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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL: CRIME, IMMORALITY, AND POLICING IN

VALLETTA, 1881-1914
Author(s): Paul Knepper
Source: Journal of Social History, Vol. 43, No. 2 (winter 2009), pp. 385-406
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20685392
Accessed: 20-05-2017 03:08 UTC

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SECTION III
CRIME AND POLICING
A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL: CRIME,
IMMORALITY, AND POLICING IN VALLETTA, 1881-1914
By Paul Knepper University of Sheffield
For the administrators of British colonies, dealing with crime amongst colo
nial populations presented a dilemma. On the one hand, the administration
of government in an imagined social entity that was the British Empire sug
gested the need for a uniform system of policing. Models imported from Eng
land would be extended to populations across the world as a means of bringing
the benefits of "civilization" and solving problems in colonial societies.1 On the
other hand, British administrators were far from convinced that English mod
els worked equally well across the continents. Perceptions of local populations,
shaped by imperial social attitudes, led to the idea that people differed in one
or more ways from English people, and called for improvisation. This was no
clearer than in India where British authorities "discovered" criminal tribes and
invented fingerprint identification as a means of surveillance.2
In Malta, the authorities encountered a society where criminal activity rarely
occurred. British travelers from the late eighteenth century throughout most of
the nineteenth century commented on the absence of crime. The Maltese were
understood to be reserved and hard-working, tempted by criminality only when
faced with the prospect of starvation owing to severe economic conditions. By
the late nineteenth century, however, Malta was thought to have developed a
crime problem. The problem occurred in Valletta, the capital, where drunken
ness, prostitution, and gambling jeopardized military and political ambitions.
Furthermore, it had become apparent that this was not an indigenous problem,
but rather had been provoked by the large number of British sailors and soldiers
in the city. While the British could, and did, see their own government as solving
Valletta's crime problem, it also became more difficult to avoid acknowledging
the British presence as the cause of the problem.
This essay reviews crime, immorality, and policing in Valletta during the last
decades of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth century. The dis
cussion examines the nature and scope of the city's "crime problem", the al
leged sources of the problem, and the solutions proposed to address it. Refer
ence is made throughout this discussion to the domestic English context which
informed authorities in Malta, although public immorality presented a concern
for different reasons in Valletta than cities in England. First, some background
about the city and crime and policing during the British period.

Valletta, Crime and Policing

Malta is a small island located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, north
of Tunisia, and about midway between Gibraltar and Jerusalem. From 1 530 until

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386 journal of social history winter 2009
1798, it was ruled by the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Pope Pius
IV gave the Knights permission to fortify Malta and provided financial support
for building a capital city. The Vatican dispatched its top civil engineer, and the
monarchs of Spain, Portugal and France sent cash and equipment. Grand Mas
ter Jean de la Valette chose a promontory rising steeply from the sea, and over
looking deep blue-water harbors on each side, Marsamxett and the Grand Har
bour. The Knights used the abundant local supply of honey-colored limestone
to build fortifications, aqueducts, palaces, plazas, churches, colonnades, hospi
tals and grand houses. The plans called for straight streets and regular blocks of
buildings, to enable defense against Moorish or Turkish invaders.3
Most of the buildings went up in the late sixteenth century. The Order of St
John drew its membership from the leading families of Europe, and each of the
nationalities built their own auberges or palaces. Italian and Spanish Knights
located their auberges inside Porta Reale (the city gate), the French knights
along Strada Reale (the main thoroughfare), and the German Knights chose
the north end, not far from the Jewish ghetto. Valette built his palace, in the
center of the city, and subsequent grand masters surrounded it with their own
projects. Grand Master la Cassiere built the great hospital of Sacra Infermia,
reputed to be the best in Europe during its first decades of service. He also built
the conventual Church of St John where the history of the Order would be
installed on hundreds of marble slabs in the floor laid in memory of Knights
who had fallen in their war against Islam. In the early seventeenth century,
the Ursoline nuns established their convent opposite the great hospital. In the
eighteenth century, Grand Master de Vilhena built the Manoel Theatre; when it
opened in 1731, it was only the third theatre in Europe. Also, in the eighteenth
century, Grand Master Pinto commissioned the university building and rebuilt
the Castellania palace. This building contained halls of justice, cells for prisoners
awaiting trial, and a chapel. The Great Prison, on Strada San Cristoforo, housed
Turkish slaves and those sentenced to the galleys. "The police indeed is much
better regulated than the neighbouring countries" remarked an English traveler
in 1773, "and assassinations and robberies are very uncommon; the last of which
the grandmaster punishes with utmost severity."4
Early in the nineteenth century, Britain decided to establish a permanent
naval presence in the Mediterranean. In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, while en
route to Egypt, had claimed Malta for France. French troops banished the Order
of St John from the island and declared the natives citizens of the republic. But
French forces ransacked Malta's churches for treasure and alienated the Maltese.
The Maltese forced out the French, and, to prevent Bonaparte's return, asked
the Royal Navy to intervene. Although Admiral Nelson did not see much of
strategic value in the island, British forces took possession in 1800, if only to
thwart French ambitions. The Grand Harbour became increasingly important
in circumventing Bonaparte's continental system, and Malta became in 1814 a
crown colony within the British Empire. The first British governor, Sir Thomas
Maitland, claimed property formerly held by the Knights for the British Crown.
The escutcheons of the Knights came down and the royal coat of arms went up.
For the most part, the colonial administration appropriated the buildings of the
Knights. The palace of the grand masters became the colonial governor's resi
dence. The Castellania became the law courts and gaol for those awaiting trial,

