Chronicling the life and times of Strickland House opens more than one window to life in Malta over the years. Starting out as a bastion of imperialism, Strickland House developed into a powerhouse of controversy, playing a leading role in the island’s social and political life.
As a curtain-raiser to the story proper, the book first maps out the lives of the protagonists – Lord Strickland, a politician whose career was as controversial as that of former Socialist prime minister Dom Mintoff, and of his daughter Mabel, journalist and politician of a formidable character. Strickland straddled island and empire politics, leaving better or for worse, in all the posts he occupied. However, his good deeds and successes were rarely fully appreciated as they were generally overshadowed by political confrontation and rancour. Strickland is generally painted either black or white. Strickland House attempts to draw a political correction, striking a long-overdue balance.
The book explores Strickland’s publishing ventures, from the time he set up his first printing house to the publication of his first political newspapers; the launching of Il-Berqa; the move to St Paul Street; and the launching of the English-language weekly newspaper, and of Strickland House’s flagship Times of Malta. Book Two will deal with the Times of Malta‘s war against the Daily Chronicle, the Times of Malta at war; the newspaper’s role in the case of the war internees, and their deportation to Uganda; and the state of play in politics as the war receded from Malta.