Before the grandeur and splendour of the Citta’ Umilissima (Valletta) was constructed, the Knights of Malta had Birgu. A maritime stronghold on a peninsula flanked by high bastions, cavaliers, horn works and counterguards defending approaches from Kalkara Creek and its landward side.
These fortifications saved the city during the siege of 1565 and earned her the name of Vittoriosa. Defending these stretches of curtains needed well equipped soldiers and militia, so the need for a depo to supply weaponry and armour was more than desired. It became crucial. With looming threats from the eastern Mediterranean, an armoury was constructed in the 1550s. A one-story building, taking up the entirety of the city block with doors on each side, and iron barred windows, the architecture reflects an important factor.
A secure building, but one that does not diminish speed and efficiency. Its construction highlights the necessity of such a station, to get people in, equipped and ready to face any oncoming opposition facing the cities formidable walls. Later in the post-siege period, a second level was constructed with vast wide vaulted halls accessible through plenty of doorways. With the arrival of the British Navy, the building was transformed into Naval Hospital only to be abandoned for Bighi in Kalkara a few decades later. Its most recent history changed its title among the residence of Birgu to the ‘Skola’ as it served as their public school throughout the post war years.