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 387
and the Great Prison, the place of confinement for those sentenced to imprison
ment. But, British civil engineers added several buildings to Valletta. Following
a visit to Malta in 1839, Queen Adelaide decided to finance the building of
a church for British residents. The gothic spires of St Paul's collegiate church
joined the landscape of sixteenth-century baroque. During the 1860s, the Royal
Opera House was built on Strada Reale, from plans prepared by Charles Barry,
best known for his Houses of Parliament in London.5
Crime, throughout most of the nineteenth century, was not seen as a prob
lem. Property crime did increase during the 1830s, but this occurred in the coun
tryside, not Valletta. In 1836, the Colonial Office dispatched John Austin and
George C. Lewis to Malta to carry out a royal enquiry into discontent with the
government. Their reports covered a catalog of issues including freedom of the
press, institutions of public education, and employment of Maltese in civil ser
vice posts. They prefaced their proposals concerning the police, appellate courts,
and prison with an abstract on the state of the poor. Austin and Lewis described
a system of tenant farming, with worsening conditions (due to the collapse of
the cotton trade), and as a consequence, an increase of thefts. They prepared de
tailed proposals for staffing and organization of the police force and coast guard,
and recommended redeployment of police from Valletta. The crime problem
took place in the countryside where there were few police and where gangs of
thieves kept victims from cooperating in prosecution efforts.6
Even then, visitors were led to comment on the absence of serious crime. In
his History of the British Possessions in the Mediterranean (1837), R. Montgomery
Martin observed: "In the criminal court it does not appear that there is much
business of a serious nature. The common offence is stealing and pilfering; but
there is a remarkable absence of all crimes of a very aggravated nature".7 Ab
sence of crime accorded with views of Maltese as hard-working, law-abiding, dis
ciplined people, particularly the women. To visitors, Maltese women appeared
much like nuns. Joseph Beldham, an English barrister, remarked on their "half
monastic" costume, the faldetta. Made of black silk, or coarser fabric for poorer
women, this cloak covered the entire body and partially veiled the face. All Mal
tese women wore this when in public, at least from the time of Knights when it
had been promulgated.8 In the late nineteenth century, the compiler of the cen
sus felt compelled, in remarks on the small number of women prisoners, to point
out: "The above number of prisoners is exceedingly small, naturally so because
Female criminals are very rare in Malta."9
The problem in Valletta, to the extent there was a problem, had to do with
beggars. "What interested me ... " Hans Christian Andersen said of visit to
Malta in 1840, "was the people-the half-veiled countrywomen, whose eyes
flashed behind the veil, the crowd of ragged beggars, and the many foreign sailors
who had hired horses and galloped by in their white hats."10 William Makepeace
Thackeray, who visited Malta in September 1844, described his reception in the
Grand Harbour by "little tubs in which some naked, tawny young beggars came
paddling up to the steamer". And, among the palaces, churches, and "London
shops" of Strada Reale, "professional beggars run shrieking after the stranger."11
By the early twentieth century, the police still complained about beggars. The
police report for 1904-5 mentions the "great number of street arabs" who "infest
the streets, causing trouble to police, anel a nuisance to the public."12

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388 journal of social history winter 2009
Generally, the British administration concerned itself with military and polit
ical objectives and could be surprisingly indifferent to domestic and local issues.
Crime prevention never really emerged as a priority. The authorities in Malta,
as in other colonies, took an interest in police organization to the extent that it
helped achieve a particular goal: order.'3 At the same time, Malta became too
important as a military base for the government to regard the Maltese as they
did other colonial populations. They did not want to repeat the French mistake.
They could not afford to alienate the people as any military defense of the island
would require their active support. The awareness of Malta as a "fortress colony"
informed decision making about wider issues, including immorality and crime.14
In 1849, Governor Richard More O'Ferrall carried out a reorganization of
the police, prompted by concerns about public order. The previous governor,
Patrick Stuart, had managed to create a political crisis out of domestic peace.
An adherent of the Church of Scotland, he had curtailed celebrations of the
traditional festa surrounding Ash Wednesday because the first day fell on Sunday.
When a crowd gathered under Stuart's window at the palace, he called on the
42nd Regiment to "disperse the mob" leading to some 28 arrests. He was replaced
by O'Ferrall, Malta's first Catholic governor. From the time he arrived, O'Ferrall
pursued a series of civic reforms including opening a civic hospital, a prison at
Corradino, village dispensaries, and a police modeled after "the English police
force". He reduced the number of officers, increased the number of constables,
and established a system of promotion to attract "a better class". He convinced
the Colonial Office to expand the number of police overall with the argument
that the population on the island was increasing and a large number of strangers
were coming to Malta given steam navigation.1
By 1881, Valletta had a population of about 24,000. There were 21 hotels and
lodging houses, 7 convents, 17 bakeries, 9 schools and colleges, 6 pharmacies,
2 theaters, 232 shops and 134 stores, in addition to an archaeological museum,
public library, and covered market.16 During the next few years, the city acquired
electric lights, railway service, and motorized buses. In 1882, the committee
charged with reviewing proposals to replace gas lamps for lighting the streets,
decided to delay agreement of a contract pending the outcome of experiments
underway in England, Europe and America for "a new lighting medium".'7 Ini
tial attempts to set up an electric power station failed, but by 1896, a functioning
electric light system began operation. In 1883, railway service began from Val
letta to Mdina, and the main railway station opened across from the Royal Opera
House near the Porta Reale. Motor ferry service also became available about this
time. The ferry provided cheap service, across the harbor (Marsamxett), be
tween Valletta and Sliema. In 1903, the Electric Tram Company opened three
lines connecting Valletta with Birkikara, the Three Cities, and Zebbug. "What
ever old Valletta may have been," Ralph Richardson remarked in 1906, "mod
ern Valletta has totally changed for the better." He described a fine stone city
with broad streets, excellent shops, comfortable hotels, and handsome houses
with "widely-spreading suburbs, electric tramways, motor-omnibuses and a gen
eral appearance of prosperity." The streets of the city were clean, well-kept, and
well-lighted; the population quiet, sober, well-dressed and industrious.iS Simi
larly, the Royal Commission on Finances, Economic Position and Judicial Pro
cedures (1912) envisioned Malta as a winter resort for Europeans who desired

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 389
health, pleasure and sunshine. "Valletta is the cleanest, and in situation and
architecture, one of the most beautiful, of the cities of the Mediterranean. "19

