The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Preservation of war shelter in St Anne Square in Floriana

Sunday, 22 May 2022, 10:12 Last update: about 2 months ago

Recently, the Floriana Senior Citizens held a photo exhibition at its premises to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Floriana Blitz on St Publius church, which took place on 28 April 1942. Most of the photographic material on display was made available through the assistance provided by the National War Museum.

The main attraction of the event was a map of Floriana, which showed the presence of WWII shelters scattered within the limits of Floriana. I was particularly struck by a centrally located refuge in St Anne Square, very close to where the Lion Fountain, originally built by Grand Master Antonio Manoel De Vilhena (1721-1736) was erected, before WWII. The shelter seems quite extensive and it spans across the whole width of St Anne Square. Being centrally located, the shelter was well attended during the hostilities of the war, because St Anne Street was more residential and commercially popular than it is today.


In view of the proposed project earmarked for St Anne Street to convert it as a pedestrian zone, which I believe should be discussed further, I urge the authorities that before taking a decision, a thorough study should be carried out so that the shelter will not be in any way compromised. It should be preserved, rehabilitated and eventually open to the public. Strangely enough, although the presence of WWII shelters in Floriana is abundant, there is not a single one which is available for public viewing. This, in my opinion is very anachronistic, and Floriana, being one of the cities most bombarded during WWII should have at least one refuge which should serve as a memory of all those who endured the terrible experiences of the war period. This shelter could be one of the public features of attraction included in the St Anne Street project.


Publio Agius


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