Historical & Cultural Society
The Historical and Cultural Society was founded in 1954, at a
time when Vittoriosa was still struggling to gain back its normal city
abruptly disturbed by the war some years earlier. Most
of the buildings still showed the
ravages of the air raids. As the
reconstruction progressed, it became apparent that the historical
the city and the quaint street layout was being insensitively ignored
planners; new flat solid blocks of houses were interposed among old
structures. Ancient historical palaces
which survived were being pulled down allegedly for better planning.
One example of an irretrievable loss was the capricious
demolition of the Siculo Norman Belfry that formed part of the Church
Annunciation. While the church and the
Domenican convent were indeed destroyed, the belfry survived the
intact. Nonetheless, despite the
protests and press campaign for its preservation by the Society and the
the planners proceeded to raze it to the ground on the pretext of
It was against this background that the Society was born.
The Society’s founders sought to heighten the pride of the people of
their city and to make a concerted appeal to the authorities for a
understanding and appreciation of the city’s unique history. Over the years, various appeals and
suggestions were made by the Society to the government of the day for
restoration and repair works.
In most cases the Society’s pleas were given a symathatic
response, one noticeable example being the rehabilitation of the
Palace and its inauguration as a museum in 1981. Another
important initiative of the Society,
undertaken with the full cooperation of the Collegiate Church of St
was the opening of the Vittoriosa
in 1990, housed in the Oratory of St Joseph.
In this project the Society found the magnanimous support of the
German Ambassador, HE Godfried Pagenstet, who became enamoured to the
historic traditions. Indeed at one
point, in collaboration with the Society, he staged the German Republic
festivities at Vittoriosa Square
adjacent to the site of the former Auberge d’Allemagne.
One of the Society’s early ideals, which has sadly never
materialized, was the rebuilding of the old Clock Tower in Vittoriosa
Square, a major landmark of the city. It received a direct hit during the war which
sliced it in two. The heap of stone was
left on site for a long time after the war in the hope that the tower
put back in place but this never happened and the stones were carted
away. Over the years the Society
requests to the government for its reconstruction.
During 2004 the Society marked its 50th
Anniversary by special events.