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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

And the New Mole extension 2700 ft


The money, weights and measures in legal use are British. Before 1898 Spanish money only was in use. The great depreciation of the Spanish currency during the war with the United States led in 1898 to the reintroduction of British currency as the legal tender money of Gibraltar. Notwithstanding this change the Spanish dollar still remains in current use; much of the retail business of the town being done with persons resident in Spain, the dollar fully holds its own.

_Harbour and Fortifications._--Great changes were made in the defences of Gibraltar early in the 20th century. Guns of the newest types replaced those of older patterns. The heavier pieces instead of being at or near the sea-level, are now high up, many of them on the crest line of the Rock; their lateral range and fire area has thereby been greatly increased and their efficiency improved in combination with an elaborate system of range finding.

With the completion of the new dockyard works the value of Gibraltar as a naval base has greatly increased. It can now undertake all the ordinary repairs and coaling of a large fleet. There is an enclosed harbour in which a fleet can safely anchor secure from the attacks of torpedo boats. A mole, at first intended for commercial purposes, closes the north end of the new harbour. The Admiralty, however, soon found that their needs had outgrown the first design and the so-called Commercial Mole

has been taken over for naval purposes, plans for a new commercial mole being prepared. The funds for these extensive works were provided by the Naval Works Loan Acts of 1895 and subsequent years.

The land space available for the purposes of dockyard extension being very limited, a space of about 64 acres was reclaimed from the sea in front of the Alameda and the road to Rosia; some of the land reclaimed was as much as 40 ft. under water. The large quantity of material required for this purpose was obtained by tunnelling the Rock from W. to E. and from quarries above Catalan Bay village, to which access was gained through the tunnel. The graving docks occupy the dug-out site of the former New Mole Parade. There are three of these docks, 850, 550 and 450 ft. in length respectively. The largest dock is divisible by a central caisson so that four ships can be docked at one time. The docks are all 95 ft. wide at the entrance with 35-1/2 ft. of water over the sills at low-water spring tides. The pumping machinery can empty the largest dock, 105,000 tons of water, in five hours. There are two workshops for the chief constructor's and chief engineer's departments, each 407 ft. long and 322 broad. For the staff captain's department and stores there are buildings with 250,000 ft. of floor space. At the north end of the yard are the administrative offices, slipways for destroyers, a slip for small craft, an ordnance wharf and a boat camber. The reclaimed area is faced with a wharf wall of concrete blocks for an unbroken length of 1600 ft. with 33 ft. of water alongside at low tide; on this wharf are powerful shears and cranes.

The enclosed harbour covers 440 acres, 250 of which have a minimum depth of 30 ft. at low water. It is closed on the S. and S.W. by the New Mole (1400 ft.) and the New Mole extension (2700 ft.), together 4100 ft.; on the W. by the Detached Mole (2720 ft.) and on the N. by the Commercial Mole.

The New Mole, so called to distinguish it from the Old Mole and its later extension the Devil's Tongue at the north end of the town, is said to have been begun by the Spaniards in 1620. It was successfully assaulted by landing parties from the British fleet under Sir George Rooke at the capture of Gibraltar by the British in 1704. It was extended at different times, and before the beginning of the new works was 1400 ft. in length. The New Mole, with its latest extension, has a width at top of 102 ft. It is formed of rubble stone floated into position in barges. It has a continuous wharf wall on the harbour side 3500 ft. long, with water alongside 30 to 35 ft. deep. On the outer side coal is stacked in sheds extending nearly the whole length of the mole.


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