The Malta Independent 13 November 2018, Tuesday

White Tower restoration reaches its first anniversary goals

Wednesday, 8 August 2018, 11:18 Last update: about 4 months ago

Restoration and landscaping work carries on with alacrity at Torri l-Abjad (The White Tower) in a challenging project by Din l-Art Helwa to bring new life to this coastal watch tower which is a most visible landmark at the limits of Armier.   With the lead financial support of the HSBC Malta Foundation, Din l-Art Helwa teams, led by volunteer Martin Vella, have already accomplished several tasks which constitute important milestones for the project which celebrates its first anniversary this week.

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The work has been planned in stages and the first tasks undertaken were the demolition of the many illegal structures around the tower,  the elimination of the dividing wall in anold blockhouse, removal of inappropriate paint and cement covering the blockhouse and ground floor walls while new pointing of the same spaces has been undertaken.  Dangerous ceilings, many of which had collapsed, have been removed as well as old wiring, and new cables have been laid, while installation of new apertures has also been completed in the blockhouse.  Trees have been planted by HBSC volunteers to regenerate and landscape an area close-by at the bay of Daħlet ix Xmajjar.

An ambitious part of the project made possible with the support of Atlas Insurance  has been the restoration of the nearby ditch room which had to be first cleared of its overgrown vegetation and the removal and reconstruction of its partly collapsed ceiling, while new steel and wooden apertures have been installed on its interior and a complete new electrical installation completed.

Works on the artillery ditch and the environs of the ditch room have also been supported by the Ministry for Finance (Good Causes Fund) and the Ministry for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

This work is part of a three-year project for the reinstatement of the White Tower at Armier.  The objective is to bring new life to the tower so it can be used as an educational centre for culture and environment with a strong focus on marine and coastal awareness. Once the physical fabric has been restored, finance obtained from the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation will be used to fund the interactive educational and visitor experience programmes included within the tower blockhouse.

Torri l-Abjad at Armier is one of the 13 coastal watch towers still surviving which were built during the reign of Grand Master Martin de Redin. Over the following 300 years, the site was further developed for military uses by the Knights and by the British ArmedForces, given in private leases to various owners after which it fell into grave state of disrepair.  Restoration by Din l-Art Helwa began in earnest in 2017 after it was granted in a management agreement to the heritage NGO by the Mellieħa Local Council.

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