1930 -39 Records of WI members' monthly meetings

Hilary Roadley and Janet Birchmore from WI record books

Monthly WI meetings minutes were held in village Hall mostly at 6.30pm apart from in summer when they were often held in a large garden, weather permitting.


Jan – application for Singing Class could not be vauted – from Miss Warrington – application made in Sep for another year.
Sugar Club suggested but no-one wanted one.

Feb –  letter re training for Nurses in connection with County Nursing Association.
Drama competition at the Festival Theatre.
1st Collection for Addenbrookes was £32.
Public meeting I connection with League of Nations.
WI to support Bill for Humane Slaughter of Animals shortly to come before Parliament.
Mrs Evans from Savag? Hill gave talk on ‘Behind the Scenes in Broadcasting – from pioneer days to present time- illustrated with lantern slides.

March- competition – great many entries of bottled fruit. Exhibition of village ‘antiquities’ –many exhibits. April 250 eggs collected & sent for Addenbrookes

May- after flower competition the flowers were sent to Addenbrookes.

June meeting Proposed outing to Ipswich for Woolsey pageant cost c 8/6 including entrance fee and bus fare. Proposed visit to Cambridge Colleges on 13 June conducted by Miss Nicholls & Miss Greene.
Rubbish collection June 29.

July- Rural Community Council offered visit by the Road Players if £5 in ticket money collected- decided to delay for while as already got many fixtures. Jumble sale in aid of nursing association. Discussed taking part in in Agricultural & Horticultural shows in 1931. Wedding cake of new bride Mrs Webb given out.
Talk on ‘keeping & culling of fowls’ by Mr Robinson. (County Poultry Instructor).

Aug – £11 made from jumble sale for Nursing Association.
Thriplow WI gave competition play ‘Missed the train’.

Sep –  began with singing Jerusalem & the Rubbish song. Miss H Greene talk c visit to Sweden. Vegetable competition then sold for Funds. Hauxton gave their competition play ‘The Village Shop’- well acted.


March –  talk cancelled on ‘Cleaning & Pressing Family wardrobe’ instead talk on Palestine.

April – Discussion ‘are we better off now or before the war. 10 voted pre war, 9 post war.
220 eggs to Addenbrookes. Talk on Bury St Edmunds- next annual outing to go there.. Last month on Cambridge life, etc.

July- talk by Miss Lavin- exercise & its benefits’.

Aug – Miss Lavin took members in a Physical Drill.

Sep – talk on Charles Dickens. Sketch by Miss Dorothy Wilson.

Oct –talk on elocution. Home-made sweets competition.

Nov – large number wanted to enter singing competition. Talk by Mr Hutchinson on ‘Mesopotamia’.+ lantern slides.

Dec – County Whist Drives gave £146.12.5 to Federation Funds. Miss Greene still President elected. Chutney competition. Dr Young talk on Foods in Illness & in Health.


Feb appeal for money for wireless set for Oakington isolation hospital from Chesterton RDC. Miss Greene lantern slides on ‘Some interesting landmarks in London’.

March open talk by Dr Canvey? On ‘Cancer and the importance of early treatment’.

April – members of the Drama Class gave a very amusing play. 188 eggs to Addenbrookes.

May 192 eggs to Addenbrookes. Mrs Bennett spoke a few words on the Marketing Scheme, then gave talk on ‘The English House’. Social half provided by members of the Girls Club.

June Talk by Mrs Gray? On her visit to India + photos & exhibits. Harston came second in community singing competition, 1 vote behind winners. 11 Institutes in finals. (Singing Certificate exhibited in Oct)

Gardens of Harston House 2015

Gardens of Harston House 2015

July in Miss H Greene’s garden (see photo). Gave talk on Jewels with painted illustrations by Miss Edwards.

Aug talk by Mr Paskett? On ‘Cuttings & how to take them’. Paper hat competition.

Sep talk by Dr Young on ‘The common cold & its prevention & treatment’. Miss Greene resigned from collecting National Savings as they could now be paid in at the Post Office. Competition – guessing, and best description of, ‘Illustrated titles of books’ – many entries.

Nov – competition – potatoes by weight (other previous comps – peeling or cooking best potato.) Best drawn cat comp- amusing.

