RG1 consists of the original, signed minutes of Hamilton City Council. After 1887, Council minutes were published in printed form. Alphabetical indexes are available, but for the period of 1847-1887, they are incomplete and generally unreliable. A new index, however, is under preparation.
The minutes cover all aspects of Council business and city administration including financing, personnel, and the provision of internal, social, and recreational services. Entries for a meeting of Council typically contain: a list of petitions and correspondence received by the City Clerk; discussion of appointments to city offices and civic bodies; notices of motion; debates on the recommendations of city departments; and divisions on by-laws. By-laws passed during the session are attached to the end of each entry. The recommendations of the Committees and Boards of Council are incorporated into the minutes as are, frequently, the reports of various civic departments and officers.
Council minutes are the indispensable first source to which researchers examining municipal government in Hamilton should turn. Detailing the activities of the legislative branch of city government, they permit a study of the formulation of policy and provide insiqht into the formalization and expansion of the functions of municipal government and the evolving ideology underpinning it. They furnish information concerning the role of the individual politician and pressure groups in formulating policy and directing the operations of government. Particularly for the early period, Council minutes contain much material concerning the workings of civic departments which is not duplicated in their own series. For example, early minutes include detailed hospital accounts which cannot be found in RG13 (Hospital) and the only extant reports of the Industrial Commissioner's Department (RG17).
The Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives, holds the original handwritten minutes of City Council, a microfilmed copy for the years 1833-1984, and printed copies for the later period. Minutes 1887 to the present are located in the City Clerk's Department, Hamilton City Centre.