Drunkenness, Prostitution, and Gambling

Nevertheless, beginning in the 1880s, local observers identified a crime prob


lem of troubling dimensions. Valletta represented the site for an unsettling al
liance of immoral activities: drunkenness, prostitution, and gambling.
Concern focused on the population of sailors and soldiers. Crews of the Mediter
ranean Fleet numbered some 7,000 in 1891 and climbed to more than 10,000
in the years before the First World War.20 In 1911, there were 7653 officers and
men garrisoned in the city, including the Royal Garrison Artillery, Royal Engi
neers, 2nd Devonshire, and 2nd Somerset Light Infantry.21 Immorality acquired
significance owing to the "threat" to the military. The fear that fighting men
might not be fit enough to defend the British Empire drove anxieties about the
night-time economy. This was analogous to the situation in England during the
1870s when social critics feared the craving for drink and cheap amusement on
the part of the poor would engulf civilized London. Political and social com
mentators worried the distinction between the respectable working class and
"the residuum" would become blurred beyond delineation.22
In 1880, Sir Penrose Julyan determined Valletta had a surplus of "grogshops".
He spent three months in Malta preparing a report for the Colonial Office on the
administration of civil establishments. The police issued licenses for the sale of
wine and spirits, and before 1873, efforts of philanthropists to minimize grant of
licenses prevented widespread proliferation of shops. But Valletta had an over
supply and this produced an unfavorable effect on sailors and soldiers. "Nothing
but needless temptation is thrown their way by the low houses which face them
whenever they pass out of their barracks," Julyan said. The competition led to
adulteration of beer, wines, and spirits served, and also to the "exhibition of such
allurements as may come from the presence of women." The costumes of bar
maids, as well as their words and gestures, left no doubt as to their character.23
Clement Laprimaudaye, the superintendent of police, used the issue of drunken
ness to ask for a new central police station "worthy of the capital of the island".
The several small stations afforded little advantage as they did not provide ade
quate space for the constables and undermined morale. "They become recepta
cles for drunken men wherein to sleep off the effects of their excess, and lounges
for every busy body who gets mixed up in a quarrel or disturbance."24
The governor appointed a committee in 1902, chaired by A. Naudi, the crown
advocate, to enquire into regulations concerning the sale of wines and spirits.
The Naudi committee in Malta was modeled after the Royal Commission on
Liquor Licensing Laws (1896-8) in Britain. The Royal Commission, chaired by
Viscount Sidney Peele, examined the labyrinth of licensing provisions with the
overall aim of reducing the number of licensed premises. The commissioners
took evidence about the ratios of pubs to the number of people in England,
Scotland and Ireland and attempted to derive a national average. In Malta,
the Naudi committee attempted to calculate the average yearly consumption
of spirits, beer, and wines, but this was complicated by the very different drink
ing patterns of the residents. The local Maltese population peferrd wine and

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390 journal of social history winter 2009
the soldiers and sailors, beer; the military population consumed 20 percent of the
wine and 70 per cent of the beer.25 The committee investigated concerns about
price and quality; there were rumors local shopkeepers added water or alcohol.
They concluded most of the beer was imported from England and supplied to
naval and military canteens; retailers did add water. Wines came from Spain
and Greece, and while shopkeepers did mix weak and strong wines, they did
not add alcohol. The committee heard from military officers, shopkeepers, and
importers. Dr G.B. Mifsud, a magistrate, explained that while Englishmen con
sumed less alcohol than Maltese, drunkenness was more frequent among them.
Military officials did not deny that drunkenness was a problem but tended to see
it as a feature of conditions in Valletta. Sergeant William Porter testified that
grogshops remained open until 3 am when the Fleet was in, and that drunken
ness on the part of soldiers was greater in Malta than he had seen in Egypt or
India. Sergeant John Kefford agreed. There was more drunkenness in Valletta
than Dublin due to the cheapness of the alcohol, the great number of public
houses, and the quartering of men close together.26
Tancred Curmi, the superintendent of police at the time of the enquiry, sup
plied the committee with official figures concerning the number of grogshops.
There were 254 licensed premises in Valletta: 8 hotels, 19 restaurants, 7 bottle
license, 65 grocery shops, 38 common wine shops, and 155 grogshops. Although
that certainly seemed to be an alarming number, Curmi could not accept that
it was excessive. Whenever the government called attention to the number of
grogshops, it tended to take "a partial view of the problem instead of tackling
it both from civilian and military points of view at the same time." As he ex
plained, the number of grogshops should be subdivided into those frequented
by military, 41, and those by civilians, 114. He did not think that 41 grogshops
for soldiers and sailors constituted an oversupply, although he did suggest the
number frequented by civilians should be reduced to 70 or 80.27 Curmi alluded
to difference between British Malta and Maltese Malta. Despite the presence of
significant numbers of British in the city, the two nationalities did not mix. En
tertainment operated on different lines. English society found plenty to occupy
itself and a little money went along way. Officers could afford a trap and ponies,
drive tandem, play polo, ride in races, keep a box at the opera, and purchase
tickets for club dances. The Malta Union Club, located in the former Auberge
de Provence, opened in 1826 for officers in the Royal Navy, Army and Marines.28
For more than one public official, the problem of grogshops was not only that
they encouraged drunkenness but also prostitution. Public debate included a
great deal of discussion about whether women should be allowed to work in
them. In England, temperance activists saw the public-house primarily as an in
stitutional means for spreading intemperance, vice and immoral behavior. The
barmaid represented the "bearer of glamour" who sexualized the pub as public
space. She was taken to be "a moral casualty, fatally vulnerable to drink, se
duction and worse." Abstinence campaigners conceded that women employed
in pubs were not necessarily of low character to begin with but insisted the cir
cumstances of their employment corrupted them. The women were employed to
attract men, and when their novelty wore off as hucksters for drinks, they found
themselves unemployed and liable to descend into prostitution.29 The sexual
ized nature of the groshop alarmed authorities in Malta as well. Fallen women

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 391
presented a particular moral hazard because of their power to contaminate men
in both moral and physical senses. Provost Sergeant H. Jackson told Naudi's
committee that prostitutes from lower Valletta frequented grogshops until three
or four o'clock in the morning. Soldiers were taken to private rooms where they
could purchase drinks and sex.30
The leader of the Reform Party, Sigismondo Savona, raised the issue in the
Council of Government. He asked the chief secretary to government, Gerald
Strickland, to furnish the number of women of ill-fame residing in various streets
of Valletta, including major thoroughfares of Strada Reale, Mercanti, and San
Nicola. Strickland agreed that women of this description had been seen in these
areas.31 The admiral and commander in chief of the Mediterranean Fleet com
plained to Governor Fremantle about prostitutes in Valletta. Prostitutes in Strada
San Andrea created "extreme nuisance and indecency" for his family and other
military staff in the neighborhood. As he frequently passed that way, he was
"continually called out to, and solicited to enter, and beckoned to.... " On one
recent occasion, he informed a police constable and testified before the mag
istrate. But no action was taken as the magistrate determined no violation of
public morality occurred. He urged the governor to see the presence of these
prostitutes-in their houses, walking the streets, smoking on door-steps-for
the public scandal he believed it really was.32
In addition to anxieties about excessive drinking and commercial sex, the
British government of Malta worried about gambling. In 1894, Governor Fre
mantle directed the superintendent of police, Laprimaudaye, to investigate re
ports. There was a great deal of gambling going on in Valletta, the governor said,
and most of it took place in grogshops and unlicensed houses. Laprimaudaye was
sceptical. Games took place in these establishments, and so long as they were
not "games of hazard" they were not against the law. It was difficult for the police
to distinguish card games from betting at card games, and the only way to avoid
this would be to make card games themselves illegal.3 Rumors of gambling con
tinued. In 1907, the governor directed the police to warn the proprietors of the
Melita Club on Strada Zaccaria action would be taken if they permitted gam
bling to take place. The police closed the club, but when the governor learned
it had re-opened, he asked the police to intervene again. The superintendent
of police replied that no gambling took place at the Melita Club and suggested
the governor's source for the information was bogus. The informant who had
claimed to see "many officers frequenting the place daily and falling into ruin"
did not exist.34
Gambling establishments may have attracted more serious criminal activity.
The police did report in 1907 an attempted murder at a gambling house. Two
brothers, along with a third partner, had started a gambling house on Strada San
Ursola. These premises were "the resort of bad characters" and the police had
prosecuted repeatedly. The incident occurred when the third partner, concerned
the brothers wanted to get rid of him, drew a pistol, fired five shots, and wounded
each of the brothers.35 But more likely, gambling presented a problem owing to
the views of Gerald Strickland. He was a Catholic of "strict and even rigorous
personal morality" and made use of his extensive influence in Maltese politics
to impose his personal view on Maltese society. Early in his career as chief sec

