Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Malta Historical Society]. 6(1972)1(101-102)

GUZE' GALEA: Malta fl-Imgħoddi, Vol. I. Klabb Kotba Maltin, Lux Press, Malta, 1972, 102 pp., illus.

This is a collection of short essays about particular episodes, curiosi­ties, local traditions and historical buildings. The author simply wants to provide the reader with reminiscences of the past in order to he3p him build up the characteristics of bygone days.

Particular everyday events are brought back to life by references to the fishmonger and the Market, the reading of the bandi, the Maltese Regiments, the Maltese boat and the costumes of Maltese women. There are also brief descriptions of notable events such as the building of wind­mills, the Cottonera fortifications, the laying of the foundation stone of the Breakwater, the building of the Valletta New Market and the Duke of York's visit in 1901.

The essays are illustrated with reproductions of lithographs, paintings [p.102] and old photographs. But there are certain things which, one is sorry to state, should be corrected: the description of Putirjal Minn Ġewwa does not tally with the picture reproduced on which it is based (p. 9), nor does the one referring to Fuq l-lmtieġen (p. 62).

The contention that there were no windmills in Malta before the coming of the Hospitallers because they could draw the attention of cor­sairs, raises an eyebrow and causes some surprise. The statement that the Cottonera gate leading to Zabbar is St. Helen's Gate (p. 52) gives the impression that the author has mixed up the name of one of the gates of the Firenzuola Bastions with that of one of the Cottonera fortifications. St. Helen's Gate pierces the Firenzuola and leads the way to Zejtun. The Latin inscription is dated 1736 and says that the work was completed during the days of Grand Master Vilhena. One should also note that the British did not introduce the beating of drums to announce the reading of public notices or bandi.

It is earnestly hoped that these flaws would be corrected in order to make the publication really worth reading to revive the reminiscences of the 'good old days'.