The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Vittoriosa Clock tower to be rebuilt to its former glory

Malta Independent Monday, 25 June 2007, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

A full development permit has recently been submitted to reconstruct the Vittoriosa clock tower.

Archaeological excavations in Victory Square carried out by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage had in 2004 unearthed what appeared to be the remains of the foundations of the tower, also known as it-torri ta’ l-arlogg tal-Birgu.

Vittoriosa mayor John Boxall explained that the previous local council had approved the decision to reconstruct the clock tower.

He said that at a local council meeting held in April, the current council unanimously reconfirmed the previous decision.

The archaeological project at Victory Square is the result of a close collaboration between the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the Cottonera Rehabilitation Committee and the Vittoriosa local council.

Mr Boxall said the outline development application was approved by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa).

The application for the full development was submitted to Mepa two weeks ago by Valletta Rehabilitation Project coordinator Ray Bondin.

He said that there seemed to be a general consensus among the Vittoriosa population, though some people claimed to be sceptical about the project.

The 16-century clock tower was an imposing structure that dominated Victory Square. It rose higher than all the houses and other buildings, and offered a complete view of the Grand Harbour, the entrance of the harbour, including the breakwater, and the two forts, Fort St Elmo and Fort Ricasoli.

The tower was a five-storey building, 40 metres high, with four sides measuring six metres each and quadrilateral in shape. The five storeys were all of different heights, but the middle one was higher than the others. A balcony that had a wooden handrail that rested on large strong corbels surrounded the fourth storey. Every side had a constructed door but only one of them was kept open for use while the others were unused and blocked when the clock was installed many years later.

In 1572, when the Knights of St John left Vittoriosa to settle in Valletta, this tower was sold to private owners, with the money raised from the sale going to fund the building of the new capital.

The clock tower was destroyed when it was hit by a World War II bomb in 1942, the remains collapsing a few days later. After another section was hit a few weeks later, it was decided to remove the remains.

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