Line Wall Curtain

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Line Wall Curtain


Frederick Leeds Edridge 1830 - Part of the Line Wall.jpg
Line Wall (Frederick Leeds Edridge, 1830)
Type: Wall
Location: 36°8’18"N, 5°21’18"W
Condition: Mostly intact
Owned by: Government of Gibraltar

The Line Wall Curtain is a defensive curtain wall that forms part of the fortifications of Gibraltar. It gives a name to Line Wall Road in the city.


The Line Wall runs from the North Bastion south along the western coast of the town to Engineer Battery, just south of the South Mole. It protected the town from bombardment from ships in the Bay of Gibraltar and from troops landing from the sea.[1] The Line Wall Curtain, as it stands, was built in the 18th century running north-south as part of the Line Wall western defences.[2]


The wall incorporates, and is to some extent, built upon older Spanish and Moorish fragments.[2] The earlier wall from the Moorish period incorporated square and round towers along its length (whose traces were still visible in the 1770s).[3] The Moors' wall was pierced by clay pipes that carried water from a well down the slopes, used for supplying water to galleys moored in the bay.[4] An aqueduct ran along the Line Wall, enclosed in its masonry, to the Waterport, where it replenished a reservoir from which water for the galleys was drawn. The Waterport was where the galleys were built (now Grand Casemates Square), and where they could be anchored alongside the Old Mole that extended from the shore to the north.[5]

As of 1836, the main defensive position in the Line Wall was the King's Bastion, at the centre of Gibraltar Harbour.[6] This was built by General Sir Robert Boyd in 1772 on the site of an old Moorish gate that had been replaced by a Spanish bastion. It played a key role in the defence of Gibraltar during the Great Siege (1779–1783), providing the platform from which red hot shot was fired at the floating batteries of the Spanish forces.[7] At that time, the main sea defences consisted on the North, Montagu, Orange, King's and South bastions, with the line wall curtain connecting these positions.[8]

In 1841 General Sir John Jones assessed the defences at Gibraltar and made recommendations for improvements that set the pattern for many years. This included building new white ashlar limestone walls along the Line Wall, which was straightened and in some places relocated to make room for new artillery batteries.[9]