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Museum clock tower gets new bells

The historic clock tower of the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa has got a 'new' set of bells.

The bells were formally commissioned and blessed at a ceremony this afternoon headed by the Prime Minister. They replace old, damaged bells which are now on display in the museum.

Dr Gonzi said the restoration of the clock tower dovetailed with the various restoration projects by the government which had given new life to the Cottonera area, including the yacht marina, the Dock 1 redevelopment and the cruise liner berth in Senglea.

The clock in the Maritime Museum clock tower dates back to 1810, having originally been installed in a turret in the Dock 1 area.

The clock tower at the Maritime Museum - originally the Naval Bakery - was built between 1840 and 1845, making it the oldest British-built clock tower in Malta. The Dock 1 clock, with three faces, was then installed inside it and could be seen from many parts of Grand Harbour.

The clock was damaged by bombing in the second world war. The building was abandoned when the British services left Malta in 1979 and only came back into use in 1988.

The clock stopped working in 2006 and the bells were removed, for safety reason. Repairing them was deemed impractical.

The new set of three bells were bought from a church in Prittlewell in the UK. They came from the same foundry which produced the original bells. The bells were cast between 1872 and 1895. They were delivered in October 2010 and subsequently cleaned.

The clock should be back in operation, with the pealing of the bells this year, just over 200 years after the original commissioning.

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