1920-29 Records of WI members' monthly meetings

Hilary Roadley

Lantern slide

Pattern of meetings

Generally, Minutes and letters of business were read out first, often followed by a talk- some using lantern slides.
There were lots of charades, plays, songs & music played for the entertainment (social half hour) part of the evenings usually arranged by different pairs/groups of members and sometimes put on by Womens Institutes  from neighbouring villages. The social half hour often included one or two competitions which reflected rural life then – sewing and rug-making, flower arranging and vegetable growing- as well as word games.
Community songs were often sung at the beginning of meetings with the National Anthem sung at the close of meetings sometimes after dancing.
They stood and had a brief silence for members who had lost a family member.
Summer meeting were often held in gardens of Miss Greene, Mrs Rowley, Mrs Smith, Mrs Hurrell, Mrs Young or Mrs Lennard.


March 3 first meeting held in council schoolroom. Mrs Young, President welcomed members- about 120 each one expected to do something for the common good. Mrs Hutetimon/Hutchinson? of Cambridge interesting talk on ‘women as Magistrates’ & Mr Bishop showed/demonstrated war trophies. Role call after meeting followed by enjoyable Charades by Mrs Gee, Miss Hurrell & Miss C Smith.

April 7 meeting held in council schoolroom
Miss Greene talk about furnishing a Cottage, then dancing competition & musical selections & refreshments.

May 5 meeting held in council schoolroom
Talk by Dr Young on infectious diseases of children
Competition for girl’s frock not to cost more than 3/6.Pleasing songs by Miss S Jude followed by Charades arranged by Miss Bliss.

June 2 meeting held in council schoolroom
Description & demo of spinning by Miss Greene; followed by dances in costume by Miss Peggy Gee, charades by Miss Bliss.

July 7 meeting held in council schoolroom 7pm not in Mrs young’s garden due to poor weather.
Dr Robinson gave talk ‘Flies & how to get rid of them’. Wildflower competition.
Some schoolchildren gave illustrated songs ‘A Hunting we will go’ and ‘Caller Herrin’ very prettily rendered.

Aug 4 in Miss Greene’s garden 7pm. Talk by Mrs Kay? on Dressmaking.

Sep 1 in Mrs Rowley’s garden at 3pm. Talk by Miss W? Raye/Rage? on thrift. 40 put names down for dressmaking class so divided into 2 groups Oct 3 at 3-5pm and 6.15-8.15pm. to be held in the Weaving Room kindly lent by Miss Greene. Only 11 in afternoon & 9 in evening turned up- expect more in future.

Oct 6 in Mrs Hurrell’s garden although she was absent.
Knitting competition – only 2 entered. Display by Girl Guides under direction of Miss Hurrell. Games afterwards.

Nov 3 meeting held in council schoolroom 7pm. Talk by Dr Young on First Aid. Buns & Scones competition – only 3 competed. Then amusing charades by Miss Greene & Miss Hurrell, Mrs Hamblin Smith & Miss Bliss.

Dec 1 meeting held in council schoolroom 7pm. Miss Briscoe gave address on Local Government. Subscriptions due January. Xmas present competition. Prizes were institute badges. Mrs Spencer lent cups and Mrs Newling her tins? Dr Young gave 2 amusing recitations.


Feb  WI members & husbands looked at Huts at Cherry Hinton but poor materials and wouldn’t last. Called public meeting March 12 to consider joining of forces to build village hall as soon as sufficient funds can be raised.

April 6 Mr Royston gave talk on The Education Act of 1918 & how will affect County districts. Committee formed for Members Night.

June 1st talk by Mrs Lennard on Home Nursing- Bed making & changing sheets for Invalids.

Aug 3 result of play by Miss H Greene in Mr Rowley’s garden was £62-5. Regular 10 minute talk on ‘Current Events’ lead by Miss H Greene.

Dec 7 agreed not to pay Tax- but no entertainment to be shown on programme.


Feb 1 Mr Michell gave talk on ‘Rearing & feeding of poultry’.

March 22 Col James gave talk on ‘the work of VAD in Peace Time’  illustrated + lantern slides. (projector below)

May 3 Mr Royston gave an interesting address on Folk Songs & folk dances – prettily illustrated by 8 schoolchildren

Sep 6 competition – Darning & patching.


Feb 7 hoped Carnegie library would be available soon in Village

April 4 Members Night about 100 present.

July 4 talk on Danish co-operation by Mrs? Audena? Scott.

Aug 1 talk by Mrs Lennard on visit to Monte Carlo.

Nov 7 Members Night organised by Miss Laven. About 130 attended in new Village Hall with more space. Swedish gymnastics display by students from Newnham & Girton.

Dec 5 thanks to Mr Royston for use of school in last 12 months & to Mrs Farrington & helpers for getting teas organised.


Feb interesting talk on Belgium by Mr Minns from Brighton illustrated by lantern slides.(Lantern borrowed from Harold Hurrell of Newton.)

March 5 Mrs G S Wilkinson exhibited interesting display of home-made toys showing how can be made from waste material.

April 2 Dancing display given by Miss Hilda Greenwood’s Class.

July paper mache display by Mrs Duke of Trumpington.

Aug 7 lecture by Dr Young on vaccinations.

Sep talk on women of China by Mrs Whitley.

Oct talk Mr Royston on Harston’s history.


