Hello and good day to you.
For most of us Manoel Island has touched our lives during our time stationed [or visiting] Malta in some way or other. It could have been because our vessel was moored in Lazaretto Creek or Sliema Creek; that we visited the Gzira and Sliema water front areas; worked and lived on the Island particularly at HMS Phoenicia, the Base Supply Office [BSO], the Diving School etc; socialised there at either the Lido, the sports pitches or the Canteen; or just passed by when using Marsamxett Harbour generally heading for Pieta or Msida Creek. Whilst Marsamxett was always second to the grandeur of the busy Grand Harbour and Valetta/Three Cities, it was nevertheless a hive of industry and had, whatever one might say, the attraction of having Whitehall Mansions in its confines not to mention the diversity of naval life to all points of the compass.
A few weeks ago [July 2007] a gentleman called EDWARD SAID emailed me concerning my Malta web site. These are his contact details
Edward Said - e-mail email@example.com - who works for a company called - at this address [etc] triq forti manoel manoel island gzira gzr 03 malta tel: 21 335454 fax: 21 334558 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Edward tells me that "The restoration of Fort Manoel is part of regeneration project being carried out by MIDI plc of whom we are the architects. In other words they are financing the restorations". He has been kind enough to send me some pictures of that restoration work. In addition, he has sent me photographs of the Fort in 1935, before the Navy began to use it, showing boy scouts on the same bridge we used to cross to gain access to HMS Phoenicia.
Edward wants to know whether any of you who belong to the Lascaris Association has any information about Fort Manoel, specificially about the buildings within the Fort and their uses - Churches for example. He intends to compile a history of the Fort which will *compliment* the restored Fort and which will serve to tell the people of Malta and others who visit the Island of its history. So, if you have any plans of HMS Phoenicia [including the Lido], any photographs or any programmes which point to the use of the Fort, Edward and his company would be willing listeners. He points out that any such data will be attributed in the written history to the sender. Malta means a lot to us Lascaris'ites so please be generous in your time seeking out the data requested - it will be gratefully received. * This word could also be 'complement' if one considers that the restoration would not be complete without an added written history. As written, the meaning is that the history will be a subsequent event to the completed physical restoration and not an integral part of it.
Here are Edward's photographs:-
This panorama should be seen as such, so for those
of you with a modern computer and a 'fast' broadband connection,
a full picture which you can scroll through for more detail. Click on the jpeg until your scroll bars appear on screen.
They show, variously, pictures of the Victorian Bridge* into the Fort which was built in 1898; Boy Scouts of Malta on the bridge in 1935; the gun powder magazine known as the polverista; the remains of the old Chapel of St Anthony, and a panoramic view of Manoel Island taken from Valletta [in June 2007] showing ongoing restoration works at Fort Manoel.
* Rather than replacing old with new, the restorers have restored practically every component of the Victorian bridge and then put it back into place. They were very lucky to have found all the original blueprints which they consulted after being hidden away for over a century.
Wonderful memories but equally, wonderful to see this sensitive restoration to the Fort's former glory. Well done Malta.
My warmest regards to all.
Godfrey [Jeff] Dykes
P.S. You may recall that some time ago I animated the bridge into the Fort that we victualled members of HMS Phoenicia crossed a million or so times during our stay on the Island - here it is again.