Containing as it does many of the finest books published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Garrison Library of Gibraltar is no ordinary services' library. Its founding was due to that perceptive Captain (later Colonel) John Drinkwater, author of one of the most famous histories of the Great Siege of Gibraltar which lasted from 1779–1783, the History of the late siege (Spilsbury, 1785). Having suffered from a lack of reading material during the siege, Colonel Drinkwater saw the need for a good circulating library and club as a means of saving the officers of the garrison from “having their minds enervated and vitiated by dissipitation”. His appeal for books, shortly after the seige, attracted nearly 500 gifts which enabled the library to open pending the arrival of the 674 volumes on order from London, there being no bookshop in Gibraltar at that time.
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