Harlow Women's Institute

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

Thursday 15 February 2024


 Because of a variety of seasonal ailments, only twenty members and two visitors attended the February meeting.  The good news is that both visitors are planning to join the WI.

After Jerusalem and the President’s greeting, the business of the meeting (minutes and announcements) proceeded briskly, and then the speaker was introduced.  Susan Widlake runs Mill House Millinery which makes bespoke hats and fascinators.  As well as bringing a selection of hats to display, Susan talked enthusiastically about her life and how she turned an interest in millinery into a successful business.   She has often been the subject of magazine articles and is sometimes asked to lend pieces for exhibition.  She went through the making of a hat step by step and then showed each of us how to make a small ‘lily’ ornament, suitable for attaching to a headband.  This proved remarkably straightforward, even for the most fumble-fingered of us!  She also showed us how to reduce the size of a too-large hat by using padding in discreet places.  Her talk was enjoyed by everyone, and much close interest was shown in the hats on display.  

After the tea interval, the raffle was drawn and the competition judged.  After a quick reminder about forthcoming events, the National Anthem was sung, and the President wished everyone a safe journey home.  

Tuesday 2 January 2024


 The WI Christmas Lunch, held on the last Wednesday of November, was another triumph for the catering of Mrs Irene Walker and her team.  As last year, we had a buffet which more than satisfied the appetites of members, with enough for some take-home parcels.

The December meeting saw the Bishop’s Stortford Ukulele band entertain a packed hall of members and friends.  They were very well-received and members enjoyed singing along to many old favourites.  

The refreshments for December included mince pies of course, and we all admired the Christmas Tree which had been decorated by committee member Pat Stone.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 10th January at 2pm in the WI Hall.  This will be mainly a social afternoon but we will be discussing and voting on Resolutions - so look out your copy of the November/December WI Life and cut out the voting slip.  (There will be some spare voting papers if you’ve already committed your magazine to the recycling.)  The competition will be for a pretty bracelet.

We apologise for the lack of recent photographs.  This is due to some technical difficulties which we’re trying to overcome.  We’ll keep trying!


Wednesday 8 November 2023

 At today’s meeting of Harlow WI, we were treated to a fascinating talk and demonstration of how to make delightful little boxes and ornate envelopes for small Christmas gifts.  The person showing us how to do this was Karen Odinga, a freelance textile artist.  She came at fairly short notice to replace the original speaker who was not able to fulfil the booking.  Guiding us inch by inch and providing us with card on which she had drawn various outlines for us, we all managed to create a selection of small items suitable for gifts of money or vouchers, sweets or chocolates.  Karen was very ‘hands-on’ and willingly toured the tables helping and advising.  By the end of the afternoon we had a substantial stockpile of Christmas gift containers.  Some of these will be going to the Autumn Bazaar on 18 November.  

There are several events still to come this month - 

    Saturday 18 November is the Autumn Bazaar from 10.30am to 12.30pm.  Admission is £1 and includes a drink and biscuit,  There will be stalls with cakes, raffle, bric-a-brac, gifts, crafts, books, jigsaws, tombola, Christmas items, etc.  Proceeds will go towards roof repairs for the WI Hall.

    Tuesday 21 November is the Activities Afternoon which runs from 1pm until 4 o’clock.  Games, darts, crafts (including advice if wanted), conversation and discussion about books, the media, and the arts - in fact whatever anyone wants to discuss whilst knitting, crocheting, embroidering or just listening and joining in.  Entrance is £3 which includes refreshments, and the afternoon is open to all.  

    Wednesday 29 November is Harlow WI’s Christmas Buffet Lunch, provided as usual by the team from Walker Catering Ltd.  The Hall will be open from 12.30 and lunch will be served at 1pm.


Sunday 17 September 2023


 The meeting on 13 September saw a good turnout of members and visitors.  After Jerusalem and the usual business, with the Minutes from July to remind us of what was going on two months ago, we welcomed the day’s speaker, Liz Huxley.  Her talk, entitled “The Colours of Summer”, was primarily about the birds to be seen around Essex but also included an overview of plants, trees and insects.  An amazing diversity was on show including some rare visitors such as the stilt.  The changing global climate may be playing a part in driving wild-life species to seek fresh pastures.  Members very much enjoyed the talk, and Liz was thanked by Sue Livings.  

Tea, coffee and biscuits were served, giving members a chance to catch up with friends’ news.  The raffle was drawn and the competition (for a small seasonal arrangement in a box) was judged.   President Linda Monk then reminded everyone about forthcoming events, the National Anthem was sung, and we all departed for home.  

Forthcoming Events

    Tuesday 19 September - Activities Afternoon - 1-4pm    Entrance £3

                    This event is open to all.  Come along, play darts and table games, bring your craftwork, discuss books and music, enjoy drinks and biscuits, bring a friend.  

    Wednesday 18 October - Fish & Chip Lunch 12.30 for 1pm    Cost £7.50

                    This event needs to be booked in advance.  Contact  Hazel Quinn on 01279 745145