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392 journal of social history winter 2009
few members of the Council of Government sought to relax these restrictions,
he lashed out. He affirmed his opposition to "this most infamous system of pub
lic gambling." Never, he insisted, had the government sponsored such activity
as those in favor had claimed. The superintendent of police used to be present
at many transactions connected with tombolas in order to prevent the commis
sion of crimes, given the dishonesty and immorality that accompanied a game in
which the sponsors held out unequal chances. "The same arguments," Strickland
thundered, "that hold against the importation of bar-maids for low grog-shops
hold equally good in any opinion against any system of public gambling."36

Social Sources of Immorality

The military presence in Valletta certainly presented a problem, but whether


soldiers and sailors were seen as perpetrators or victims depended on the point
of view. Perceived sources of immorality included the alleged character of the
Maltese, the influx of foreigners, and a faltering prison system.
As far the military authorities were concerned, the problem of prostitution
had to do with the immorality of women. British reaction followed the pat
tern of response in other colonies; military authorities chose to focus on the
health threat to their personnel posed by what they saw as an indigenous prob
lem of fallen women rather than acknowledge the impact of colonial rule on
local society.37 Captains of ships in the harbor complained to the superinten
dent of police about the prevalence of venereal disease contracted when men
came ashore in Valletta. The police, Laprimaudaye insisted, made "strenuous
efforts" to detect and subject to medical examination women infected with the
disease, but the women changed their dwellings every two or three days. Most
of the women were not registered prostitutes and the men were seldom able to
identify them.38 Tancred Curmi echoed Laprimaudaye's statement about unreg
istered prostitutes. There were 152 registered prostitutes in 1903. "This number
is exceedingly low," he explained, because a number of women not on the regis
ter were "practically prostitutes." The number of women engaged in "clandestine
prostitution" was already large and increasing daily.39
There was some speculation about the racial traits of the people. Sir Donald
MacKenzie, who visited Malta as assistant private secretary to the Duke and
Duchess of Cornwall and York on their imperial tour in 1901, offered his ap
praisal of Maltese character. The character of the Spaniard in Gibraltar was "dig
nified and taciturn" while the Maltese had "more of the mercurial south-Italian
temperament." Another difference of the Maltese was the "want of respect for
constituted authority. Like the Greek and the Levantines generally, he is always
inclined to defy and annoy the police, and police often have great difficulty in
preserving order." Although the rule of English law had improved the situation,
the authorities had reason to complain about the "insubordinate spirit of cer
tain classes." MacKenzie detected this insubordinate spirit as the royal proces
sion passed along.40 Ralph Richardson offered a similar assessment in the Scottish
Geographical Magazine (1906), although not with the same implication of law
breaking. Although the British had been in Malta since 1800, the Maltese were
only "superficially Anglicised". Not only did they persist in using their strange,

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 393
uncouth language, but their religious customs ran to extremes unknown in Eng
land or even Europe. With regard to the character and habits of the Maltese, he
had been apprised that while "good and gentle", they never-the-less lacked the
"best qualities of the British working classes".41
But any British observer who had reasonable contact with Maltese society
arrived at a different conclusion, particularly about the morality of women. In
a series of articles about life in Malta, a naval officer described the Maltese as
"sober and industrious, law abiding and remarkably intelligent." They did not
seek over-indulgence at grogshops for amusement, but preferred activities asso
ciated with religious festivals, including processions, illuminations, and music.42
John Wignacourt, another British observer, declared that Valletta had its share
of "petty pilfering cheats" and they brought about a less wholesome atmosphere.
On the other hand, he described the Maltese woman as a "highly sexualized be
ing" in the sense that her main functions were to get married, produce children,
stay indoors, and look after the house. "When I say that the Maltese women
are sexualized", he emphasized, "I do not mean that they have the slightest ten
dency to immorality. In fact, I never knew women more moral." The Maltese
women were so pure and unspoiled, so inexperienced in worldly ways, their kind
smiles and friendly eyes were likely to be misinterpreted in the minds of foreign
men.43 If anything, women in Malta endured "undue and antiquated restric
tions" foisted on them by their religion. Frederick Ryan cited what he said was
an old Maltese maxim that a woman should be seen only twice in public: on the
day she is married and on the day of her funeral.44
Some observers uncovered more than trace of imperial prejudice in percep
tions of Maltese people. Augusto Bartolo noticed a resurgence in some circles
of the idea that Malta formed a part of Africa rather than Europe. Parliament
had clarified the matter some years ago when they specified that British soldiers
in Malta were to be considered as serving in Europe. But this "old belief" about
Africa had returned, and "not a few educated Englishmen are still to be found
who do not hesitate for a moment to class the Maltese amongst the coloured
races!"45 The Reverend W.K.R. Bedford insisted the Maltese were descendents
of the Phoenicians, and should be understood in this way. "Treat him not as an
Italian serf but as a descendent from the most ingenious and industrious people
in the world's history" and Malta's problems would evaporate.46
There was of course the distinct possibility that Valletta had no crime problem
before the British military arrived and that immorality reflected the British pres
ence more than anything about the Maltese. Yet even the Maltese had reasons
for avoiding a straightforward and purposeful discussion of this issue. The mili
tary presence generated not only the night-time leisure economy, but the island's
economy more generally. The Three Cities of Senglea, Cospicua, and Vittoriosa,
across the Grand Harbour from Valletta, depended on the naval dockyard and
fleet, and the villages of Paola, Zabbar, Hamrun, Zeitun and Curmi relied in the
greatest part on the presence of the Royal Navy and Army. The pay of 10,000 of
ficers and men was spent on the island, chiefly on Maltese produce. Withdrawal
of the naval force would reduce "50,000 industrious and deserving people to
destitution and ruin."47 Incidents involving policing of military personnel took
on serious dimensions. Intervention into common fights over mundane con

