The Eden Leisure Group, through the Maurice and Cettina De Cesare Foundation, will be financing a €60,000 project to restore the one-of-a-kind mechanical Guthrie Bridge at Fort Rinella in Kalkara.
Today, only a handful of mechanical bridges survive around the globe.
The ones that are still around are currently in an archaeological state of preservation and none of them are in working condition, but that’s all about to change.
The historic Guthrie Bridge at Fort Rinella is being restored to its last detail, making it the only functional example of a mechanical bridge in the world.
This includes all the iron, wood and masonry components, and its being restored using the exact same techniques as when originally made thanks to the insane amount of research that went into this whole project.
It will greatly add to the historic and touristic value of Fort Rinella which is already visited by many thousands of visitors and locals annually.
Designed by Mr. Guthrie and built by the British forces in 1869, its aim was to offer maximum security to the fort by isolating it from the mainland. The Guthrie Bridge remained in use until the 1920’s. At this point, this unique piece of engineering was sadly left to fall in disrepair and eventually removed.
The restoration of the bridge will take approximately 12 months to complete.
Ian De Cesare, Chairman of the Eden Leisure Group stated ‘This is the second large heritage project that the Eden Leisure Group have undertaken in the recent past, following the restoration of the 18th Century Organ at our Lady of Victories in Valletta last year. We have set up a foundation specifically to fund such projects. We believe it is our duty as good corporate citizens to help restore and maintain our culture and heritage and to give back to our country that has given us all so much.’ The Maurice and Cettina De Cesare Foundation is named after Mr. De Cesare’s parents.
The fort is curated by the non-governmental organization Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, under the charge of Mario Farrugia.
Mr Farrugia explains: ‘The restoration of the Guthrie Bridge has been a dream of ours for some 30 years, but as with all such projects, finding the financing is always a struggle. We are grateful to the Eden Leisure Group and the Maurice and Cettina De Cesare Foundation for stepping forward to support our national heritage, to bring back this historical gem for all to enjoy’.
The renovation works will be spearheaded by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna and monitored closely by the Eden Leisure Group.