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The Crown Agents for the Colonies - Malta - Proposed Bomb-Proof Shelters
London: Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners,, January, 1940. Report by Sir Alexander Gibbs & Partners on a Scheme of Bomb-Proof Shelter Tunnels in Malta to accommodate 140,000 People, together with Estimates of Cost. Foolscap quarto (332 × 190 mm) Original grey cloth-backed printed boards. Letter-press title page, 24-page carbon typescript, large folding coloured linen-backed map, and 7 superbly detailed folding maps and plans with hand-colour. A little rubbed, boards browned and spotted, text lightly browned, some splits to the folds of the maps and plans professionally repaired. A remarkable document, the engineer's retained file copy - designated "SECRET", and docketed "Office Copy" - one of just three copies, a note to the first page of the text reads "Original/1 copy to Crown Agents 31/1/40". Neither of the other copies traced. A highly detailed, fully-costed proposal for the creation of a system of tunnel-form shelters under Malta, a report commissioned by the Crown Agents in December 1939, just three months after the outbreak of the war. The scheme sets out the creation of a system of shelters over three years, at a cost of £300,000, which would be sufficient for the protection of around 140,000 people, over half of Malta's population. But the reality was rather different, the then Governor Sir Charles Bonham-Carter, set out plans for a "large deep shelter programme" in June 1939; "Given the large population, and the absence of any really safe areas to which people could be evacuated, he took the view that the provision of shelters was the only responsible long-term solution to the problem of civilian protection. These proposals were approved by the Overseas Defence Committee on 12 July 1939 … but it was only shortly before the outbreak of the Italian War [June 1940] that a senior dockyard engineer … was recalled from leave in England to establish and manage a Shelter Construction Department within the Malta Administration … It seems fair to say … [that] not enough was done before the war to provide more shelter accommodation, and that progress to rectify this during wartime was then inevitably slow … It was fortunate for Malta that the heaviest German raids did not develop until 1942 by which time the deep shelter programme was much further advanced" (Austin, Malta and British Strategic Policy, p79).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2013-09-16           Check availability:      Biblio    


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