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!