The rich history of the Grand Harbour is testimony to its strategic importance over past centuries. It boasts an impressive industrial heritage which in many instances has not been valued but which today presents opportunities for regeneration.
The Malta Group of Professional Engineering Institutions (MGPEI) has teamed up with the Industrial Heritage Platform at the University of Malta to organise an Industrial Heritage boat-tour of the Grand Harbour during September 2020.
The MGPEI represents locally three of the leading British Engineering Institutions: The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). The MGPEI organises monthly seminars to promote the latest developments in engineering and during the past few years has also launched initiatives for a wider appreciation of the rich Industrial Engineering Heritage in the Maltese Islands.
Before the advent of the Freeport at Marsaxlokk, the Grand Harbour was not only home to the Mediterranean fleet of the Royal Navy, but also the entry and exit point for Malta's imports and exports. This commercial activity as well as maritime and engineering activities such the Dockyard, the Power Stations, etc make of the Grand Harbour, like of any great harbour, a rich source of industrial heritage. Men and women have toiled here to earn a living and in many places, there remains evidence of their activities.
The aim of the tour was not only to highlight the glorious history of this magnificent harbour but also to appreciate its industrial heritage. To quote UNESCO, these are the 'Guardians of the past, they testify to the ordeals and exploits of those who worked in them. Industrial sites are important milestones in the history of humanity, marking humankind's dual power of destruction and creation that engenders both nuisances and progress. They embody the hope of a better life, and the ever-greater power over matter.'
The tour of the Industrial Heritage of the Grand Harbour was led by Professor Ing. Robert Ghirlando, Coordinator of the Industrial Heritage Platform at the University of Malta. The event was coordinated by Prof. Ruben Paul Borg, Chairman of the MGPEI and Malta Representative of the Institution of Civil Engineers, who is also a member of the Industrial Heritage Platform at the University of Malta.
Further information on the MGPEI can be obtained from the group Hon. Secretary Dr Stefania Cristina. For further information on the Industrial Heritage Platform contact the Chairman of the Platform, Dr Daniel Vella.