A bomb or shell dropped on Malta during the Second World War struck the tower of the Anglican cathedral and “in all likelihood affected the structural integrity of the tower and spire”, the Diocese in Europe said. Both will be “painstakingly repaired and restored” as part of major restoration project planned for the 175-year-old building which is a dominant feature of the Valetta skyline.
The Cathedral is situated at the epicentre of the Maltese government’s regeneration plans for the West flank of Valletta between Lower Fort St Elmo and Mattia Preti Square. Major regeneration work will also include the restoration of the roof and ceiling to its former Victorian glory, the timber structure inside the tower, installation of disabled access to the church and Undercroft, as well as several ecological environmental improvements.
Efforts to raise the estimated €3 million Euro (approximately £2.69 million GBP) cost of restoration has progressed to the extent that internal scaffolding will be installed in the the tower in late-summer and safety hoarding will be put in place shortly. Meanwhile, the external scaffolding around the tower will be erected early next year. The congregation plan to mark the building’s 175th anniversary in November next year.
“The project to restore the Cathedral aims to contribute significantly to the regeneration of the area by turning it into a thriving and attractive communal and tourism centre,” Martin Scicluna, the Co-Chairman of the Save Valletta Skyline Appeal, said. “It seeks to be the social hub not just for the Cathedral’s congregation, but also for the local community, related groups and third party users for a range of activities from musical concerts to meetings and exhibitions, lectures and seminars.”
The Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of European has deteriorated dramatically in recent years. Various interventions have taken place to repair the roof, but urgent restoration is now required, while the new structure will also re-establish the authenticity of the roof assembly to bring it closer to its former historical state.
A recent fund raising event saw nearly 200 people from Malta, Europe and the UK attend a Skyline Ball in Palazzo Parisio’s gardens in Naxxar. The dinner, an auction and an anonymous donation saw around €32,700 raised for the appeal.