The Victoria Citadel's clock bells, which went silent in April to undergo restoration, will soon strike off the time again over Gozo's capital after works were completed by campanologist Kenneth Cauchi.

The restoration work, which was entrusted to Mr Cauchi by the Ministry for Gozo, mainly entailed the removal of several coats of paint which had been applied during previous renovation interventions.

The hour strike bell, cast in 1819 by the Leotta brothers, had fared the worst over the decades. There was more rust staining the bronze surface than anticipated and this delayed the restoration works, the ministry said.

The other conservation treatment problems were mainly caused by corrosion.

The much older quarter-strike bell, cast at the beginning of the 18th century by the Menville brothers, was in a much better state of conservation, although it had other problems.

Being older, the bell has been used much more than its turret partner and as a consequence its soundbow was entirely riddled with indents caused by the clock's wrought iron drop mallets, signifying that the bell was turned several times during its term of service.

The ferrous structure that supported the bells on the turret roof was also restored.

Work has been entirely documented in order to protect the clock's historic authenticity.

The Old Victoria Hospital bell has also been restored and has been confirmed to also be the work of the Menville brothers. However, it is thought to be an earlier casting than the quarter-strike clock bell.

Mr Cauchi had also restored the oldest bell in the islands, found at the Mdina Cathedral.

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