Start time: 1200 hours (weather permitting)
Since the capture of the Rock in 1704, the Keys of Gibraltar have symbolised the possession of the Fortress by Great Britain. The Keys have come to be regarded as the seals of office of the Governor and as such are handed over from one Governor to the next.
During the Great Siege (1779-1783) the Governor, General Elliot wore the keys at his belt constantly except when he handed them to the Port Sergeant. As the Sunset Gun was fired, the Port Sergeant, accompanied by an armed escort, would lock the gates in the North Wall at Landport, Waterport and Chatham Wicket. The keys would be returned to the Governor. The following morning the Port Sergeant would collect the keys again, reopen the gates and hand back the keys to the Governor for safe keeping.
After peace was restored in 1783, drums and fifes accompanied the Port Sergeant and his escort to warn aliens to leave the Rock before the gates were closed. This procedure was carried out each evening without interruption for approximately 140 years until discontinued some time after the First World War.
Every Saturday morning a group of dedicated volunteers parade down the Main Street in period costume reviving this ceremony of the keys, a colourful event which adds flavour to the bustle in town on Saturday mornings.
|From||06th Jan , 12:00pm|
|To||29th Dec , 1:00pm|