Harlow Women's Institute

Member of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes
Charity Registration Number 228992

Friday, 20 April 2018

Saturday Coffee Mornings

As well as the annual Charity Coffee Morning, which this year is on Saturday 12 May, Harlow WI has decided to open the WI Hall on one Saturday each month for an informal coffee morning.  It will generally be on the third Saturday of each month and the Hall will be open from 10 am until noon for anyone who would like to come in for a sit-down and a cup of coffee.  There will be no entrance fee and a small charge for coffee and biscuits. 

There will usually be a table of donated books and goods for sale - items available will vary according to the season and what people donate.

Why not come along and have a look?  The first one is tomorrow - Saturday 21 April - and doors will open at 10 am.  You'll be very welcome.

Monday, 16 April 2018

April - and Spring at last?

After a long and dreary winter, it is delightful to feel the temperature rising and a little less rain.  The Spring flowers are fully into their stride after a hesitant start, and the birds are busy nest-building.

Since the last posting in January, Harlow WI has enjoyed an excellent talk on "Nature through the Seasons" by Roger Hance in February, and a very pleasant social afternoon in March under the banner of "Members Day".

Richard Thomas

The talk at the April meeting was entitled "A Day in the Life of a Tug" and was given by Richard Thomas, who spent twenty years on Thames tugboats.  Days on the tug were long - 6 o'clock in the morning until 10 at night, with exact timings depending on the tide.  It was a surprise to learn that the barges being towed downriver were full of rubbish!  This was collected from various points serving the busiest areas of London (Canary Wharf, the city, Westminster, etc) and towed downriver to the rubbish disposal plant at Mucking in Essex.  When empty, the barges were returned for refilling. 
Today's fleet of barges is smaller and sleeker and infinitely more powerful than the ones Richard worked on, and the disposal of rubbish at Mucking is now dealt with by state-of-the-art technology.  At the end of his very informative and well-illustrated talk, Richard was thanked by Jean Finch.

The competition, which was for "a boat memento", attracted many entries varying from a model yacht to an Airfix kit of the Titanic, via several nautical photographs and painted plates.  The winner was Linda Mitchell.

Thursday, 11 January 2018


Despite a rather low attendance due to post-Christmas coughs, colds and the dreaded Australian 'flu, January's meeting was quite a lively affair.  We managed to get through the business matters quite briskly and our speaker, Keith Lovell, was able to make an early start on his talk "Essex Town and Village Signs".  He provided us with fifty minutes of amusing, interesting and very informative detail on the stories behind the signs.  Village signs often bring together several strands of the history of a place, sometimes mixed with legend and superstition.  Some signs are thoroughly modern or manage to combine the old with the new, particularly if a sign is two-sided when different images may be shown on each side.  In the village of Henham, a dragon-like serpent is shown encircling the village church on the sign; this is based on the reported sighting of such a creature in the 17th C, but may also reflect the stone dragon carved in the village church.  Some Essex villages, despite a wealth of history to draw on, have no village sign.  However, in recent years the number of town and village signs in the County has been increasing and is now in the region of two hundred and ninety-nine.  Some are erected by councils, some are sponsored, some privately funded.   Mr Lovell was happy to digress when the mood took him, so we learned several things not covered by the title of the talk. 

At the conclusion of his talk, he was thanked by Belinda Murray. 

Winning entry shown on the left


The competition for the month - a 'village sign scene' was won by Jenny Ford with a picture of a familiar Cornish sign - Land's End

At teatime, we were delighted to receive cake instead of biscuits, courtesy of a member's New Year offering. 

It was a busy meeting for the officers of the WI as it was subscription renewals time as well as the occasion for casting a vote for our choice of the Resolution to be debated at the NFWI Annual Meeting in Cardiff in June.  There was a choice of five possible subjects, ranging from modern slavery to oral health.  There was nothing this year about the environment, although this is quite likely to come up as a possible for 2019

Harlow WI is holding a Grand Jumble Sale on Saturday 20 January from 10 am until 2 pm at the WI Hall, Garden Terrace Road, Old Harlow, CM17 0AT.  Entry is free and refreshments will be available to purchase.  Come along and pick up a bargain!

Friday, 8 December 2017

and to prove it ............

                     Photographs of the lovely Lunch and the entertainment

Before ........

...... and after

The power of music!