Harlow Women's Institute

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

Friday 15 March 2013

The meeting on Wednesday was very well-attended - 49 members and one visitor packed into the Hall.  Despite the fact that there had been no volunteers to run the meeting as Members' Day, the Social Afternoon which was held in its place proved very enjoyable and interesting.

After the usual business of minutes, matters arising, President's and treasurer's remarks, Eleanor Hills - who is Canadian by birth - recalled what it was like growing up there.  The early years of her life were very different from the average English childhood.  She spoke of skiing to school over snow so deep that it buried even the tops of fences, and of harnessing horses for work on the land.  Her family owned a telephone line which was shared with eight other families in the village, each one having a distinctive ring.  Eleanor produced a map of Canada to illustrate its vast size, and pointed out that the air journey from Toronto to Vancouver would take as long as that from Toronto to London.

After this, Jean Wright - dressed in the appropriate period costume - spoke about the opening of the Men's Institute (later the Memorial Club) and the Women's Institute Hall in 1920.  She used contemporary reports of the proceedings, and enlarged upon the background of some of the people who were present.

Members found both these talks very entertaining.  Additionally, there were some shorter readings and Jenny Ford, a new member, read two poems which amusingly illustrated the difficulties of being in loco parentis to a dog.

After tea (superior cakes instead of biscuits), the Raffle was drawn, the competition for a pretty mug judged (picture below), and seven members were presented with Birthday flowers, including the President.

Members felt that the afternoon had been very worthwhile and enjoyable, despite it not being the traditional Members' Day.  

The next meeting will be on 10 April at 2pm.  Mrs Maggie Radcliffe will speak on "Legends of the Silver Screen - Part 1" and the competition will be for "an example of your hobby".

The March meeting was the last of the current financial period.  The AGM will be held on 8 May and nominations are sought for Committee membership.