Woah! Check out these vintage shots of the Victoria Lines being built in the 1800s
The Victoria Lines in Mosta are possibly one of the most popular spots to head to for a lovely hike with many adventurers stopping to snap beautiful shots of the surroundings. Having said that, have you ever stopped and wondered how such an extensive line of fortifications was actually built?
The Friends of The Victoria Lines Trail shared some interesting information and incredible photographs of the construction process which has served as quite the history lesson.
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“The Victoria Lines were designed by the Royal Engineers, who were also responsible for supervising their construction. The Corps of Royal Engineers, commonly known as the Sappers, is a branch of the British Army providing military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.”
Records show that in 1895 (the start of the construction), three Royal Engineers companies were based in Malta – a total of 329 men. One of these companies was the number 24 company. The below photos, taken in 1899 (the year of the infantry wall’s completion according to records) show the complement of the number 24 company posing for a group photo “after having built a temporary bridge alongside the Valletta bastions. In 1899, this company consisted of 79 men.”
“In most cases the relevant works for the construction of the Victoria Lines infantry wall (1895 - 1899) were tendered out, under the supervision of the Royal Engineers, to local contractors employing local craftsmen and labourers. There were no trucks and cranes to be used but only donkeys or mules, wooden ladders and manually operated hoists. The task was very much a function of the physical strength of the workmen and of their expert craftsmanship.” We can only imagine!
“A few of these anonymous workmen can be discerned in the margin of some of the photos taken during the construction works; which photos were then filed as part of the official Record Plan of the Victoria Lines (compiled in 1901). We know next to nothing about these humble workmen but their craftsmanship lives on in those stretches of the Victoria Lines which they helped to build and which we can still admire today.”
We can only imagine what it was like to build such fortifications!