1950-59 Records of WI members' monthly meetings

Hilary Roadley and Janet Birchmore from WI record books


January  – Rug making class to begin. Thanks to Mrs J Lawrance for the gift of a tray.

February– suggestion members turn up in force at next Parish Council meeting so that a resolution for better drainage and lighting could be sent to Chesterton Rural District Council. Appeal for tinfoil, milk bottle tops and for spare magazines for the forces by WVS. Talk by Mrs Pemberton ‘visits to Denmark’ (one visit by 52 WI members).

March  – members encouraged to go to Parish Council AGM to show support for better drainage, lighting and bus service.

April  – proposed outing to Royal Mint and Tower of London.

May  – collection for British Sailors Society in Harston. Talk by Mrs Peck ‘Days in the life of a mayoress’.

June  – talk by Miss Warrington ‘Today and the world we live in’- ‘members felt what an age of wonder and achievement we lived in and could only hope that all these experiments might be used for mankind and not destruction’.

July  – garden party at the vicarage. Objection made about the advertising board for teas was put on the grass by the memorial, letter to be sent to County Council.

September  – agreed to have house to house collection in aid of St, Dunstan. Talk by Mrs Guest on lampshade making.

October  – letter of sympathy to be sent to the Greenes on the death of Sir Graham Greene. Talk by Mr Seddon on ‘Can we cope with rising prices’

November  – WI piano sold for £10. Talk by Mrs Shufflebottom om ‘Little England beyond Wales’

December  – talk, film shown by Ministry of Information,  ‘the common cold’, ‘that nice cup of tea’ and ‘ food poisoning’.


January– dress making classes to begin. Talk by Miss Barr ‘drama’. Few members at the meeting due to bad weather.

February – talk by Mr Dunlop ‘Can we cope with rising prices’ , he suggested work more hours and put more work into these hours and have more production to sell over seas.

March  – announced outing to ‘Festival of Britain’ in June. Notice given next member to be held in the garden of ‘The Limes’.

April  – talk by Mr Peacock ‘Life in Burma’. Collection of eggs for Addenbrookes.

May  – whist drive held at ‘The Limes’ in aid of the Deaf Society and raised £3.18.9.

June  – £8.6.0 collected in the village for British Sailor’s Society.

July  – agreed to employ a man to tend to the war memorial when members were unable to do it. AGM in London, Lady Tansleysoke about the ‘Guild of Learners’ which is open to all WI members and numerous handicrafts can be learnt.

September 1951 – speaker ‘Why we pay rates’ unable to attend but her sister spoke about travel.

October 1951 – talk by Mrs Weightman ‘Prison life’ of women prisoners in Holloway jail.

November 1951 – talk by Mrs Peck ‘Christmas memories’.

December 1951 – Appeal for books for the troops. Miss Hurrell led a debate on ‘It is better to talk too much than too little’. 


January  – whist drive raised £6.6.0 for St. Dunstan.

February  – no meeting because of the death of King George 6th.

March  – Agreed outing to Norwich which included a tour round Colman’s factory. Agreed to hold a whist drive in aid of Addenbrookes Radio Fund.

April– arranged a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show cost 9/-. Talk by Doctor Young ‘ Changes in medicine during the past 100 years’, stressing the improved conditions of today were brought about by the growth of knowledge in medicine, physical science, chemistry and biology. 73 eggs collected for the hospital and large box of tinfoil.

May  – Talk by Miss Payne ‘work of Dr. Barnada’s Homes’ who stressed the importance of suitable foster parents for the children.

June  – Talk and demonstration about ‘Hoover washing machine’.

July  – Talk by Dr Walker ‘Blood Transfusion’.

September  – Talk and film by Miss Larter ‘use of solid fuel cookers’.

October  – Talk by Miss Lucy Smith ‘Baghdad and her time with 3 Moslem princesses.

November– Talk and demonstration of cake making by members of Eastern Electricity Board.

December  – Talk by Mrs Tunkentine ‘weather and superstitions and old tales’. Announced Harston to be attached to Great Shelford, Little Shelford, Stapleford and Thriplow W.I.’s.


January – craft classes to start in January.