Dec competition – best pot of mincemeat.


Jan talk by Dr Young- first year of the French Revolution.

Feb Canon Baldwin gave 3 scenes from Henry VIII Shakespeare, Julius Caesar & Macbeth. Competition for hand- stitched handkerchief.

Mar comp- best knitted Baby’s Frock

April talk- stencilling by Mrs Hall of Newton. Mrs Lennard announced drama competition results & trphy passed around. Thanks to Mr Lennard for his interest & work in producing 2 competition plays. Competition – lighting most candles with one match. Annual egg collection for Addenbrookes.

May talk on ‘Electricity in Villages’ by member of Electrical Development Association. Addenbrookes had received 225 eggs. Members of Trumpington gave amusing sketch ‘Postal Address’.

June – agreed outing to Whipsnade on July 11 but not enough responded so dropped. Inspector Taggart gave talk on ‘our Women Police’.

Aug Competitions – 12 best sweet peas & Threading needles & Pape Boy Race.

Sep jumble sale for Nursing Association. Honorable Mrs Foraham gave talk on ‘Dogs, our best friends.’ Report on market stall in Cambridge. Old dresses promised for the Festival. Competition- ‘Nanny Leaves’- attractive & interesting.

Dec – Annual meeting held Helen Greene re-elected as President. Of 46 nominated only 19 elected to stand so no need for elections as all declared elected. 3 new members


Jan – New Year Party- all could bring a friend. Community singing, fancy dress parade.Competition – best article made form 1oz of wool.

Feb Members night- Mrs H Lawrance took chair. Community singing- Dialogue entitles ‘the book and the Poet’ and play entitled ‘Out of the frying pan into the fire’ by different members. Lecture & lantern slides by Dr Young on caves in France & Spain. Competitions –Articles from Woolworths & two buttons sewn on pice of material in 5 minutes. National Anthem at end.

March –Community singing practice- a start for competition in May next. Bits-Wits competition. Girls Club to be re-started as a Junior Branch of WI and all present invited to opening evening Mar 13 7-9. For social half hour – entertainment by Concert party from Cambridge.

April- Mr L.ennard thanked those taking part in Hamlet. Nursing Association thanks for £2.2.0 donation and Addenbrookes received 164 eggs. County Fair June & Ipswich Show July mentioned as probable summer outings. Talk on cake making. Competition home-made sweets.

May – Started with Community singing in the Preliminary heat judged by Mr Halt- 5 songs. Mrs Rae death – member for 7 years. Special cookery film & demonstration by Miss Clegg, rep of Messrs Bowicks Baking Powder Manufacturers with competition for cake & 2 prizes given by firm.

June- thanks from Chesterton Union to members who had provided enjoyable entertainment for inmates of that Institution. Lecture by Dr Young on bites & Stings. Comnpetition – sharpening pencils. Small stall for sale of cakes, sweets, etc.

Jul- held in garden of Harston House. Miss Greene proposed as Naval Week that trip to London should be to Chatham instead. Also afternoon excursion to Thaxted. Letter from Guild of fruit preservers concerning vegetable & fruit preserving. Orders for bulbs and fruit trees to be given in now. Tea on lawn. Talk- Colours & why they clash. Competition – best bouquet of sweet smelling flowers. Social half hour- charades. Profit of £/- result of rubbish collection.

Aug- held in Mrs Hurrell’s garden. Apply for a Singing Class & apply for 3 lectures on horticulture by the Federation. Tea under trees. Talk on history of our churches. By Mr Baker.

Sep – agreed to continue with Community singing next year. Put in bulbs now if wished to enter competition next year for best bowl of bulbs. Miss Mary Greene – lecture on Tower of London + picture painted by her + plan+ poem composed by her. Demonstration of scarf making by Miss Ayres. Pressed flowers competition. Girls club entertained with Swedish dances in Swedish costumes.

Oct- film on Social Hygiene to be given in VH. Talk on America. Competition – best homemade loaf of bread.

Nov – talk Prisons of yesterday & today by Mrs Hartree. Girls Club tea dance to be held. Competition – best homemade Xmas present for a child not costing more than 1/-. Meldreth Institute sketch – ‘the Jumble Sale’.

