25 Oct 2013

Bighi Restoration Centre

 Claire Caruana (Form 3 Sempreviva)

On Friday 25th October, a group of History, Art, and Chemistry Form 3 Option students visited Bighi Restoration Centre in Kalkara.  The place, which originally was a villa, was built during the time of the Order of St.John by Fra Giovanni Bichi.  It was planned by Lorenzo Cafa, the same engineer that designed Gozo’s Cathedral Church.  It’s original reason d’etre was to serve as a  retirement place for Fra Bichi.  Unfortunately he died, so he couldn’t make use of it.  During the British period the place was redesigned and enlarged and it started to be used as a naval hospital for those British soldiers that fought in the Mediterranean.  It was from here that the place started to be called Bighi.  Since it is very close to the Grand Harbour, the place could be easily used to transport the wounded soldiers from the sea vessels to the hospital as quickly as possible.  It closed its doors in 1970.  From then on the place was converted into a Trade School and a Secondary School.  Later Bighi was taken over by our cultural superintendent Heritage Malta and it was converted into a Restoration Centre.  There one can find various restoration projects on paper, cloth, works of art, and stone. A number of students follow a wide range of restoration courses.  

We arrived at around 10a.m..  A video presentation was set as an introduction to this visit.  Later on a local guide engaged us on a number of hands-on-activities so that we could understand some of the basic courses of the resident students.  The visit came to an end at around noon.                 

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