Steady… and at the contractor’s go, a handful of workers put their hands to pick and shovel, and started to move the tons of soil, lose building stones and debris towards the hydraulic carriers awaiting to carry it to the huge trucks sitting in St George’s Square.Not a long way but tortuous for the constricted space the bobcat had to move around and for the narrowness of the short distance from the museum site to the south-eastern access to the square.
As expected, actual work on the site of the forthcoming museum started on Tuesday, August 30, 2010, at exactly 7.00am.Besides the contractor Anthony Vella and his crew, Mgr Joseph Farrugia, the project coordinator, was at the place of work, soon to be joined by Antoine Vassallo, the project leader.
The contractor’s crew handling the excavation was headed by his son Richard Vella and consisted of people who are dear to us from the time of previous building works; they included Toni, Paschal and Joseph.Francis Micallef, sub-contracted to dig up and carry the excavation material to the awaiting lorries, was assisted by Rueben; both of them also well known to us from the time of the Parish Centre project.
By 8.30am, the area surrounding the museum site was a hub of very noisy activity.A gusty wind blowing from the north gathered strength as it hit through the tight area leading to Charity Street, and the doors of church and shops had to be kept tightly closed to keep the fine powder from invading the inside.People scuttled, as they usually do, through this arterial area, patiently awaiting safety instructions to walk through workers and machinery, while the patrons sitting by the square cafeterias, looked on, hands over mouth, as they sipped from their cappuccino cups or beer tumblers.
Many members of the Museum Project Working Group were on site to follow this initial phase of work.A little before 9.00am they were joined by Archpriest Mgr Pawlu Cardona who spoke with the project leader and coordinator as well as with architect Saviour Micallef.Mgr Cardona manifested active interest in what was taking place.He is kept constantly abreast of what takes place and is always on hand to help out where necessary, occasionally also attending Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria meetings.
Excavation work continued uninterrupted throughout the first day and no less than ten huge lorries drove out of St George’s Square to the designated dumping area filled up with excavated material.
Besides the hard work involved, the first day was not without its difficulties, but they were overcome with help coming from everywhere, including the town mayor Dr Samuel Azzopardi.Mgr Farrugia remained on site throughout the day, on hand for unforeseen difficulties and requirements, with his tiny camera in hand to keep a record of the evolution of the project.Antoine Vassallo could be seen taking for official purposes and Francesco Pio Attard for this website and the parish archives.
The first day ended quite late, with the sun setting on a tired crew and an excited parish, happy with a day that had been long awaited and in whose conclusion much is anticipated.
Last to be heard was the voice of the contactor, wishing the onlookers goodnight and “see you again tomorrow”!