Harlow Women's Institute

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

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!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Lovely Lunch

Our annual Christmas lunch, attended by thirty-six members, was a great success.

The meal, laid on by Walker Catering Ltd, was enjoyed by all and left us in a pleasantly relaxed mood to enjoy the Harlow Ukulele Band.  Their selection of old favourites had many members dancing in the aisles.  It was nearly 4 o'clock before most of us headed for home, having enjoyed yet another splendid occasion.  Many thanks to the organisers, the caterers, and the band for giving us such a good start to the festive season.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A Busy Time

The last few weeks have been packed with activities, starting on Thursday 26 October when the Cobbin Group Meeting was held at North Weald village hall.  Cobbin Group consists of Church Langley, Hastingwood, North Weald, Roydon Village and Harlow.  Every year, a Group Meeting is held, hosted by each Institute in turn.  The Institutes contribute to the various aspects of the meeting, and this year it was Harlow's turn to man the Market Stall.  The 'produce' for the stall was Mystery Gift Parcels, decoratively wrapped and priced at £1 each.  Such was the demand, that the stall sold out before the meeting was formally opened!  It was a brilliantly entertaining day, with a first-class speaker - Linda Scoles - who made us all laugh.  We enjoyed a good tea, and it was great to meet old friends again and catch up with news.  Next year, we're all off to Hastingwood!

Into November, our regular members' meeting on the 8th heard Mrs Cynthia Ives telling us how to make Christmas crackers and little angels, as well as various other decorative items.   She made it all look so easy that even the most ham-fisted amongst us might be able to manage one or two personally-produced decorations for the festive season.

Then - on Saturday 18th - it was our annual Bazaar.  This was a well-attended event, which saw crowds buying gifts, craft items, books, bric-a-brac (very select stock), guessing the name of the soft toy and, of course, purchasing the must-have WI cakes.  There was a Raffle, and most shoppers stayed to enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit. 

This banner was made by a past President

A well-earned cup of tea and a sit-down

Towards the end of the month, a group of members will be travelling to Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre for a spot of shopping.