Dec –Annual meeting. Miss Greene unable to stand as President. Thanks to Mr & Mrs Swann for all help they gave thro year. Some member offered to help with the Personal Service League. Miss Clarke voted as President but declined. Mrs Thoday became President.


Jan -Mrs Cater & Northrop managed rubbish collection. Miss Green gave talk on artist Romney.13 members applied for Scotch Seed Potatoes.

Feb – Gift of leather blotter to Helen Greene for her services as President from 1928-1934. Talk by Mrs Stearn of Haslingfield on Sudan & showed several leather articles made by natives.

April- singing of competition song- ‘the Ploughboy’. Thanks from Personal Service League for parcel of clothing made & forwarded. Lecture by Dr Palmer on Cambridgeshire Villages.

May – 283 eggs to Addenbrookes.Demonstration by Mr Shalliman? On ‘the Darling Washer’. Outing to Colchester agreed. Competition – best pot of lemon curd. Sketch by 2 County school boys – Ronbald Lawrance & Lawson Palmer. Game- putting the baby to bed.

June- display given by infants of Council schools.

July = met in Miss Greene’s garden. Lecture on Japan by Miss Hughes of her 9 years living there. Pastoral play- the Lace maker- written by Miss Greene was performed by members & some children.

Aug- meeting held in Mrs young’s garden.

Nov- parcel to Personal service League. Talk by Dr Young + lantern slides on his holiday in Morocco.

Dec- half of proceeds from concert allocated to Nursing Association. Mrs Thoday as President. Miss Clark Hon Sec. Hon treasurer = Miss White; Mis H Greene & Mrs bissecker Vice presidents. Competition – Baked apple dumplings.


Jan – competition – best funny stories. Treasure Hunt & word making.

Feb – miss Greene won 1st prize for Harston with her collection of Village Tales- prize £3 donated to funds. Lecture on ‘Witchcraft’ by Mr Royston. Competition – guessing Christian names. Play written & produced by Helen Greene- ‘the Princess & the Troll’ acted by junior members of WI.

March – talk by Mr Pemberton- WIs and Co-operation – addressing value of good fellowship & helping hands among the members.

April- demo of Singers electrical sewing machine. Competition – best poy of marmalade. 270 eggs for addenbrookes annual collection.

May – talk by Dr Robinson of Cambridge on food Value of milk- and care taken in preservation Of cleanliness & hygiene in production & distribution. Competition – best worked buttonhole.

July – held at Harston House. About 60 gathered in Studio after tea to hear folk songs in English, French, German by Miss Helen Heuschell- presented with bouquet by little Betty Bass. Demonstration of Rhythmatic exercises by 9 Students under direction of Miss Florence Luvin from the Mackenzie School.

Aug- classes agreed for winter- Rugmaking and Community Singing. Sponge sandwich competition.Social half hour arranged by Mrs Bass & Mrs Topham = a Dickens play & games by members of Fowlmere WI .

Sep – Whist Drive 1/- & buy own refreshments. Demonstration on Rugmaking by Mrs Bernard Jackson- various methods & patterns with specimens shown. Names handed in for class.

Oct- 17 names for Singing Class, 10 for rugmaking. Potatoes judged. Competition- best tray of vegetables. Chardes, games, etc.

Nov – talk by Dr Young – Stars & their courses. Harston won best tray of veg at Newton meeting. Competition- best sentences of ten words each to commence with letter T. (previously other word games.)Mrs Lennard & Miss Clarke put on 2 plays- a tragedy – A Story of the Paris Commune’ & comedy The lady who never made a mistake’. Mrs Lennard wrote & produced the plays. Mrs Whitchurch, Mrs Barker, Mrs Hutchinson, miss Hurrell, Mrs Bass & Miss Joyce Smith took part.

Dec – annual meeting. Helen Greene in chair, Mrs Thoday treasurer. Competition – 3 minute speeches – whether preferred to be a boy or girl & their preferences for town or country life.Miss H Greene elected President of Committee for 1937. Vice Presidents- Mrs Lennard & Mrs Kalstrom, Hon Sec- Miss Clarke, treasurer Miss White.


