When Malta Dry Docks closed down in 2010, it marked the transition of a centuries-long industry in the Grand Harbour into private ownership. Tens of thousands of items from the Dockyard were subsequently deposited with the Malta Maritime Museum – personal items such as identification cards, deeds of apprenticeships, certificates and photographs, to objects that provide insights into day to day activities, including tools, ledgers, equipment manuals, ship plans, signs, and punch clocks.
A rich social history lies among the commercial documents of the dockyard industry in Malta, all of which is being catalogued and digitised by the Malta Maritime Museum and Digitisation Department. Beyond the archival aspects of documenting this enormous physical collection, the Digitisation Department are also interviewing scores of ex-dockyard workers in order to create an oral history of the site. Workers from all departments are contributing memories of their work and stories of their lives at Malta Dry Docks, dating back to the Bailey period in the 1950s. The Digitisation Department are also recording a podcast series that documents the trades of the Malta Dry Docks. Together, these digitised objects and audio recordings will be incorporated into an engaging online virtual experience of the Dockyard that will allow visitors to learn more about the importance of the ship building and servicing industry in Malta.
Heritage Malta is looking for memories of ex-Dockyard Workers
If docks and tools could speak, what great stories they would tell of the fitters and the welders and the hundreds of other tradesmen that for years earned their living at the Malta Drydocks! Tales of hard work and diligence, of friendship and happiness, of colleagues who lost their lives together. The docks and the tools stand in silence, but the men who, day after day, closed their door at dawn, in the hope that their perilous workplace would let them reopen it at dusk... those men remember; those men speak. And Heritage Malta is making sure that their stories will be preserved forever. If you want to keep the memory of the Dockyard alive by recounting your own story, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org