St Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral, Valletta
The prominent St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral is a universally recognised Valletta landmark, especially to those approaching Malta from the sea, being an iconic element in Valletta’s skyline, due to its needle-pointed spire. Situated in Independence Square, the cathedral was commissioned by Queen Adelaide in the 19th century, upon discovering there was no place for Anglican worship on the islands. Thus far, Anglican services were held in a room in the Grand Master’s Palace and this proved to be insufficient as the vast majority of English residents were unable to worship together.
The Foundation stone was laid in 1839 at the site of the former Auberge d’Allemagne, with the original building designed by Richard Lankasheer proving to be unstable. This resulted in works being restarted in 1841 with fresh designs by William Scamp.
Despite the heavy bombings in Valletta during the Second World War, and the cathedral’s prominent position in the capital, it managed to escape serious damage during the 1941-1942 air raids. The war resulted in the glass windows having to be completely replaced, and further repairs were also necessary, including transforming the west wing into a choir by building a new stone screen across the nave.
The building’s Undercroft was not in use for over 80 years. Solidly constructed from the former basement of the Auberge d’Allemagne, it was opened on Easter Day in 1928 by the bishop, to be used as a church hall, and in 1938 it was made into a gas proof air raid shelter, housing the chaplain, his wife, and scores of Maltese citizens. The Undercroft was restored and upgraded in 2005.