Hamilton marks its 225th anniversary

  • Historic meeting: Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, convenes a special City Council meeting on the 225th anniversary of the city fathers’ first meeting in 1795 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Leading the way: Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, and the Town Crier, Ed Christopher, lead a procession of councillors and senior administrators to the Bermuda Historical Society’s museum in the National Library building (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Corporation of Hamilton celebrated 225 years since its creation in 1795 with a special council meeting in the foyer of the refurbished Bermuda Historical Society yesterday.

Charles Gosling, the mayor, said holding a public council meeting at the museum, next to the Bermuda National Library on Queen Street, had “long been discussed”.

This year also marks 125 years since the historical society was founded.

Mr Gosling said the move of the capital from the Town of St George to Hamilton in 1815 “simply gave further credence to the town’s motto, Sparsa Collegit” — the “gathering of the scattered”.

Mr Gosling added as former mayors Lawson Mapp and Sutherland Madeiros looked on: “This simple universal concept has been the success of Hamilton from 1795 to 2020 — one that today is being broken with the virtual removal of visiting cruise ships and the renewed threat of moving the container docks to the extremity of the island.

“Today, we challenge ourselves with what is almost a mantra, ‘Hamilton, Bermuda at its best’.”

John Cox, vice-president of the historical society, told the gathering: “We have been pulled into the 21st century — trying to get 400 years into a ten-minute tour is not easy.”

He said the museum’s displays and artefacts had been turned into “an interpretive journey” after months of work on the gallery.

Mr Cox thanked Paul Shapiro, of Brimstone Media, for the design of the new exhibits and the contractor, Helder DeSilva, who led the renovation of the building, and society member Cooper Simpson who “completely redid our coin collection”.

Andrew Bermingham, president of the society, said the museum was last upgraded in 2008.

He explained the building, Par-la-Ville, built in 1814 by William Perot, the postmaster, had reached a “crumbling” state.

Mr Bermingham said: “A year ago, we realised that the museum needed a major renovation, and an exhibit which retained the authenticity of the 1814 house, but which would also be attractive to the 2020 visitor. The society has made a substantial investment in order to provide Bermuda a museum which can attract everyone to its central and easily accessible location.”