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394 journal of social history winter 2009
flicts quickly escalated into political issues involving serious diplomatic and le
gal questions. In 1894, for example, a bombardier and gunner of the Royal Malta
Artillery, on leaving a grogshop, became embroiled in an argument with a taxi
driver. Civilian police took the men into custody for rude language, insolence
and denying the authority of the police. What would have been an ordinary
incident of bad behavior metamorphosed into a case with political and legal
ramifications when military authorities asserted the two men had been subject
to unlawful detention. And when the governor learned the police constable in
volved had been formerly acquainted with the men having previously served in
the Royal Malta Artillery, he decided to placate the military rather than proceed
with an enquiry.48
Rather than confronting the impact of the military presence on Maltese soci
ety, members of the government, both British and Maltese, decided to focus on
the influence of foreigners. During the 1890s, members of the Council of Gov
ernment pressed Strickland to restrict the number of aliens. Savona questioned
Strickland about surveillance of music hall artistes. He claimed the police had
specifically approved of a scheme in which some local proprietors contracted to
pay board and lodging, besides travel expenses, for women from London to per
form in Valletta's music halls. Strickland explained that while this had occurred,
it had not occurred with the prior approval of police as alleged. Given the impro
priety and irregularity associated with singing and dancing girls, the police did
not want to become moral guarantors of entertainment in grogshops.49 Savona
continued to goad Strickland about the number of aliens resident in Malta. Did
the government intend to introduce in the council, without unnecessary delay,
legislation to prevent immigration of "foreign paupers and women of ill-fame?"O5
The largest number of immigrants during these years came from Italy. In 1881,
there were about a thousand foreigners in Malta. More than three-fourths had
come from Italy; the remainder from France, Turkey, Greece, Austria-Hungary,
and elsewhere. Of the 548 foreigners in Valletta, there were 333 men and 215
women, and in the category of "fallen woman" (flles soumises) under occupa
tions of foreigners, all except one were shown as coming from Italy.51 This trend
continued. In 1911, the number of foreigners nearly doubled, and most of them
came from Italy. The most significant occupations for foreign women were: nuns
and sisters (157) and fallen women (58). All of the fallen women were reported
as being born in Sicily.52
The deterioration of Valletta's moral climate was also said to result from a
failing prison system. In 1889, a committee appointed to enquire into the police
force commented on the inefficacy of detention. In most cases, they observed,
those fined for contraventions refuse to pay and elected to subject themselves to
imprisonment instead. Frequent stays in prison of a few days "demoralized" the
lower classes and undermined prison discipline as they spent their confinement
in "complete idleness". The committee recommended immediate legislation to
remedy any misconception about persons given detention; it should be applied
as the exception, not the rule.53 This belief anticipated the Gladstone Commit
tee Report on Prisons (1895) and coincided with wide opinion in Britain that
the system of short prison stays (as a substitute for transportation) had been a
failure.54
Beginning in the first decade of the twentieth century, an unprecedented

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 395
number of women came to prison. The report for Corradino Prison for 1911
12 shows how overall admissions increased during the previous five-year period
climbed from 5,580 in 1907-8 to 10,825 in 1911-12. Superintendent Patrick
Holland explained that the largest increase occurred for females: 1,109 women
in 1911-2 compared with 789 in 1910-11.55 The overwhelming majority of the
women confined in Corradino received a short sentence, and most had been
committed to prison on more than one occasion. In 1912, the Royal Commis
sion, chaired by Francis Mowatt, appointed to look into economic and judicial
affairs, commented on the ineffectiveness of Malta's prison in regard to habitual
offenders. Most prisoners had a previous conviction, "that is to say, 75 per cent
of the prisoners are recidivists."6 The Mowatt commission confronted Holland
with statistical documentation concerning the large portion of repeat offend
ers. Out of a total of 7699 commitments during the previous year, 4720 had
been committed three or more times. Holland qualified this figure by reminding
the committee that it included those sentenced to detention (those classified as
first-class misdemeanants in the British Isles). But he conceded that he knew
of persons sent to Corradino for as many as 40 times. "That shows your prison
system is not very deterrent," one of the committee members concluded. "It may
be that" Holland agreed reluctantly.57
In response to concerns expressed by the Royal Commission, the colonial gov
ernment appointed Major Ralph Turton, Commandant of the Detention Bar
rack, to review the situation. Overall, he urged a strict and rigorous regime that
recalled the "hard fare, hard labour, and hard bed" recommended for English
prisons by the Carnavon committee in 1863. The detention of persons for a
few days in response to small infractions showed the prison failed to deter. The
expansion of the juvenile ward had no influence of re-shaping their character.
The rules of silence, separation of classes, and supervision "appears to be very
slack" and liberal provision in diet and sleeping quarters only served to attract
more prisoners. "With good food, a comfortable bed, no work to speak of, able
to converse and smoke, there is no wonder the civil prison is increasing in its
population and popularity." He clarified the issue of recidivism. Most of those re
turning to prison were sentenced to detention for non-payment of fines, so they
were not the habitual criminals the Royal Commission worried about. "Some of
those sentenced are very poor and cannot find the money, at once, to pay the
fine," Turton explained, "Others may have the money but prefer the sentence
of Detention to parting with their money."58
Curiously, Turton justified his remarks concerning the need for a reformatory
for boys with reference to the Italian criminologist, Cesare Lombroso. Generally
speaking, British criminology eschewed reference to Italian criminology; British
authors mentioned similar ideas, but preferred to avoid acknowledging any debt
to foreign expertise.59 But Turton makes direct reference: "It is admitted by all
Criminologists that imprisonment as a curative punishment is useless, and afrer
the gates of a Prison have once been passed is no deterrent. Professor Lombroso,
the well known criminologist, in his great work 'L'Uomo Deliquente' declares
that the criminal, like the insane, is a defective, a physical, nervous, mental
anomaly-a specialised type of humanity somewhere between the lunatic and
the savage, and requires curing rather than punishing. If that is true as regards
criminals, it must be far more true as regards juvenile offenders."60

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396 journal of social history winter 2009
Measures to Restore Moral Order

Several solutions to Valletta's crime problem emerged in public discussion.