February 1953 – money £6.13.6 sent to St. Dunstan’s. Talk by Rev. Gibbon ‘a state in South America, where she lived for some years as a missionary. She showed clothing and utensils made by the natives.

March  – guests invited from ‘over sixties’ club. Agreed an outing to Whipsnade Zoo, calling at a factory on the way. Agreed a donation to the Coronation Committee.

April  – outing to Whipsnade, going to Hatfield House instead of a factory. 46 eggs collected for Addenbrookes. Appeal for sorters of gift clothing for flood relief. Talk by Mrs Mitchell ‘Durham College’.

May  – raffle tickets to be sold in aid of Cambs and Isle of Ely Agricultural Show. Talk by Mrs Marshall ‘this sense of humour’. Film shown on road safety.

June  – talk by Miss Sertry? ‘flower arranging’.

July  – agreed to send resolution to Annual Council meeting ‘manufacturers to increase supplies of special fittings of childrens’ shoes and sandals for broad and narrow feet. Talk by Miss Rundell ‘bottling fruit by pressure cooker’.

September  – resolution about shoe fitting rejected. Talk by Mrs Peck, who gave out 20 questions about the WI, after members answered them, she gave full explanations of the answers.

October  – members asked if they would like to have ‘letter friends’ from America as part of Overseas Links. Talk by Mr. Shoote, headmaster Harston school, on ‘Education’.

November– letter received from WI president in Malaya stating they would be pleased to receive a parcel of various small needlework articles.

December  – talk by Miss Lucie Smith ‘Persia’.


January  – dress making class to begin. Talk by Rev. Garett Jones ‘life of a hospital padre’.

February– talk by Miss Marshall ‘Finland’ where she had lived for 6 years.

March – St Dunstan collection £5.1.6. Letter to be written to Parish Council about the open drain running through the Main street and time it was piped.

April  – letter to Chesterton Rural Council about piping the drain. Agreed a bursary to a member who wishes to go on a course at Denman College. Talk by Mr Pateman ‘superstitions’explaining where they originated. Motto for the year ‘the best way to kill time is by working it to death’.

May  – letter from Chesterton Rural Council stating arrangements had been made for regular and adequate cleaning of the drain. Wi to check this is done. Talk by Mr. Cramp ‘gardening’.

June – members asked for gifts for a lucky draw at the ‘Heating Fund Garden Party’ to be held at Colonel Hurrell’s. W.V.S. urged members to collect milk bottle tops. Talk by Mrs. Dorothy Hon ‘Malaya – climate and customs’ dresses from the country were shown.

July – Mrs Armstrong to hold the W.I. garden fete in her garden. Talk by Miss Hutchinson ‘child psychology’ stressing that home love and security played very important part of a child’s life.

September – new tablecloth and the badge to be embroidered on by Mrs Kendon. Talk by Miss Rundle ‘winemaking’.

October –  no talk but musical group of Mr. & Mrs. Moore and family giving a performance of 18th centuary music, mainly Handel and Mozart.

November   – talk by Mrs Mitchell, lantern slides ‘Switzerland’.

December– agreed to send a resolution to the spring Council meeting, namely ‘that children on buses with ½ fares should not occupy seats if adults were standing’. Talk and demonstration by Mrs Fawcett ‘Patchwork’.


January – Donation to village hall fund. Agreed letter to be sent to Parish Council asking for 3 litter receptacles for the village. British Transport Commission showed 2 films ‘Devon and Cornwall’ and ‘The Channel Islands’.

February – Talk and demonstration by Mr and Mrs Harvey ‘Old Time Dancing’,  members joining in. President asked members if they wanted to form a drama group, Mrs Armstrong consented to help.

March – Birthday Night, entertainment by W.I. drama group, produced by Mrs Armstrong.

April – A.G.M. Motto chosen ‘Plan your work, then work your plan’. Egg collection for Addenbrookes. Talk by Mrs Armstrong ‘Visit in an ice-breaker to the Arctic Circle and further North’.

May – talk by Policeman Willis ‘Training work in the Police Force’.

June – talk by Mrs Peacock ‘Life in Burma’ showing examples of Burmese carvings, silverware and illustrations of typical scenes. Questions about Postal Service discussed 1) Times of collection posted inside the Post Office and not on the post box outside, 2) Police will always deliver an urgent message on Sunday after 12pm when telegrams are not delivered, 3) Secretary to write to Postmaster of Cambridge to ask for a stamp machine.

