Malta became a British colony in 1814, gained its independence and joined the Commonwealth in 1964, and joined the European Union in 2004.
The Villa de Giorgio, at San Pawl Tat-Targa, Naxxar, was first leased in 1961 as the residence of the UK commissioner, who became the British high commissioner in 1964, around which time the house was extensively upgraded. The house was built in the 1820s by an English cotton merchant, Robert Peel. The lease was re-negotiated for a 17-year term in 1967 and has been similarly renewed twice since.
The offices were first leased in 1961 at 7, St Anne Street, Floriana, a 5-storey half-block, originally built as flats above a shop, and extremely well located. The offices originally occupied two floors but subsequently expanded into the other floors. The space and building gradually deteriorated, despite periodic facelifts and rearrangements, to the extent that in the mid-1980s thoughts turned to building new offices on a new site. An exceptionally good site near the tip of Ta’Xbiex was half-promised in 1986, and the government of Malta approved a 75-year lease on it, but the idea was not supported locally and the site was quietly withdrawn a year later. In the event, the offices moved to Whitehall Mansions, Ta’xbiex, around the turn of the millennium [?].