Nurses’ Quarters


Malta was under British colonial rule for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. During this period, the British established several military hospitals and healthcare facilities across the island to care for their troops and local residents. The Nurses’ Quarters in Mtarfa was constructed during this time to house nursing staff responsible for patient care.

On 6 August 1914, the Royal Malta Artillery Hospital at Valletta and the Cottonera Military Hospital were shut in compliance with the Defence Scheme for Malta. Their staff and patients were transferred to the new Mtarfa Barrack Hospital which was set up in Blocks A, B, C and D. Mtarfa Officers mess was reserved for the nurses of the QAIMNS under Matron Miss Jane Hoadley RRC QAIMNS.

The Mtarfa Hospital, commissioned in 1912, was opened on the 29th June 1920, even though it had been in use for some time earlier. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Military Barracks with an adjoining Military Families’s Hospital were built on Mtarfa Hill. The hospital catering only for the families of the troops housed fifty patients. All the patients in the various military hospitals were transferred there and the military hospitals scattered around Malta were officially closed in the subsequent years. During the Second World War, the Mtarfa Hospital and barracks were reorganized as the 90th General Hospital and built up to accommodate a maximum of 1200 beds. An underground hospital was excavated under the military hospital. At the ends of hostilities, the 90th General Hospital was disbanded and reformed on peacetime footing as the David Bruce Military Hospital. This continued to serve the military troops, complimenting the Bighi Naval Hospital, until 1970. For the next eight years, the Mtarfa Hospital served the needs of the British military and naval personnel until its closure in 1978.

Malta played a pivotal role in World War II due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean. The island was heavily bombed during the war, and its healthcare facilities, including the Nurses’ Quarters, saw increased activity during this period as they provided care for the wounded.

Today, The Nurses’ Quarters in Mtarfa have been beautifully renovated and they house ‘Dar Kenn għal Saħħtek’ (Centre for the treatment of Obesity and Eating disorders) This is a residential, day care and out-patient facility, providing a holistic treatment of patients with eating disorders and weight behavioral problems.


Few people are aware that the earliest archaeological remains discovered in Mtarfa date back to the prehistoric bronze age. The mysterious cart ruts visible in one area of Mtarfa indicate that there was some prehistoric activity here. It’s also possible that a Bronze Age village once stood here.

There are also Punic tombs in the area, indicating the presence of a community in the area. Pottery discovered in one of these tombs is now on display at Valletta’s National Museum of Archaeology.

There was a temple dedicated to the goddess Prosperina during the Roman period, and its marble was reused in the decoration of various buildings.

Mtarfa was once inhabited by a farming community. Some of these rural structures, which have since been incorporated into the new town, retain traditional Maltese architectural features. The majority of the buildings within the village core, on the other hand, date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and adhere to the British architectural blueprint.

Connect - Comment - Subscribe