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Mtarfa’s old naval hospital to get new lease on life as an international school
The former-naval hospital has been standing since the late-19th century

Jillian Mallia

The old military hospital in Mtarfa is set to be turned into an international school after Parliament’s National Audit Committee approved a concession to transfer the property over to private company Haileybury Malta Ltd.

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The school will reportedly cater mostly for children of expats who are living and working on our islands. The concession resulted in Haileybury Malta Ltd being given permission to run the hospital as a school for 40 years.

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The renovation

According to the Education Ministry, Haileybury will be investing more than €15 million into the renovation and thorough rehabilitation of the former naval hospital. And this won’t be the private company’s first rodeo, as it already operates schools of the sort in Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom.

Operations are expected to begin in September 2021 and the school intends to have a total of 580 students attending at primary and secondary levels. The company have also reportedly said that the school may eventually also offer kindergarten and sixth form facilities.

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The military hospital

First occupied in 1896, the small hospital consisted of 42 beds and was built in conjunction with the nearby barracks, as noted by the Malta RAMC. It was initially used for minor cases among troops stationed in the area and at the nearby Fort Bingemma. Serious cases, however, were transferred to the Station Hospital in Valletta.

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The hospital was expanded in 1904 and was recommended to be one reserved for women and children, while men were to be treated at the new Central Hospital. Later, in 1911, land was purchased to erect a new Central Hospital in the area.

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The Mtarfa military hospital was occupied by 30 members the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in  June 1920. After all regimental hospitals closed their doors, the Station Hospital at Mtarfa became the only army hospital in Malta. The site is on high ground, had transport links to Valletta and the adjacent barracks provided accommodation for members of the RAMC.

Years later, in 1967, the decision was taken to move the naval hospital from Bighi to Mtarfa, and the hospital began to be rebuilt and improved with modern facilities in 1969. It was formally opened in October 1970 by Lady Dorman, wife of the then-Governor General Sir Maurice Dorman.

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Nowadays

The former hospital was converted into a state secondary school named after local scientist Sir Temi Zammit, part of St Nicholas College. The hospital is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

What do you think of the renovation project?

11th July 2019


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

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