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Monday, March 19, 2012

Melbourne's Hotel Windsor Calls for Memories and Memorabilia to Build Archive

Melbourne's Hotel Windsor is asking people to share their memories and memorabilia of the famous hotel, from valet parking receipts to special menus, to help it build an archive that will preserve and celebrate the building's history and the changes in fashions and social trends it has witnessed.

For decades, the Hotel Windsor has been Melbourne's choice for special family celebrations, weddings, romantic trysts, and social and business functions. Now, on the eve of its 130th anniversary in 2013, the hotel is keen to ensure these moments live on for future generations.

"The Hotel Windsor has been an integral part of the fabric of Melbourne for almost 130 years," Victoria Batters, Hotel Windsor marketing manager, said. "The history of the building, its design and development over the decades, has been thoroughly documented but there is a lot of social and cultural history that is missing. This is what we want to gather and collate, for our own records and to share with Melbourne."

The hotel is particularly interested in receiving photographs, videos and records of weddings at the hotel, as a barometer of changing social trends. But any records and recollections of an event will be welcome, as the hotel prepares to celebrate its 130th anniversary ahead of many of the world's leading grand hotels including the Savoy in London and the Ritz Paris.

"We're looking for items such as menus people may have taken as a souvenir, invitations to a special event or dinner, valet parking tickets, and, of course, photographs that perhaps show the fashions of a particular time or aspects of the hotel," Ms Batters said. "We'd also be grateful for any written recollections of a special event such as a wedding or anniversary and memories of Melbourne and the hotel at the time." 

The hotel is asking for memorabilia to be donated if possible, but otherwise is happy to take copies of materials submitted and return the originals.

"Materials will be used as part of displays for the public and to up-date our historical files and records," Ms Batters said. "It will also be useful for media, who often ask for historic images and anecdotes about the hotel and for online archives. We realize material will be very precious to owners and every item will be treated with the utmost care.

"The hotel hosts around 70 weddings every year so we're estimating there have been about 3,500 wedding receptions here in just the last 50 years, and at least as many events, ranging from fashion shows to book launches and business conferences. It would be wonderful to compile a visual and written record of all of this."   

The names of people who submit information will go in to a lucky draw to win an accommodation package at the hotel. And any particularly special highlights will win their owner an afternoon tea for two, at the discretion of the hotel.

Material can be submitted by regular post to: The Marketing Manager, The Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street, Melbourne, 3000 or by email to

The 180-room Hotel Windsor was built in 1883, pre-dating some of the world's leading grand hotels including the Savoy in London, which was built in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York which dates back to 1893, and the Ritz Paris which opened in 1898. 

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