July – Agreed to ask Postmaster service if Miss Rodwell could sell stamps in her shop. Mrs Armstrong to take names of volunteers for baby minding. Talk and demonstration by Miss Rodwell ‘Recovering Eiderdowns’. Volunteers needed for cancer charity funds.

September – Miss Rodwell given permission to sell stamps. Discussion on the dolls that had been sent from our W.I. link in Malaya. Arrangements for outing to ‘Lyons’. Talk by Matron of Addenbrookes.

October – Harvest Supper. Mr Parish showed a Road Safety film, followed by ‘Welcome the Queen’.

November– letter offering free of charge, 3 x1/2 hour films of Queen’s Tour, secretary to acquire them. Announcement, stall on Cambridge Market for Displaced Persons of Europe. Talk by Mr R. Gittings ‘Writing Plays for the 1957 Festival’.

December – moment silence in memory of Mrs Farrington. Three short talks on ‘Christmas in other Lands’, Switzerland, New Zealand and plantation in India.


January – Talk by Dr Lingdren ‘Reindeer in Lapland’ showing a coloured film.

February – Details of a trip to Cadbury’s. Miss Fitt to represent W.I. on the Horticultural Committee. Talk by Mr Roberts, Master of Pembroke College, ‘Showing visitors Cambridge’.

March – letter from Educational Authority, only children in the catchment area could attend Sawston Village College irrespective of the Primary School attended. Talk and 2 films shown by Mr Parrish ‘Quen’s New Zealand Tour’.

April A.G.M. Rescinded the Bye-law that only Harston residents to be members of their W.I. and the need to have 10 people to enter a competition. Mrs Shoote to continue as President. Motto ‘The Happiness of tomorrow depends on the deeds of today’. Talk by Miss Nicholls ‘Work of a Magistrate’.

May – Mrs Parsley offered  a conductored tour of Fulbourn Hospital and would arrange transport. 108 eggs for Addenbrookes. Talk by Rev. Crowle-Smith ‘Work of the Marriage Council’.

June – introduction of ‘The Blessing Box’ for members to give money to buy gifts for the sick when garden flowers not available. Mrs Passley appealed for old clothes, books and magazines for Fulbourn patients. Talk by Miss Lucia-Smith ‘Moslem Customs’.

July – agreed to read out members names willing to stand on the committee before an election. Potato Scheme discontinued. Talk by Mr Frank Whitaker, solicitor of Country Life, ‘Newspapers: Compilation and Printing’.

September – Mrs Armstrong appealed for greater support for members for the Drama Group, with a view to entering two plays for the WI Drama Festival in 1957. Village Hall Committee asked if W.I. could run a stall at the Fair in September in aid of the children’s recreation ground fund. Talk by Mr Haywood, clerk to the Chesterton Rural District, ‘The work done by Rural and Parish Councils’.

October – Harvest supper entertainment by some members. Talk by Mr Peachley, representing the National Farmers Advisory Service, ‘Modern Farming Methods’.

November – Mrs Walsh endeavouring to launch a local Savings Group on behalf of the W.V.S. Talk by Mr Barker ‘Joints of Meat for the Family’.
December – reminder demonstration by Miss Serbil of ‘Icing a Christmas Cake’. Mr Parsley played the piano with members singing.


January – talk by Dr. Clarke ‘Dirt’. Mr A Lawrance showed coloured photographs  of ‘Cambridgeshire, Switzerland, Germany and other places of interest.

February – arrangements made to see Cinderella on ice. Reminder to book seats to the County Drama Competition when Harston was taking part. Letter from Malayan link, two members hoping to come to study W.I. methods in England and hope to come to Harston. Talk by Dr Clark ‘Fulbourn’.

March – Birthday Night, entertainment by Harston W.I. with a home-made ‘Pantomime’. Agreed to pay expenses incured for W.I. activities eg drama, village scapbook.

