Malta’s reliance on the importance of its seas is no understatement. Throughout the vast history, her harbours have always been a lifeblood. One stands out above all, the Grand Harbour. A waterway offering shelter and services shared between Valletta and the three cities. The knights of Malta built an infrastructure that served their navy and their interest greatly. With the incoming of the British Royal Fleet, the demand for more modern facilities saw an overhaul, dragging the harbour and its amenities in the forefront of maritime engineering. In the 1840s, British architect William Scamp was commisioned by the Admiralty to construct what would later be known as, Dock 1.
This area in Bormla was perfectly sheltered between the two peninsulas of Birgu and Isla offering natural harbour to any vessel making it easier to build the drydock. This construction left an indelible mark on the community of Bormla, cutting their only access to the sea once and for all, but soon provided them with new plenty of work, shaping their character in this a first step to constructing one of the most productive and advanced dockyards in the British Empire.