Jan Rubbish collection Jan 8th, singing classes to start, Personal Service League meeting on 12. Amount of Collection for King George Memorial Fund was £5.9.2 and amount realised at the Social was £24.9.3 for the Nursing Association. Lecture on birds and their songs given by Mr Kendon illustrated by lantern slides & gramophone. Competition – best dish made with apples. Social half hour – conjuring tricks by Mr Pratt.

Feb- Mrs Pemberton letter re Spring Market – Feb 27 – urged to support. £20 fund in bank for while – proposed to spend on:£5 for Coronation festivities, £5 towards repair of Village Hall roof, £5 to WI expenses- special lecturer fees, etc & £5 kept in bank for special emergencies. Humorous sketch ‘Henry Viii and Katherine Parr’ presented by Mr & Mrs R Kittings, Mrs F Brittain, Mr Charles Wilson. Latter also gave violin recitals. Comp- best cooked dish of sprouts. Mrs K/Newport Wilson gave talk on her travels to South Africa.

Mar- talk by Mrs Tamplin on Elizabeth Fry. Comp- best hot water bottle cover. Problem play written by Mr Lennard – ‘Where lies the blame?’ – audience to give their opinion- acted by Misses Hurrell, Symes, Hayes Smith& Mr Featonley? Smith & Comedy ‘The Marvels of Science’ by Mesdames Bass, Cater, Lawrance, L Northrop, Welch, Whitchurch & Miss P Whitchurch.

April- Mrs Dareus & Mrs Rogers provided Social half hour- songs & recitations & Community singing lead by Mrs Dareus. Talk by Mrs Wiltimens? – the lives & habits of natives in Nigeria where she had lived + specimens of handicrafts passed round. Comp- best supper dish costing no more than 6d. Jumble sale open to non-members. 212 eggs & large box of primroses collected for Addenbrookes to be delivered by Mrs Bissecker.

May Notices: monthly Group meeting at Newton, Council meeting at Cambridge, exhibitors of pictures reminded to send in. Letter read re the Boarding Out of some London children- requested names of anyone offering for this. Community Songs-including ‘the Song of the Music Makers’. Talk by Miss Clay on ‘How the King is crowned’. Questionnaire comp. Treasure hunt- treasure was new George VI penny for every member.

June-Fruit Preservation classes to start. 7 or 8 Community songs practised – lead by Mrs Dareus. Talk & photographs by Mrs Humphrey on Labrador – on her life while living there. Comp- best arrangements of button hole of flowers in 10 minutes. Comp- 26 bags to guess.

July Meeting in harston House garden. Proposed outings to Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn & to Chivers factory during strawberry season. Committee selected for Members night in august- Miss Buck hofer, Miss Mumford, Mrs Impey, Mrs C Northrop, Mrs Len Northrop, Mrs Eric Haylock. Comp- best bunch of blue flowers. Tea daintily served on small tables in the Studio. Miss Caistor gave talk and demo on Physical fitness- several members joining with her in the exercises.

Aug – names given in for keep-fit class.Community singing. Talk by Dr Young on food vitamins & slimming. Competitions – best salad, judging the weight of the whole committee and threading needles. Also games.

Sep – notices re classes for Keep-fit, Singing & Percussion Band- latter hoped to arrange. Applications for fruit trees to be sent in & Seed Potatoes grown by members to be brought to hall for exhibition Oct 10th. Lecture by Mr W P Baker on Oliver Cromwell. Comp- guessing members from early photos.

Oct- Whist Drive )ct, Keep fit classes to start. Community singing led by Mrs Dareus. Members divided into groups to discuss suggestions for next year’s programme- useful & amusing.Comp- best made article for 3d won by Miss White who made a ‘Radio Times’ Cover. Potatoe exhibition best for Harston so far – Mrs Cater’s exhibit of Majestic came first. Me Boulton was the judge.

Nov – 2 resolutions read out to be sent to next council meeting were ‘Destruction of Rats and Wayside advertisements’. Both accepted. Letter sent to Capt Briscoe asking for his support of the cheap Milk Bill. Vote taken on suggestion that the August meeting be dropped- carried unanimously. Dr Young gave talk on ‘Air raids & what they mean’. Comp- for greatest number of words ending in ‘tion’. Asocial half houre arranged by Mrs Whitchurch & Mrs Barker included progression whist & competitions. Meeting preceded by jumble sale at 5.30.

