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Neo-Gothic Robert Samut Hall to be restored

1883 building was first to have electricity

The Planning Commission has granted planning permission for restoration works to be carried out on the facade of the Neo-Gothic Robert Sammut Hall building in Floriana.

The works will include the professional cleaning of the stone, saving the time-gained natural patina, removal of flaking paint, the replacement and reinstatement of deteriorated stone and the re-pointing and finishing of stonework where necessary, which will entail the removal of existing defective mortar joints, and repointing.

Two missing gargoyles – spouts designed with a grotesque face to convey rainwater away from the side of a building – will be have to be replaced.

The building, which when completed in 1883 served as a Protestant Church of worship was designed by architect Thomas Mullet Ellis. When inaugurated on March 18, 1883, the Floriana Wesleyan Methodist Church, became the first building in Malta to use the incandescent light bulb, or better still electricity. The building also houses a subterranean hall which during the Second World War accommodated British servicemen.

In 1975, the building was taken over by the Maltese government and was named after Robert Samut, the composer of the Maltese national anthem who hailed from Floriana. The hall serves as a centre for cultural activities.

The works will be carried out in accordance with an approved restoration method statement and monitored by the Planning Authority’s conservation officers. The restoration method statement has been endorsed by the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage.

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