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BGHG Constitution

 1. NAME

The name of the organisation shall be the Birkbeck Garden History Group.


The aims of the Birkbeck Garden History Group are to promote and develop interest in the history of gardens and landscapes among the Group’s membership and the wider public by organising or supporting relevant activities.


The objectives of Birkbeck Garden History Group may include:

  • To bring together people with an interest in garden history to learn about and appreciate
  • gardens and landscapes of historic interest through a programme of visits, lectures and study days
  • To provide opportunities for Group members and their friends to meet together and share their appreciation of gardens and landscapes
  • To disseminate information and knowledge about garden history amongst the Group’s members and to the wider public through newsletters, website and electronic communications
  • To support and encourage, by various means, initiatives which extend knowledge of garden history. Means may include financial support for garden history studies or publications.

Birkbeck Garden History Group values diversity, is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, age, ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, or sexuality.


Membership shall be open to any person who:

  • is or has been a student on any Birkbeck University of London Garden History course
  • is or has been a student on any garden history course in the UK
  • otherwise has a serious interest in extending their knowledge of the history of gardens and landscapes
  • supports the aims of the Birkbeck Garden History Group

The annual membership subscription is due by the last day of February each year.

Membership shall begin as soon as the membership form and first annual payment has been received. For members joining after 1st September their subscription will be valid for the remainder of the membership year and the ensuing year. However, this benefit shall not apply to existing members who fail to renew their membership until late in the year.

A list of all members shall be kept by the Secretary, or Membership Secretary if one exists.

Members may resign at any time in writing, by post or email, to the Membership Secretary or Secretary.

Any member who has not paid their membership fee within two months of the renewal date will be deemed to have resigned.


The annual subscription shall be determined by the Annual General Meeting on the recommendation of the Committee and shall apply from the subsequent calendar year. Members who have served as Chair shall be entitled to free life membership.


The affairs of the Group shall be conducted by a committee of twelve members who shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office until the end of the next Annual General Meeting, when they will be eligible to stand for re-election.

Up to two additional members may be co-opted at any time prior to a formal vote at the next AGM.

The Committee will meet as necessary, and not less than five times a year.


At their first meeting after the AGM the Committee shall elect from within their number a Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Secretary, and such other officers as they from time to time deem necessary. A quorum for meetings of the Committee shall consist of three members, including two officers.

Officer roles are as follows:

Chair: shall chair both general, special and committee meetings

Secretary: shall be responsible for organising the Annual General and Committee meetings, and Special Meetings if requested; the taking of minutes and the distribution of all papers

Treasurer: shall be responsible for maintaining the accounts

Membership Secretary: shall be responsible for keeping a record of membership.

Committee meetings shall be called by the Chair, Secretary or such other committee member as either may designate. Committee members must receive notification of a meeting at least seven days in advance of that meeting. Notification may be by telephone, email or post.

Any committee member not attending two consecutive meetings without apology will be contacted by the Chair or Secretary and asked if they wish to resign.


An Annual General Meeting will be held in the month of February, or within fifteen months of the previous AGM.

All members will be notified at least 21 days before the date of meeting, giving venue, date & time, and be invited to nominate members for election to the committee. Notification may be by email or post.

Nominations for the committee may be made to the Secretary before the meeting or at the meeting.

The quorum for the AGM shall be 10% membership or 10 members whichever is the greater number.

The AGM agenda shall include:

1. approving the minutes of the previous AGM

2. receiving the Annual Report

3. approving a financial statement presented by the Treasurer

4. electing Committee members

5. discussing and, if required, voting on any proposals provided to the Secretary at least 14 days in advance of the meeting

The Chair or other designated committee member shall chair the Annual General Meeting.


At the request of a majority of the Committee, or at least eight other members, submitting a written request to the Chair or Secretary stating the reason for their request, the Secretary shall convene a Special General Meeting.

The meeting shall take place within 21 days of receipt of the request.

All members shall be given two weeks’ notice of such a meeting, and be notified of the date, time, venue and agenda for the meeting. Notification may be by telephone, email or post.

The quorum for the Special General Meeting shall be 10% membership or 10 members whichever is the greater number.


All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find general agreement amongst everyone present.

If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of members present. If the number of votes cast on each side is equal, the chair of the meeting shall have an additional casting vote.


An account, or accounts, will be maintained on behalf of Birkbeck Garden History Group at a bank, or banks, agreed by the committee. At least two cheque signatories will be nominated by the Committee (one to be the Treasurer). The signatories must not be related nor members of the same household.

All payments must be authorised by at least one of the designated signatories. Payments in excess of £500, other than regular routine payments, shall be authorised by two signatories to the account. Payments (whether by cheque, BACS, FP, debit card, or cash) and cash withdrawals will normally be made by the Treasurer.

Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement given at each meeting. The financial year is from 1 January to 31 December.

All money raised by or on behalf of Birkbeck Garden History Group is only to be used to further the aims of the Group, as specified in item 2 of this constitution.

The accounts shall be inspected by a suitably qualified person at the conclusion of each year and prior to presentation of the annual accounts at the AGM.


This constitution may only be amended by a two-thirds majority of members present at an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting and provided that 14 days’ notice of the proposed amendment has been circulated to all members.

Any proposal to amend the constitution must be given to the Secretary in writing.


If a meeting, by simple majority, decides that it is necessary to close down the Group it may call a Special General Meeting to do so.

The sole business of this meeting will be to dissolve the Group.

If it is agreed to dissolve the Group, all remaining money and other assets, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to a charitable organisation, or organisations, holding similar or complementary aims to those of Birkbeck Garden History Group. The recipient organisations/s will be agreed at the meeting which agrees the dissolution.

This constitution was agreed at the Annual General Meeting of Birkbeck Garden History Group on:-

Date ………/…………/…………….

Name and position in group ………………………………………….    Signed ………………………………………….

Name and position in group …………………………………………    Signed ………………………………………….

January 2019


i For the sake of this Constitution ‘garden history’ is taken to include both gardens and landscapes

ii Notwithstanding UK-wide eligibility it is recognised that most activities are London-based.

iii For a member joining in e.g. September 2018 their membership will last until February 2020

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