The John Mackintosh Square is a quiet square just off the busy Main Street. It forms what might be seen as the administrative area of the city. The House of Assembly (where the Gibraltar Parliament meets) is on its eastern side and the City Hall to the west.
Originally known as Plaza Mayor (Main Square) during the Spanish period, in the 18th century this area was a parade ground and was used to hand out rations.
In the 19th century it was called Commercial Square and was the site of a flea market and public auctions.
It received its current name in 1940 in honour of John Mackintosh, a great philanthropist and benefactor of Gibraltar. However, it is more popularly know as The Piazza.
House of Assembly
The House of Assembly was built by public subscription in 1817 by the Exchange Committee as the Exchange and Commercial Library during the time of Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Don whose
bust overlooks Main Street. A bust of John Mackintosh, overlooks the square.
The Exchange Committee was the first prominent representative body of the civilian and business community in Gibraltar, pursuing civil rights and acting as a forum for petitions to the Governor.
The building became home to the Legislative Council in 1950 which was renamed the House of Assembly under the 1969 constitution. This in turn became the Gibraltar Parliament in 2006 who still meet in this building.
The City Hall was built in 1819 as a private residence by Aaron Cardozo,
a merchant, diplomat and friend of Nelson.
For a brief period it was occupied by Queen Victoria's son the Duke of Connaught, who as a young army officer was stationed in Gibraltar for six months.
Thus it became known as Connaught House.
It saw sold to the government in 1922 and became the offices of the newly formed City Council two years later.