Della Grazie Battery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Della Grazie Battery
Il-Batterija tal-Grazzja
Xgħajra, Malta
Right hand ditch.JPG
Right hand ditch of the battery
Coordinates35°53′9″N 14°32′58″E / 35.88583°N 14.54944°E / 35.88583; 14.54944
TypePolygonal artillery battery
Area28,400 m2 (306,000 sq ft)[1]
Site information
Controlled byXgħajra Local Council
Open to
the public
No
ConditionIntact but dilapidated
Site history
Built1888–1893
Built byBritish Empire
In use1893–1910
1940s
MaterialsLimestone
Battles/warsWorld War II

Della Grazie Battery (Maltese: Il-Batterija tal-Grazzja), also known as Xgħajra Battery (Maltese: Il-Batterija tax-Xgħajra), is an artillery battery in Xgħajra, Malta. It was built by the British between 1888 and 1893. The battery stands above the shore to the east of Grand Harbour, between Fort Saint Rocco and Fort Saint Leonardo. It is currently in a dilapidated state, and part of the battery is used as the town hall for Xgħajra.

History[edit]

Construction of the battery started in October 1888 and was completed in March 1893, at a cost of £16,344. It was constructed to take advantage of the improved breech loading guns then coming into service. It was equipped with two 6 inch and two 10 inch breech loading guns in disappearing mounts.

The installation takes the form of a polygonal fort, irregular hexagonal in plan, with two caponiers defending the forward ditches. Access to the fort is via a gatehouse and causeway across the rear ditch.

The battery takes its name from the much earlier Wignacourt tower, the Santa Maria delle Grazie Tower that stood close to the present battery. The tower was demolished to clear the field of fire of the present battery.

The battery was abandoned in 1910 and its guns were removed.[2] However, in World War II the battery was used as a coastal defence search light battery. At this time some structures were added to accommodate the searchlights.[3]

Present day[edit]

The battery is now under the care of the Xgħajra Local Council. Part of the battery serves as the town hall for the locality,[4] while the rest of the battery was partially restored in collaboration with Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna. It was planned that the battery will be opened to the public and form the focal point for a public space, Battery Park.[3] The battery is currently in a dilapidated state, with most of its outer revetment walls having collapsed into the ditch.[5]

In 2015, the battery was shortlisted as a possible site for the campus of the proposed American University of Malta. It was not chosen, and the campus is to be split up between Dock No. 1 in Cospicua and Żonqor Point in Marsaskala.[6]

Gallery[edit]

The gallery below shows views on an anti-clockwise tour of the exterior of the fort. The rear section of the left hand ditch and the right half or the rear ditch are private property and inaccessible to photograph.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The American University of Malta - Preliminary Alternative Sites Evaluation Report" (PDF). Office of the Prime Minister. August 2015. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 November 2015.
  2. ^ Forrest, Michael. "Della Grazie Battery 1888-1893". Victorian Forts and Artillery. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b "General Xghajra History". Xgħajra Local Council. Archived from the original on 2008-03-24.
  4. ^ "Contact Us". Xgħajra Local Council. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014.
  5. ^ Carabott, Sarah (29 August 2016). "Forts under attack from neglect and vandalism". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 30 August 2016.
  6. ^ "'American' University to occupy Dock 1 buildings and reduced Zonqor site". Times of Malta. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.

Further reading[edit]