Archive Hour

I recently came into possession of our ‘archives’ : three large cardboard boxes with the name of a well known legal firm emblazoned on the side. At first I viewed it as a burden but when I opened them and began to read I was delighted by the stories they tell.

The Montpelier Square Garden Committee was founded sometime after the Garden Square Act of 1863… our earliest document dates from 1867. We have an almost unbroken line of minutes and reports from that dim past to today. Covered in spidery handwriting for the most part and difficult to read, the original minutes book is now cushioned by acid-free tissue and only emerges on special occasions.

The archives are important because they show us how valuable the Square Garden was to the earlier residents, helping us to understand where the garden has come from and what it could become. We can see how things have changed and how the same concerns (noise, litter, garden design) arise again and again and how the earlier people handled them.

I want the archives to be more readily available to those who are interested in them so I have begun to scan the documents and you can find them online at

I started with the AGM minutes and the minutes of any associates committee meetings. The fact that they are typewritten makes them most suitable for scanning. I want the scanned documents to be searchable by google so I have also run them through an OCR program. I will add the annual accounts and any interesting reports that i come across.

So far I have gone back to 1989, the start of the modern era of the Garden Square, when the railings were restored and the garden moved from being the dull and poorly maintained site of the 1960s to the ornamental haven of today.