Pictured above: HSBC Malta CEO Mark Watkinson (right) presenting the sponsorship to the Minister for Gozo Dr Anton Refalo in the presence of Permanent Secretary John Borg.
The external structure of one of Gozo’s finest baroque buildings, the Banca Giuratale, situated in Independence Square in Rabat Gozo also known as It-Tokk, is currently undergoing meticulous restoration works sponsored by HSBC Malta Foundation. The works are expected to be completed by the end of this year (2014).
During an onsite visit today, HSBC Bank Malta CEO Mark Watkinson presented the sponsorship to the Minister for Gozo Dr Anton Refalo.
The works on this unique baroque building in Gozo, which used to house Gozo’s local government, include the removal of all superfluous cables and fixtures attached to the façade, the removal of cement based rendering, the cleaning of the façade, the replacement of damaged stone blocks and decorative cornice, the maintenance of timber apertures, and waterproofing of the Banca Giuratale’s roof.
Minister Refalo thanked HSBC Malta Foundation for their generous sponsorship. “I am grateful towards HSBC for understanding and appreciating the importance of this historical and prominent building, serving as a splendid backdrop to important events that take place in Gozo. Through the Foundation’s sponsorship, the Banca Giuratale will regain its original glory.”
Mr Watkinson said: “HSBC Malta Foundation, set up to support such worthwhile initiatives that, among other, lead to greater cultural appreciation of what Malta has to offer, believes that the imposing Banca Giuratale is a unique historical building that deserves to regain its full splendour. Strategically situated in the middle of Gozo’s main square, the restored building will be admired by all Maltese and foreigners for many generations.”
Built on the site of an earlier structure which was the seat of the local government of Gozo known as the ‘Universitas’, the Banca Giuratale was constructed on the design of the French military engineer Charles Françoise de Mondion (1681-1733) who was responsible for the building of most of Malta’s finest buildings and fortifications fabricated during the reign of Grand Master De Vilhena. The original building consisted of an oblong structure on two storeys surmounted by the coat of arms of the Order of St John and Grand Master Antonio Manuel de Vilhena as well as that of the Gozo Universitas.
Following the abolishment of the Universitas during the early years of British rule, the building started being used for different purposes. Due to the limited space of the building, in 1868 a semi-circular extension designed by Giovanni Bonello was added to the building giving it the appearance that it has today. The original facade can still be seen on the inside of the building.
The Banca Giuratale housed several different entities including the Police, the Notarial Archives, the General Post Office, the Gozo Civic Council and the Department of Agriculture. Today it is the seat of the Victoria Local Council and houses also the offices of the Culture and Information Sections of the Ministry for Gozo.