These were music halls and coffee taverns; legislation to increase surveillance of
foreigners, and criminalize drunkenness and prostitution; and the establishment
of a detective force.
To address the problem of drunkenness, alternatives to public were proposed.
In 1881, the Victoria Music Hall opened on Strada Stretta (with an English pro
prietor), and the police saw this as a positive addition to Valletta's night-time
leisure offering. Music halls emerged in England in the 1850s and expanded
rapidly during the 1860s and 1870s. Prostitutes did form part of music hall au
diences during this period, but a wave of "empires" and "palaces" during the
1880s, featuring grand buildings and professional artistes, gave these establish
ments fresh dignity. Open and fluid seating gave way to fixed seating and distance
between the performer and stage. This arrangement represented an alternative
to the "long bar", popular during the Victorian era, which reformers claimed en
couraged drinking excessive amounts in a hurry.61 The music halls promoted in
Valletta did not resemble the large halls, but the "free halls" of the Midlands and
the North of England. In these smaller concert halls and pub concert rooms, eat
ing and drinking continued during the performance. Drink remained a mainstay
of the music hall economy; often the admission ticket could be exchanged for
a drink. At the time music halls were held up as the future for Valletta's leisure
economy, music halls had already entered a period of crisis in England owing to
over expansion and the new technology of cinema.62
A number of those who gave testimony before the Naudi commission sug
gested music halls would reduce drunkenness. Corporal Edward Stone of the
Military Foot Police felt there was more drunkenness in Malta than Chatham
and Portsmouth because in England there were many more amusements. The
availability of music hall entertainment served as an inducement for men to
save their money, which in Valletta, they spent on drink. Curmi argued that
sailors and soldiers needed more places of amusement where they could spend
their money on pleasures other than alcohol. At present, Valletta offered noth
ing in the way of public entertainment other than grogshops. A few music halls
and cafi chantants would decrease drunkenness.64
Temperance workers encouraged teetotal shops, although these proved un
popular with the public and authorities. In 1882, Samuel Sim of England's Na
tional Temperance League journeyed to Malta to promote coffee taverns for the
soldiers and sailors. Antonio Bartolo scoffed at this idea. The coffee taverns set
up across the United Kingdom had failed miserably. This was due in no small
part to the "trash they retail". In this scheme, "old ladies with nothing better to
do ... force highly diluted tea and coffee down the throats of the hardworking
public . .. weak tea, villainous coffee, and ginger beer will never substitute." If
the temperance workers really had a mind to improve the conditions for military
men in Valletta, they would put their energy into improving the quality of wine,
spirits, and beer retailed to the public.65
Although some coffee taverns did appear, they became a magnet for other
problems. In 1890, Sigismondo Savona raised the issue in the Council of Coy

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 397
ernment. Regulations taken several years earlier excluded women from grogshops,
but, he explained, a "certain class of people, native and foreign" prefer shops with
young women. This meant that in some streets, one would see five or six girls
selling lemonade and ginger beer to sailors and soldiers. The girls working in
these tea shops then directed the men to establishments nearby were they could
purchase alcoholic drinks.66 The police believed the teetotal shops were little
more than a front for prostitution. Laprimaudaye dispatched several letters to
the government warning of "the growing evil" brought about by the increasing
number of shops for the sale of non-intoxicants. Many appeared in the worst
quarters of Valletta, usually next door to wine-and-spirit shops, and frequently
shared the same owner. The owners employed "mostly girls of loose habits" to
attract soldiers and sailors. The teetotal shops "combine the brothel and the
wine and spirit shop without the safeguard to decency" which the police had
been able to enforce, in some measure, on licensed premises.67
To monitor behavior at wine-and-spirit shops, the police monitored barmaids.
To work as a barmaid, women had to obtain a police certificate. Keepers of li
censed premises were required to notify the police when women left employment
in order to keep these lists up to date, and they made periodic visits to make sure
no infringement of regulations occurred.68 Laprimaudaye sought police regula
tions for teetotal shops similar to those for wine-and-spirit shops. If the police
could prohibit young women from working in them, enforce a fixed time for
closing, and refuse some shops altogether, a great deal could be achieved. The
police could prevent the scandalous scenes occurring every evening in Valletta's
"Fontana District" which, he admitted, was "quite beyond police control." He
continued to pursue some legal means for "checking the existing open and dis
graceful importation of Italian and Sicilian women for purposes of prostitution'
at 'the so-called teetotal shops'." There were a significant number of teetotal
shops kept without a license, and the police asked the Council of Government
for an ordinance. "I have reason to believe", the superintendent said, "that these
women are the chief source of the [venereal] disease."69 Laprimaudaye's concerns
mirrored those of Sir Richard Mayne, the Chief Commissioner of the Metropoli
tan Police, several years later. Mayne asked the Peele Commission on Liquor
Licensing in 1896-8 for police authority to enter coffeehouses in the same way
as beer-houses and licensed victuallers.
In 1899, the government enacted the Aliens Law. This law required foreign
arrivals to present themselves to the police within two days of disembarking to
supply information (name, profession, birthplace) and make surety against be
coming a burden to the government. The names of those intending to establish
residence in Malta were entered into the Register of Resident Aliens kept at
the police office. Aliens could be deported on conviction of crime or for "lead
ing an idle and vagrant life."70 During each of the next five years, the police
carried out hundreds of deportations under the law, mostly for want of surety.
About five persons per year were deported for crimes. Large numbers of aliens
came into Malta between 1903 and 1907, attracted by high wages paid by the
Admiralty for workers. The breakwater project in the Grand Harbour employed
every available laborer in Malta, and workers had to be imported from Italy and
Spain. In 1905, Curmi said there had been "a considerable increase" in alien

