Valletta – Dawn at Breakwater Bridge (Ref: pfm120133)

Posted in All Images, Building, Malta, Malta - Center, Portfolio, Sea, Sky, Sun, Wide Format, Wider Format

Dawn at Breakwater Bridge

Dawn at Breakwater Bridge


The first rays of dawn appearing behind the breakwater bridge in Valletta, with part of Fort St.Elmo showing towards the right of the photo.

The foundation stone of the breakwater in the Grand Harbour was laid by King Edward VII on the 20th April 1903 when Malta was under the British rule. Traditionally, in earlier times, the wide entrance to Grand Harbour was protected by a heavy chain which ran across the mouth of the harbour from Fort Saint Elmo to Fort Ricasoli, and which served to keep enemy ships out of harbour. However, by the turn of the twentieth century, better protection was deemed necessary by the British Admirality – not only from intruders and torpedo attacks, but also from the rough seas which could cause havoc within the harbour, especially when a strong North-Easterly wind Grigalata) was blowing. A strong wind blowing from this direction also made it very difficult for ships to negotiate the entrance to the harbour. In 1900, the British Admirality commissioned plans for the building of a new breakwater across the mouth of the harbour. Tenders were issued by 1902, with one of the conditions placed being that any artefacts found during the dredging of the sea-bed and its excavation be handed over to the Admirality.

The estimated cost at the time was to amount to £1,000,000. To avoid stagnation of the water inside Grand Harbour, the larger (West) arm of the breakwater – that is the one extending from Saint Elmo Point – was to be separated by 70 meters from the fore-shore by a steel foot-bridge. The planned two-span bridge would then enable anyone walking onto the breakwater from its Valletta side to reach the small light-house at the end of the arm. The tower on the St Elmo arms was to be 14m high, and was completed by 1908.

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