The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

Delimara Lighthouse

Malta Independent Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

This continued teamwork with Din l-Art Helwa also proves the Authority’s long standing commitment to ensure the safeguarding of Malta’s historical heritage especially towards monuments that are directly linked to Malta’s maritime legacy.

This 19th century landmark was constructed by the British Authorities shortly after the building of the Ta’ Giordan lighthouse in Gozo. The need for a new lighthouse at Delimara point was felt around 1850 and actual construction works commenced in 1854 under Governor O’Ferrall as indicated in the first plans of the lighthouse.

The Delimara Lighthouse, completed a year later, has long been a beacon to all merchant shipping in the vicinity especially at night-time. It also served as a landmark of British architecture in the southernmost tip of Malta. The lighthouse guardian reported all maritime traffic approaching Malta.

Until 1896, the Lighthouse boasted of a static Red Lantern but this was then replaced by a more powerful gasoline lamp, operated by a hand-wound mechanism which produced beams of alternating red and white light flashing at intervals of 30 seconds. Its arc of visibility ranged from a bearing of 19 to 295 degrees up to a range of 19 nautical miles.

The restoration of the lighthouse was a challenge owing to the high elevation of the lantern and frequent strong winds on the exposed peninsula. It also involved the removal of later structures which detracted from the architecture of the building. Further studies were required as to which parts should be retained, and what needed to be replaced.

The restoration is being carried out in two phases. Firstly, the entire fabric of the lighthouse is being restored, including damage to the walls, timber apertures, roof and the lantern tower. All are in a moderate state of conservation but needed general maintenance and restoration work for the preservation of this historic monument and to make it accessible to the general public. The first phase has recently been completed.

Works to be incorporated in phase two will be dependent on extensive research regarding the lantern machinery and the difficult restoration of the light mechanism most of which is still intact and in place.

Din l-Art Helwa is trying to increase membership. Be a guardian of Malta’s heritage by becoming a member. For more details send an e-mail to [email protected] indicating your name and forwarding address, or visit our website www.dinlarthelwa.org.

Mr Rizzo is the Hon. Treasurer of Din l-Art Helwa.

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