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398 journal of social history winter 2009
immigration, with 635 guarantees signed against 412 during the previous year.
"Undesirable aliens continue to give trouble and their misdeeds are only kept in
check with difficulty. In connection with this and a few details, the law requires
revision".71 By the following year, the influx of undesirable aliens, and alien im
migration generally, had decreased. Many had repatriated. But he asked for legal
reforms with a view to dealing more effectively with undesirable aliens.72
There was demand for new legislation concerning drunkenness and prostitu
tion as well. Curmi urged the government to pursue principles lately adopted
in England to deal with drunkenness. Drunkenness, under certain conditions,
should be made a punishable offense. "Since the application of stringent laws in
England against inebriates, drunkenness in that country has sensibly decreased."
Curmi appeared to have had in mind the Habitual Drunkards Act (1879) which
gave magistrates the power to commit "criminal inebriates" to reformatories. In
1902, Strickland pushed through the Council of Government approval for fund
ing of a criminal lunatic ward within the Lunatic Asylum at Attard. The crown
advocate, Vincent Frendo Azzopardi, agreed. "I think Malta is the only place in
which there is no section exclusively reserved for criminal lunatics."73 This deci
sion may have resulted from Italian influence as much as English. Professor Lom
broso, who had included the category of "insane criminal" in his classification
scheme, added in 1897 the sub-category of "alcoholic criminal". He taught that
while alcoholics were not necessarily atavistic, they shared the same character
istics as bom criminals (deliquente nato): cruelty: cruelty, impulsiveness, laziness,
and remorselessness. It is likely that Strickland, fluent in Italian, would have
been familiar with Lombroso's work.74
Strickland also introduced extensive regulations concerning prostitution in
an effort to regulate the commercial sex trade into extinction. Regulations en
acted in 1899, 1900 and 1902 prohibited prostitutes from an expanding number
of Valletta streets and areas in the suburbs (Floriana). The laws also added fur
ther restrictions to limit their activities. Government Notice 41 of 1902 made
it illegal for a prostitute to reside within fifty yards of a church, in any building
adjacent to a wine and spirit shop, or stand on the pavement with others. Pros
titutes could not stand in the doorway of a house, nor leave the door open, but
had to remain indoors behind wooden blinds. Windows on the ground-floor, as
well as on balconies, had to be kept closed.75
The government preferred to criminalize prostitution rather than provide for
fallen women, which had to do with the fact that most prostitutes at this time
were believed to have come from Sicily. The government had established a mag
dalen asylum for fallen women in 1850, within the Ospizio, a poor house located
in the outskirts of Valletta, but later decided to transfer the women to a convent.
Julyan, in his report of 1880, suggested the government hive off responsibility for
the magdalen asylum to a "private religious establishment". At the same time,
local authorities worried about the mix of women kept at the Ospizio. In response
to a question raised in the Council of Government, the comptroller of charita
ble institutions, Giuseppe Monreal, assured the members there were four rooms
available for prostitutes. None shared a room except for one prostitute of "vio
lent character" kept with the others to be under watch.76 The transfer did not

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 399

take place until 1890 or so, after Savona pressed the matter in the Council. By
1891, the magdalen asylum at the Ospizio had closed and the magdalen asylum
of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Balzan enclosed 34 penitent women.77
Much of the discussion about solutions centered on establishing a detective
force. The Malta and Mediterranean Review ran a series of articles on crime in
Valletta. The editor, Antonio Bartolo, expressed his affinity for British rule and
tended to advocate for British interests. "We have heard much concerning the
alarming increase of crime in Malta during these last few years," he wrote, "es
pecially of burglaries and other daring robberies." The Malta police did not have
a criminal investigation division or CID, and he recommended that a "proper
detective force" be organized immediately.78 To do this, men would need to be
recruited from outside the existing police ranks as, in a small place like Malta
current police were too well known. New staff would need to be brought in, an
compensated with a fair salary or they would be tempted into dishonest means
of making money. Bartolo also suggested a technological solution. "One thing
which tends greatly to assist robberies of this nature is the want of sufficien
street illumination." The police did make use of electric street lighting, in con
junction with various restrictions, to suppress prostitution. In 1899, the acting
superintendent of police informed the chief secretary to government of the nee
for "two electric lamps on the French Curtain." This area overlooked "Strada
Fontana which is now being inhabited by [prostitutes]."79 Improved lighting
may however have accelerated the very activities the police were intending to
prohibit.80
Britain had been resistant to the establishment of a detective force through
out the Victorian Era and a Home Office enquiry provoked by the scandal in
1877 demonstrated why that resistance was there. The "trial of detectives" in
volved two Scotland Yard men in a scam to pay for insider tips on horse races.
The Home Office reckoned it had solved the problem with higher pay and better
organizational accountability for detectives, and the newly organized criminal
investigation department opened in 1878. The first head of this CID, Howard
Vincent, brought out a police code for town and borough police forces across
Britain and the Empire to showcase professional aspects of police work and as
sure the public the turf club fraud was a thing of the past.81 In Malta, Tancred
Curmi took the opportunity in his testimony before a commission to enquire
into the working of the police in 1904 to advocate for a detective branch. The
commission conceded that Curmi had demonstrated the necessity of a properly
organized detective branch, and recommended an inspector with some aptitude
in this area be attached to the superintendent. "A few detectives would be very
useful," the committee concluded, but worried about finding properly qualified
men. In Valletta, concealing their identity would be very difficult.82
There was, however, clearly a problem with relying on informants. In 1904,
bomb outrages occurred at Gudia and Rabat. The bombings stopped in Rabat
when the police arrested the man said to be the "ringleader of a gang of mis
chief makers" and the court sentenced him to seven years hard labor. However,
it turned out that this man had been a regular informant and "under the protec
tion of the police for a considerable time." When asked why this had been the

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400 journal of social history winter 2009
case, Curmi said that it was a mistake of the police leadership at the time. Al
though the man's criminal activities were known to constables, they were afraid
to inform superiors. "There are professional informers and others who would
give information provided their names were not used," Curmi declared, "this is
why I insist on a proper criminal investigation department under control of the
director.83 Curmi got his detective branch, although not on the lines of Scot
land Yard, and reported a decrease in crime owing to this innovation. A decrease
in crimes for 1907, was, he claimed, "undoubtedly due to energetic preventive
steps" enabled by a police force nearly up to strength, and better organization of
the criminal investigation branch. These measures led to the arrest and convic
tion of "several dangerous characters known to be the ringleaders of the criminal
class."84
In 1909, the Colonial Office sent Colonel E.B. McInnis to review the or
ganization of the Malta Police and he agreed with Curmi about the need for
a detective department. A detective department should be composed, McInnis
said, of members of the police who have shown special aptitude, those with supe
rior education, and those with ability to read, write and speak English, Maltese,
and Italian. Former sailors and soldiers of good character of the Royal Navy and
Regular Army should be given every opportunity to join the police with prefer
ence extended to former members of the Royal Malta Artillery. The detective
office should maintain records of known thieves and circulate information about
known offenders to constables. McInnis stressed that one or more members of
the detective office should receive training in making and classification of fin
gerprints. Photographs of prisoners would also assist in identification. Further,
the existing aliens branch should be amalgamated into the detective office, with
a new aliens law passed along the lines of that enforced in England. The Aliens
Law (1899) imposed unnecessary work on the police and was not as effective as
it might be.85