Dec- Annual meeting. death of Mrs Badcock, one of oldest members- since commencement. Thanks to committee and Mr & Mrs Swan for help given in managing the Teas & the room. £5 in bank & balance of 7/4. Illustrated talk by Miss Greene on Clouds with sketches & quotations. Comp- best motto for next year. Prize for most entries in competitions through year. Percussion Band accompanied the Singing.
New Committee elected for 1938 were: Mrs Barker, Mrs Bissecker, Mra Cater, Miss Clarke, Mrs Cowley, Miss Forde, Miss Gill, Miss H Greene, Mrs Hays, Miss Hurrell, Mrs Kendon, Mrs V Lawrance, Mrs Lennard, Mrs Morely, Mrs C Northrop, Mrs Rich, Miss N? Smith, Mrs Whitchurch, Miss White. Miss Greene again to be President.Hon Sec Miss Clarke, Hon Treasurer Miss White.


January– keep fit class and rubbish collection to begin.
Outing organised to Chivers. Talk by Lindgren on ‘Reindeer Tungrus? Women’ with slides and film. Play by members written by Miss Greene, singing and games.

February – Mrs Saville ‘book talk’. Tea supplied by ‘Brook Bonds’ explanation of how to make tea.

March – 220 eggs and primroses collected for Addenbrookes

May – trip to Bournville organised. Talk by Mrs Harvey on ‘American next day cookery’.

June – W.I. to ask how they could help the rally to be held in Trumpington. Talk by P. Barker ‘Richard Jefferies’.

July– Talk by Mr Royston on ‘things ? like Women’s Institute to do’. Suggestions made 1) help young people in their leisure, 2) reform juvenile courts, 3) children should be sent to bed earlier.

September – talk by Miss Warrington ‘work of the Rural Community Council.

October – talk by Mary Greene ‘life of James Bundley’. Suggestion to have home nursing class.

November – talk by Miss Preedy ‘the village and it’s school’. Play produced by Mr Lennard.

December – invitation received from ‘the Personal Service League’ (set up to provide a useful and sympathetic service of support that gave help and encouragement to the unemployed). Talk by Dr Young ‘Napoleon’. Play by school children produced by Mrs Pluck, then games.


January – talk on home nursing and first aid by Mrs Lennard. Games and recitations. Competition baking a cake.

February – Volunteers asked to help with billeting children if there was a war. Wanted gifts for the Spanish food ship (ship made in Spain for Britain, sailed near Spain during Spanish Civil War). Talk on ‘tinned food’. Games – whist drive, picking up beans with a straw, naming advertisements.

March – Discussion on ‘Criminal Justice Bill’ should corporal punishment be given in the case of offences against women/children. Harston WI only one to apply for litter boxes for village, insurance to be checked. Doctor from Addenbrookes talk on psychiatric clinic. Competition best pot of bulbs.

April – talk ‘cooking of potatoes’ by Miss Clifford. Eggs, tinfoil, flowers and stamps collected for Addenbrookes. Competition ‘best knitted socks’.

May– talk Mrs Gaskell annual resolutions, ‘leaving children alone in a house’ and ‘rear lights for cyclists’. Competition ‘milk’. Play by Hauxton WI.

June– voted to enter drama competition. Talk by Mrs Crutchley ‘work of the film artist’. Competition ‘Definition on games of the WI’ and then dancing.

July – talk report of annual London meeting. Competition ‘best dressed character from fiction. Walk round garden of Harston House.

October – meeting held in the afternoon in Miss Greene’s studio due to the war crisis. Letter from Broadcasting House giving names of first people to have seed potatoes and sugar for preserving. Talk by Dr Young ‘I didn’t think’. Competition ‘writ a short story’. Game ‘beetle drive’.

November – set up monthly meeting with ‘league of prayer’. Arranged to help knitting for the Forces. Competition ‘guessing what was in the parcel’ and ‘smelling bottles’.

December – talk by Mr Lemmands ‘Allies in the war’. Agreed to hold a whist drive for funds for knitting wool. Competition’ Christmas stocking’. Game hide and seek.

This page was added on 05/12/2019.

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