Mrs Young president for 5 yrs and voted in to remain.

Jul 1, 1925 Miss Hurrell arranged half hour given by girl guides called ‘How English Heritage might have been altered if they had always had guides.’ Included 5 small sketches – much enjoyed.


Jan 6  Mr Hutchinson gave talk on The women of ancient Greece’.

March 3 – rugs made over winter on display. 3 to Handicraft exhibition in Cambridge.

Aug 4 Course of Rural talks to start in Harston in Autumn interesting especially for those in Agriculture – provided under auspices of Cambs Rural Community Council.

Sep 1 talk ‘How & why we trade with foreign countries’ by Mr Milner.

Oct 6 Mr Lennard’s talk on a Visit to Venice.

Nov 3 Miss Nicholls of Fulbourn gave interesting talk on her travels in Russia & about beautiful work done by Russian women.


April 6 Mr Lennard gave talk on Shakespeare & referred to success of Harston in Drama competition at Fortuna’s? theatre, Cambridge. Followed by Social half hour – music, songs, plays, recitations, dances in most social hours.

May 4 talk – Why we pay rates or taxes.

Jul 6 Final arrangements made for outing to Felixstowe on 14 July. Interesting talk on ‘Canadian Village Life’ by Miss Elsdon of Stapleford.

Aug 3 Demo in home made manufacture of Stove Polish and Embocation given by Mrs Badcock.


Feb Talk life of Josephine Butler by Mr Hutchinson

March 7 Collection of eggs made for Addenbrookes – 400 sent to the hospital.

April talk by Mr S/G S/G L Cruickshank (Comissioner for Eastern Region) on subject of ‘The National Savings Movement’.

May 2 talk by Rev P S Ward on ‘Folk Lore’.

June 6 talk by Mrs Drisdale on ‘Papworth colony’. Members of Haslingfield WI presented amazing farce ‘Impossible Perkins’.

Jul talk by Mrs W Austall? M. A. Juvenile Employment Officer on ‘Square pegs in round holes’.

Aug 1 talk by Miss H Greene on Weaving & vegetable dyeing. Specimen of weaving done by Mrs Newman was inspected & Mrs Ward gave a demonstration of spinning.

Sep 5: 16 names of members wishing to joining the Dramatic & Singing Classes, 10 for joining the National Savings. Talk by Miss Clay of Meldreth on ‘Plays & why they are played’. Haslingfield WI asked Harston WI if they would join them for their next social in Sep.

Oct 3. Miss Greene in chair read out resignation of Mrs Young as President. Recitation by Mrs Whitchurch ‘Grannie goes to the Pictures’.

Nov 7 Dr Young gave talk on ‘care of the eyes’. Mrs Young who had to resign through ill-health presented with Silver Lauree? Boat & many roses & chrysanthemums from members’ gardens.

Dec elections:
President Miss Helen Greene
Vice Presidents Miss Young & Mrs Ayres
Hon Sec Miss Clark
Hon Treasurer Mrs Karlstroom
Hon Ass’t Sec Miss Hurrell


Feb Discussion about destruction of unturnable/unhernable? rubbish. British Legion meeting in Village Hall Feb 15 & hoped for good attendance. Suggestion box idea- 5 minute demo on ‘Right-Wrong way to visit a sick person. Opportunity of seeing specimen of Miss Lawrance’s work for the Queen’s quilt- Harston had done their share.

March talk by Mr J C Coke F.S/G?.S. on Tea growing & Tea making’ + lantern slides.

April Collected 240 eggs for Addenbrookes hospital.

May 1 talk by Sir David Barker RD. R.N.R on ‘The Carrier of our food, the Merchant Service’. Members of Hauxton WI gave a sketch ‘Patricia & Pranks’.

June 5 meeting held in Studio of Harston House – not garden as wet.

Jul 3 meeting in Mrs Hurrell’s garden – good weather. Talk by Dr Philip on Tuberculosis. Butterfly hunt.

Aug 7 in Mrs Rowley’s garden – cold weather so lower attendance than usual. Demonstration of summer rose pruning by Miss Greene. Miss Fabb gave talk on ‘Constituents of our food’. Aug 21 half day visit to Bedford. Question of going to zoo discussed – Sir Graham Greene kindly obtained some free passes. Took names wishing to go.

Sep 4. Rubbish collection to be on Sep 30.
Letter from Addenbrookes thanks for potatoes & vegetables. Talk by Mrs Marriott of the Selborne? Society on Sugar & sugar growing. Social half hour provided by Trumpington WI- plays/sketches.

Oct 2. Started with 2 community songs. The talk by Miss Greene describing Coffee Farm in Brazil + lantern slides. Lantern lent by Newton WI worked by Ron Bass. Manaquin parade for dress costing less than 10/-. Competition best home made sweets. Sweets sold for the Fund. Play by schoolchildren.

Nov 6. Members night- Mrs Cator occupied the chair. To have exhibition of antiques in New Year meeting. Talk & demo on ‘Care of the hair’ by Madame Perigord?

Dec talk on ‘The Home curing of Bacon by Mrs Victor Lawrance. Officers elected:
President Miss H Greene
Vice Presidents Miss Hurrell & Mrs Lugham
Hon Sec Miss Clarke
Hon Treasurer Mrs Kalstroom
Hon Ass’t Sec Mrs Barker

This page was added on 05/12/2019.

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