In an article entitled ‘Houses in Kingsway* and Old Bakery Street, Valletta’ published in the Melita Historica – Journal of the Malta Historical Society, Vol 2 of November 1959, Victor F. Denaro wrote that :
At the corner of Kingsway (*) with St Nicholas Street we come to a very fine house known as the Palazzo De La Salle (Nos 217 – 219 Kingsway). This palace was bought for Sc. 11,700 from Comm. Fra Geronimo Basadonne by the Prior of Barletta, Fra Camillo Albertini (¹), who in 1684 commanded the galley S. Antonio (²). Prior Albertini died in the Convent on the 28 November 1712, without having disposed of his property, and the house and its dependencies then passed to the Treasury.
Grand Master Raymond Perellos Roccafull acquired the premises from the Treasury in 1713 (³), and wishing to show in a practical manner his affection for both the paternal and maternal sides of his family, donated the palace to his nephews the Marquis de Dosaguas, Don Gennaro Perellos and the Count d’ Albatera, Don Guglielmo Roccafull, Grandee of Spain, with the proviso that the Treasury was to allow the enjoyment of the house and its dependencies to those knights, descendants of the Marquis de Dosaguas and of the Count d’ Albatera, who presented themselves in Malta for service with the Order.
References (¹) – Libro Beni Stabili del Tesoro “B”, R.M.L., Treas. A. 1, fol 37 (original article reference is No 41) (²) – ROSSI, Ettore, Storia della Marina dell’ Ordine, S.E.A.L., Roma-Milano, 1926 p.150. (original article reference is No 42) (³) – Records of Notary Giuseppe Callus of 21 January, 1713 (original article reference is No 43)
PREMISES PREVIOUSLY OCCUPIED BY THE MSA
After 42 years from its foundations the MSA was still without premises, therefore every activity up to the year 1894, was limited or restricted as it depended on whether the right place could be made available. Governor Sir Arthur J. Lyon Freemantle (1893-1899) realised that it was essential for the MSA to have premises isuitable for an active organisation. With the sustained efforts of his Chief Secretary Gerald Strickland the Governor successfully concluded negotiations with the family heirs of Businessman Segond to concede that Palazzo Xara (opposite St John’s Con-Cathedral) be used by the MSA. The Governor and his Secretary were honoured for their efforts and were appointed Patron and Hon. President respectively. The 1896 Industrial Exhibition was the first activity taking place at Palazz Xara. This building was destroyed by enemy action during World War II.
Between 1904 and 1922 the MSA occupied premises at 76 Old Theatre Street, at 28 South Street, at 156 Christopher Street, all in Valletta. As stated above the MSA was finally given Palazzo de la Salle, 219 Republic Street Valletta to be used as its seat in 1923
Prime Minister Joseph Howard granted the use of Palazzo de la Salle to the society in 1923.
(*) Kingsway was named Republic Street in 1974