April – A.G.M. Announced children’s playground to be opened by Easter. Egg collection to be sent to Chesterton Hospital. Talk by Mrs Hall V.C.O.  ‘Consultative Council’. Mrs Shoote to be President again. Miss Smith reported on her visit to the Home for the Elderly, Langdon House, which W.I. had contributed to.

May – thanks from Chesterton Hospital. Talk by Mrs Honpard? ‘Village Scapbook’ produced by Goudhurst W.I. and featured on a T.V. Programme.

June – appeal to members to support a Savings Group. Talk by Mr Theobald ‘Dress making’ explaining the merits and snares of the new man-made fabrics. Agreed a resolution, in the interests of road safety, the authority should prevent and discourage the riding of horses in public thoroughfares after lighting up time without some form of illumination.

July – talk by Miss Ryder ‘The Romance of the Seed Packet’. Outing to Cadby Hall discussed.

September – letter from Parish Council regarding Harston road names that nothing could be done until the government agreed the expense. Talk by Miss Nicholson ‘Corsetry’.

October – Harvest Supper entertained by members reading an amusing verse about the proposed village scapbook. Talk by Rev. Armstrong ‘Nature Through the Year’.

November – proposed shopping trip to London. Talk by the Head Postmaster ‘The work of the Post Office’.

December – talk by Mrs Ayliffe ‘Christmas in Malaya’.


January – thanks from Fulbourn  Hospital giving grateful acknowledgement for the proceeds of the Social Evening. Talk by Mr Silk ‘Life in Africa’ giving broader picture of nature of ways of living, trading and shopping.

February – film and talk by Mr Lloyd Chapman of Eastern Electricity Board, ‘Bride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Way of a Boat’.

March – Birthday Night entertainment by Trumpington W.I. ‘The Roaring Twenties’.

April – A.G.M. Agreed to collect in the village for the ‘King George’s Fund for Sailors’. Motto ‘If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all’. New president Mrs Stearn.

May – talk by Miss Robinson, Matron of Papworth Hospital, ‘Treatment of Tubercular Patients’, including research work details of Papworth Industries’.

June – congratulations to members whose handicraft work is to be exhibited in the Examination School Cambridge. Talk by Mrs Amey, former Mayoress of Cambridge, ‘Term of Office during Coronation Years’.

July – garden fete to be held at Harston House, members to supply food. Talk by Mr Frank Walker ‘ Home Decoration’.

September – donation of £8 to village hall. Talk by Miss Jones ‘World Government’.

October – harvest supper entertained by Henry Lunn travel agency ‘Meditterranean Countries’.

November – talk by Miss Stokes of Yardleys ‘Skin Care and Make-up’.

December – appeal for small gifts for patients in Harston Ward at Chesterton Hospital. Talk by Mrs Bowden ‘Decorations for Christmas’.


January – talk by Mrs Ayliffe ‘Foreign Travel’ including Hong Kong, Penang and Niagara Falls.

February – talk by Mrs White ‘N.S.P.C.C.’ descibing hardships and cruelty endured by a number of children. Agreed to arrange outing to London Airport.

March – 40th Birthday Night entertainment by the ‘Post Office Telephone Opera Group’. 2 members performed a sketch ‘ Housewives Choice’.

April – talk by Mrs Hall ‘W.I. Procedures’. Collection of eggs and tinfoil.

May – London Airport visit cancelled, not enough support, theatre visit proposed instead. Talk by Miss Porter from County Folk Museum, ‘Witchcraft’.

June – talk by Mrs Saville Peck ‘Beginnings of the W.I.’.

July – A letter was read from the Parish Council stating that there would be no objection to the WI approaching the appropriate bodies directly concerning the dangerous roads in the Village due to fast moving traffic and inadequate warning notices in the village. Talk by Miss Childs ‘Ideas for Picnics’.

September – letter from Parish Council informing W.I. could directly send to appropriate bodies concerning the dangerous roads. Talk by Albert Lawrance with coloured slides, part of which was in the form of a quiz.

October – harvest supper entertainment by Mr Jarvis and holiday slides by Mr and Mrs Wilson of Barley.

November – talk by Mr Brown ‘Gems, Stones and Jewels’ a large collection was shown.

December – members asked to knit squares for blankets for ‘World Refugee Year’ in 1960. Talk by Mr Sharp ‘Children’s Paintings’.











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