
“At a certain season they come down from the rock and invade people’s houses and gardens.”