Remember Borg’s grocery store in Sliema's Manwel Dimech Street? It’s up & running again!
Borg’s Colonial Grocery Store has always been a landmark and iconic piece of architecture in the heart of Sliema, with distinguishing red façade being hard to miss as you drive through Manwel Dimech Street. While it seems the store wasn’t being used as of late, it’s now up and running under new ownership! According to JP at Kappa Vision, Abdul, a Libyan local who has lived in Malta since 2003, is running the store.
As we wish Abdul the best of luck with his new business, we couldn’t help but wonder what origins this quaint store had. And according to a an extract from the Planning Authority’s booklet, ‘Unsung Architectural Icons of Malta,’ it seems that Borg’s store has quite the interesting history.
“The locality of Sliema was very popular with British Service personnel. In fact, the area only contained a small number of traditional buildings and some fortifications. But upon their arrival, the British set about building a number of villas with gardens.”
“Further British Services personnel and their households settled in this area and either built their own houses or rented existing ones. Such an increase in population increased demand for retail services and the shops in Sliema provided retail services mainly to the British Services and the garrison.”
The booklet notes that the original store, previously named L. Calleja & Co. Colonial Stores was established in 1900 in Cospicua. However, the enterprise later moved to Sliema. “Prior to WWII, it was sold to a local Borg family who changed the shop’s name to reflect its new ownership. The main character of the store is the eloquent shopfront design which was characteristic of late-Victorian and Edwardian colonial times.”
The younger generation would remember the store in its recent form: Moko tattoo parlour, which has since moved to a nearby location at 30, St. John the Baptist Street, Sliema. It’s wonderful to see a new version of Borg’s Grocery store up and running again. Congrats, Abdul!