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About the Locality

Il-Ħamrun is one of the suburbs on the Maltese islands and is around 2 miles from the Capital city il-Belt Valletta (Città Umilissima). It is built on a plain rising softly at the vicinity of Tas-Samra. The roads of il-Ħamrun are straight except for a couple of narrow streets down the police station. Il-Ħamrum was taken from three parishes , that of Ħal Qormi (Città Pinto), of Birkirkara and Floriana. The limits of il-Ħamrun reached further out than they do nowadays but when Santa Venera and il-Marsa became parishes in their own right large chunks of il-Ħamrun were taken from its jurisdiction. Il-Ħamrun’s motto is ‘Propera Augesco which means ‘I grow suddenly’. This suburb took a long time to establish itself however when it did it grew and developed in a short period of time and became known as il-Ħamrun as it is known today. 
Today it is very different from 60 or 70 years ago with the advancements it went through in a short period of time and it now almost competes with the Capital City il-Belt Valletta (Città Umilissima). One finds shops of all sorts and this makes life comfortable for the people who needn’t go far out for their everyday needs. 
 Previously il-Ħamrun was known as Casale San Giuseppe – the village of St. Joseph (San Ġużepp) – for the Church of St. Joseph which used to be at the top of the main road which up to this day is known by the same name, and until 1888 the village was called by that name however due to the confusion which set in with regard to which is the proper name of the village, whether San Ġużepp or il-Ħamrun as it was commonly called by the people, the Government intervened and chose ‘Il-Ħamrun’ as the official name for various reasons, but mainly due to the fact that the people were no longer using the name St. Joseph (San Gużepp).

There are two versions regarding the origins of the word il-Ħamrun. According to the first, as some people say, the name comes from the word ħamrija meaning soil as it was red - ħamra in Maltese - and from ħamrija we get the word Ħamrun. The other version with which many agree was that the name il-Ħamrun is the nickname of a family that used to live in Triq Irjali San Gużepp. The nickname of this family which still exists to this day in il-Ħamrun is the same as that of the suburb. This was the nickname of Ġamri Żammit from il-Belt Valletta (Città Umilissima) who had a shop right where on finds the ex-Hollywood Theatre today. Both meanings can be accepted because the first, tal-Ħamrija, is found written down as the name of the place in de Vilhena’s foundation during his period while the other is very similar to the nickname ‘il-Ħamruni’.  Il-Ħamrun’s coat of arms is a red shield upon a white background.

Il-Ħamrun, though as mentioned previously took a long time to develop, still has an interesting story which goes back a very long time. In fact in il-Ħamrun one finds graves dug out in the rocks and also Roman graves. During the period of the Knights of St. John part of il-Ħamrun was used as a store for the Order where they stockpiled deposits of sulphur and gunpowder. We also find various palaces amongst which in Triq Irjali San Ġużepp and also around the Tas-Samra area where it is said that one of these was owned by Grand Master De Rohan. In il-Ħamrun there is also a round tower where water from the acqueduct which from Ħ'Attard used to take water to il-Belt Valletta (Città Umilissima) was collected. This tower is in Triq San Gaetano and was built in 1780 by Grand Master De Rohan. An intereseting thing is that on the tower there an inscription which states ‘As there is life in water life started from water’. 

During the French occupation il-Ħamrun served as an important bridge because the hill at Tas-Samra was used as a fortress by the Maltese against the French, as this hill is the closest one to il-Belt Valletta (Città Umilissima). During the Great War, il-Ħamrun played its part by giving refuge to many people escaping enemy fire. Remains from this period include various shelters in which the people took refuge during air attacks. Many buildings in il-Ħamrun during that period changed their function. Some of them were turned into courts and also hospitals. When on the 28th of February 1883 the railway was launched by the Governor Borton one of the stations was in il-Ħamrun, and today in this building we find the milk processing machinery and the scouts of il-Ħamrun. Another important period for il-Ħamrun was the introduction of cinemas in the locality. In fact we find many places which became very popular such as il-Hollywood, Radio City, San Remo, Odeon and others. 

Unfortunately many of the buildings which housed these cinemas have been demolished to make way for new buildings.

Nowadays il-Ħamrun has become a commercial centre with various shops and one also finds the general headquarters of various groups and political parties. Il-Ħamrun is also known for sports as it has won various honours in different sports. Upon mentioning il-Ħamrun its impossible to omit music as there are three band clubs.

The patron saint St. Gaetano is synonymous with il-Ħamrun, where apart from the devotion which the people of il-Ħamrun have for him, one of the greatest feasts in Malta is celebrated here, attended by many people who come to see the vivacious band marches. Malta’s first Saint, Saint Gorġ Preca also lived and taught the word of God in il-Ħamrun. He has done a great deal of good both with his teachings and with his society, the M.U.S.E.U.M. Society which he founded in il-Ħamrun and which later spread all around Malta and even abroad.​