It is a circular building surrounded by twenty Ionic columns and is located on the south side of the square. It was built in honour of the English commissioner, Sir Thomas Maitland, in 1816.

Sir Thomas Maitland was the first British Commissioner (1816-1825) (Lord High Commissioner) of the Ionian State and until then commander of the British forces in the Mediterranean and governor of Malta. Maitland arrived in Corfu on February 16, 1816. He went down in history as the toughest Englishman to rule the Ionian Islands during the British occupation, enacting the Constitution of 1817 – which came into force in 1818 – and leading the sale of Prague to Ali Pasha of Ioannina.

The policy that followed during his tenure, which coincides with the beginning and the first phase of the Greek Revolution, was characterized as anti-Greek for the obvious support of the British policy towards the Turks. The Peristyle of Maitland was built by the also English military engineer, Whitemore, whose work is also the Palace in Spianada.

The Peristyle of Maitland is also known as the "Cistern", as when it was built, it covered an older Venetian cistern, a water collection tank.

The two entrances of the monument were intended to serve those who continued to use the tank after its construction.

The cistern was built in 1781 under the auspices of Iakovos Gradenigos and was the largest in the city with a capacity of about 2,000 cubic metres of water. The circle of the base has a diameter of 18.8 metres and the roof circle 20 metres at a height of 7.3 metres from the bottom. In the centre of it there is a cylindrical well with a diameter of 3.30 metres which is connected to the perimeter wall of the basin with eight radial walls that divide the construction into eight respective compartments.

These compartments communicate with each other with large arched openings, and with the central well with four much smaller also arched passages. The bottom of the cistern is covered by a thick layer of clay that ensures the tightness of the structure, while the roof is covered by vaulted structures that bridge the openings between the compartments. The perimeter and radial walls are made of masonry and the central well is made of bricks with strong bonding plaster and a coating of kurasani, lime, sand and grated tile.

Another construction material, the yellow tuft of Malta, testifies to the contacts between the two, then British, possessions of the Mediterranean. Inside there is a stone inscription with the name of the architect who designed it and supervised the construction work, the engineer of the Venetian army, Giuseppe Ferro, and the year of construction.

The cistern of Gradenigos was still in use when in 1816 the aqueduct was built during the Adam Commission (1824-1832). The resolution of the nobles of Corfu for the erection of a monument in honour of Thomas Maitland was published in the Gazette of the Ionian Islands. “The people of Corfu celebrate the arrival of the first British commissioner Thomas Maitland on the island”. The inscription of 1816 read:- IN MEMORY OF A HAPPY DAY RETURN FROM GREAT BRITAIN THOMAS MAITLAND AS HEAD OF POLITICAL STORE OF THE IONIAN ISLANDS IN CORFU.  The monument was damaged due to erosion and was restored in 2004.

Source

ΦΑΙΑΚΩΝ ΝΗΣΟΣ (2016). “Περιστύλιο Maitland“, https://faiakonnisos.blogspot.com/2016/04/peristylio-maitland.html

 

Colleagues
Text Editor: Ada Kiriazi
Photography: Ada Kiriazi
Photography: Eddie Kastamonitis
Translation - Text Editor: Adelia Cook
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