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History

 
The Notarial Archives in Malta are situated at number 2/3, Mikiel Anton Vassalli Street (formerly Scots Street) in Valletta and at number 24, Saint Christopher Street, Valletta. The first mentioned premises are the main archives. As a matter of interest, the setting up of the "Archivio Notarile" results from a Deed of Foundation in Manuscript Arch. 469 ff. 260r - 261r, National Library. (Acknowledgement is being made to Fr. George Aquilina O.F.M. who kindly supplied this information.)

The present set-up of the Notarial Archives and of the Office of the Notary to Government, under one head, came into existence on the 1st April 1922 when Notary Luigi Gauci was appointed Notary to Government and Keeper of the Notarial Archives, and the then Director of Public Registry ceased to be the Keeper. Further historical information can be gleaned from the Report of the Notary to Government for the year 1945-46. This report was drawn up by Notary Carmelo Farrugia and was published in the Malta Government Gazette supplement number XCV dated 17th September 1946. From this report it results that up to the year 1850 there were two repositories of Notarial Acts in Malta, one at Notabile and the other in Valletta. Proclamation number 1 of that year promulgated Ordinance II of 1849 which lay down that there was to be only one repository in Malta, namely in Valletta. Consequently, the records in Notabile were transferred to the upper floor of the Auberge D'Italie (which housed the Museum) in Valletta whilst the records of the old repository in the Public Registry were also moved to the Auberge D’Italie.

In August 1939, because of the rumblings of war, it was decided to remove all the original records from the upper floor of the Auberge D'Italie to safer places; some were transferred to the basement of the Auberge whilst the rest were stored in a basement at Saint Andrew's Street in Valletta underlying the house at 88, Britannia Street.

On the 28th February 1941, a bomb hit the house overlying the basement, at Saint Andrew's Street, and as no alternative site was found, the volumes were crammed in the basement at the Auberge D'Italie. In due course the Registers, that is, the copies of the original deeds, were removed from the upper floor of the Auberge to two rooms in the bastion walls at Mdina.

In Appendix A to another report for the year 1947/48, we find stated as follows: "On the 7th April, 1942, in the afternoon raid, the Museum Basement was demolished by enemy action. As I stated in my memorandum to Government of the 21st May, 1942, it would appear that the bomb entered through the Museum yard, reached the hall, exploded in the basement, destroyed one of the retaining walls of the hall together with all the roofs of the basement but it did not affect the ceiling of the top storey. As a result all the volumes stored in the basement were buried in the debris. Salvage operations were started on the next morning, the 8th April, 1942. On the afternoon of the 24th April, 1942, the place was bombed again and part of the roof of the upper storey together with part of the retaining wall was demolished. Thus the quantity of debris over the volumes was greatly increased and salvage operations rendered more difficult".

Eventually the Archives were transferred in December 1945, to the house at Saint Christopher Street, Valletta. These premises were vacated in the Sixties until structural reinforcements were effected. In the meantime the Archives were located in part at the Monte di Pieta` buildings and in part in a house in Strait Street, Valletta.

The earliest records in the Archives go back to the 15th century. Unfortunately there are a number of lacunae, attributable without doubt to the vicissitudes of the Archives in the last war and probably to other misfortunes in previous troubled times.


 Office of the Notary to Government and Notarial Archives
2/3, 
Mikiel Anton Vassalli Street 
Valletta, Malta
VLT 1310
 
 
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notarial.archives@gov.mt