Over the past 20 years, restoration and conservation works has been ongoing to ensure that the neglected heritage buildings found on Manoel Island and Tigné Point be preserved for future generations.
Part of Malta’s rich history, the magnificent Fort Manoel, Fort Tigne, Tigné Barracks, the Garden Battery and a number of other heritage assets at Tigné Point and Manoel Island have been part of a vast project undertaken by MIDI plc, with an investment of over €21 million.
Two decades of intensive studies, planning and conservation works
These extensive restoration project actually kicked off in 2000, thereby spanning almost two decades of intensive studies, planning and conservation works by a team of experts, and making it one of the largest private restoration initiatives for local heritage ever carried out by a private company in Malta.
The laborious and intensive restoration of various important heritage sites began with the successful restoration of St Luke’s Garrison Chapel at Tigné. Simultaneously, a rehabilitation process began on Fort Manoel, which following the departure of the British was left in a state of neglect for many years and subsequently damaged by vandalism and neglect.
New life was also breathed into Couvre Porte, while the recently restored quadrangle is majestic in the space it offers, as are the parade ground, the arcade and the Polversita. Renovation works on the Chapel of St Anthony of Padua were also completed, since it was partly destroyed following a direct hit during World War II; works were also carried out on the counterscarps which form part of the outer fortifications of the Fort Manoel.
St George’s funerary chapel has also been meticulously restored. During the restoration process, two fragmented but original tombstones were found strewn inside the chapel and these have now been restored and mounted within. Interestingly, this ancient chapel formed part of the Lazzaretto quarantine hospital in Manoel Island, along with the recently restored cattle shed where livestock used to be kept in quarantine.
The plague hospital – which is of a much later construction – is situated west of the Lazzaretto. All that remains of this is the one-time superintendent’s house, later used as a customs house and an associated small chapel. Both structures will also be restored by MIDI plc.
Fort Tigné has also been restored to its former glory. Originally built in 1792 to the design of the Order of St John’s chief engineer, Stefano de Toussard, the objective of this fort was to strengthen this particular promontory against possible attacks from sea and land. The restoration project for this fort foresees the revitalisation of this unique 18th century edifice in order to house a number of cultural and commercial activities, as well as to restore and maximise accessibility to what was, until recently, an abandoned and derelict ruin.
Retaining, preserving and breathing new life into our heritage
MIDI’s restoration of The Garden Battery, which was constructed in 1894, was recognised for its outstanding restoration works during the fourteenth edition of the Architectural Heritage Awards, organised by Din l-Art Helwa. MIDI has retained and restored as much of the Garden Battery as possible, at the additional cost of €7 million.
The decision by MIDI to retain, preserve and breathe new life into the battery, while seamlessly incorporating it into the plans for the Tigne Point development, will now form part of a heritage trail which will link Fort Cambridge to Fort Tigne connecting to an uninterrupted pedestrian promenade around the Tigne Point peninsula, from Qui-Si-Sana to Tigne Seafront.
This content was supplied by MIDI plc