Conclusions

Social regulation within Britain's imperial strategy invoked perceptions of


"sameness" as well as "otherness". To be sure, British social attitudes imposed
a hierarchical view of the world in which Britain occupied a prominent place
relative to other imperial powers and in which those subjected to colonial rule
found themselves relegated to varying degrees of alleged inferiority. But the ad
ministration of government, and the formulation of responses to social concerns
of crime and immorality, involved comparison with the domestic context. To
make sense of unfamiliar surroundings and inscrutable populations, colonial ad
ministrators relied on "domestic-imperial analogies". They saw in the immoral
activities of "natives" behavior analogous to that of the "undeserving poor" back
home.86
The dilemma for the British government in Malta, in responding to drunk
enness, gambling, and prostitution in Valletta between 1881 and 1914, was an
acknowledgment that Malta had no crime problem before they arrived. In In
dia, the West Indies, and elsewhere, British administrators encountered what
they took to be indigenous problems of criminality. In these instances, it was

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 401
relatively easy to insist that British policing provided the solution. Although
methods established in England would need to be adapted for colonial popu
lations, the British presence overall would bring about a marked improvement
in native societies. But in Malta, British authorities encountered a European
population that had been remarkably free from crime. The night-time leisure
economy at the center of the problem would not have taken the form it did if
it had not been for the presence of sailors and soldiers. In dealing with crime in
Valletta, the British government met up with the unintended consequences of
their own policies.
Maltese officials conceded that Valletta had a "crime problem" but disagreed
about why it mattered. They did not share the view of sailors and soldiers as
victims of temptation, nor did they worry about an erosion of fighting strength.
Rather, they made distinctions between the leisure activities of British and Mal
tese, and resisted British characterizations of social amusements. For more than
one reason; however, they did not confront the British government in Valletta
directly. The presence of sailors and soldiers provided incomes for many Maltese,
and with only the slightest prospect of attracting tourists, there seemed to be lit
tle alternative. The position of the Church on prostitution was clear enough: to
engage in illicit sex was a mortal sin. Even to talk openly about it was inappro
priate, and throughout the nineteenth century, the Church in Malta eschewed
discussion of the commercial sex trade.
One solution on which both sides could agree was to blame foreigners. The
authorities, both British and Maltese, settled on the arrival of Italian and Span
ish workers, and particularly Sicilian women, as the chief social source of crimi
nality and immorality in Valletta. With support of the Council of Government,
the British governor enacted legal measures to limit and monitor foreigners. The
police saw this as a useful means of dealing with the "criminal class". Another
solution was the establishment of a detective branch within the Malta police
force. Although British administrators were reluctant, at first, to see the value
of detectives in Malta, they gave in to requests from the police and public com
mentators for a proper detective organization. The beginning of the detective
branch in Malta illustrates how colonial officials negotiated the desire for unifor
mity in policing across the colonies and the need to improvise and adapt English
practices to differences among colonial populations.
The unintended effects of imperial administration can be seen in one fur
ther way, although it would not become clear until several decades later. Both
British and Maltese authorities encouraged music halls as a worthwhile alterna
tive to drinking establishments. The number of music halls increased in Malta
in the decades before the First World War, but did not present the solution the
authorities had thought they would. During the 1930s, the "music hall affair"
scandalized Malta as a center for the "white slave traffic" and exposed the grim
reality of "clandestine prostitution". The solution to crime for one generation
became the crime problem for the next to solve.87

Department of Sociological Studies


Sheffield 510 2TU
United Kingdom

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402 journal of social history winter 2009
ENDNOTES

1. Thomas Richards, The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empir
don, 1993); David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire (Ox
2001). See also David M. Anderson and David Killingray, eds., PoUcing the Empire
ernment, Authority and Control 1830-1940 (Manchester, 1991); Georgina Sinclair
'Irish' Policeman and the Empire: Influencing the Policing of the British-Empire
monwealth," Irish Historical Studies, 36 (2008) 37-51.

2. Chandak Sengoopta, Imprint of the Raj: How Fingerprinting was Born in Colo
dia (London, 2003); Clare Anderson, Legible Bodies: Race, Criminality and Coloni
in South Asia (Oxford, 2004); Mark Brown, "Ethnology and Colonial Adminis
in Nineteenth Century British India: The Question of Native Crime and Crimin
British Journal of the History of Science 36 (2003): 1-19.

3. Zammit, The City of Valletta (Valletta, 1908).

4. Patrick Brydone, Tour Through Sicily and Malta (London, 1773), pp. 330-1.

5. Zammit, The City of Valletta.

6. Reports of the Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Affairs of the isfond of
part 3, (London, 1839), p. 15. National Library of Malta.

7. R. Montgomery Martin, History of British Possessions in the Meditenanean (Lo


1837), p. 274.

8. Joseph Beldham, Recollections of Scenes and Institutions in Italy and the East (London,
1851), p. 56.

9. Census: Isfonds of Malta, Gozo and Comino (1882), p. 21. National Archives of
Malta.
10. Hans Christian Andersen, A Visit to Italy and Malta 1840-1841 (London, 1985), p.
172.

11. William Thackeray, Burlesques from Cornhill to Cairo and Juvenalia (London 1903 ),
p. 266.

12. Police Annival Report for 1904-5 (Malta, 1905), p. 199. National Archives of Malta.

13. Georgina Sinclair and Chris Williams, "Home and Away': The Cross-fertilisation
between 'Colonial' and 'British' Policing," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
35 (2007): 221-38.

14. Henry Frendo, Party Politics in a Fortress Colony (Malta, 1991 ).

15. O'Ferrall to Grey, despatch of 7 May 1849. National Archives of Malta (GOV
1.2.24).

16. Census of the Islands of Malta and Gozo (Malta, 1882), p. 11.

17. Report from the Select Committee of 11 January 1882 to Examine and Report on Tenders
Received for Lighting the Streets of Valletta (Malta, 1882).

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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 403
18. Ralph Richardson, "Malta: Notes on a Recent Visit," Scottish Geographical Magazine
July (1906), p. 365.

19. Royal Commission on Finances, Economic Position and Judicial Procedure ( Malta, 1912),
p. 42. Melitensia Collection, University of Malta Library.

20. G.A. Ballard, "The Development of Malta as a First Class Naval Base Since its In
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A FEW DETECTIVES WOULD BE VERY USEFUL 405
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