Ottershaw Women's Institute - a little bit of history taken from our archives

Was founded in May 1933 and the meetings were held in Brook Hall with the idea of catering for the less sophisticated life of a village community.  Handicrafts, recreation and getting together were the main aims.

Members paid a subscription 2s 6d and the hire of the hall cost 3s 9d.

Lack of money meant the were no outings and the highlights were tea parties at large houses, whose owners were members. Women got to the meetings on bicycle or on foot and there were always volunteers for jobs.

When War was declared the group was a ready-made nucleus for an evacuee billeting committee.  

Two days a week were spent jam making to raise funds to buy wool to knit for the forces.  They even had their own allotment to 'Dig for Victory'.

The first President was Lady Whitley and three founder members were Margaret Wright, Elsie Grant and Mrs R Leppard.

In 1944 the WI were meeting in the Meath School hall as Brook Hall had been in use by the Fire Brigade.

The 50th anniversary in 1983 was celebrated with 100 members and friends at Christchurch Middle School and attended by four ex- presidents and two of the founder members. Members had worked throughout the year to raise money for the dinner.

Today the aims of the WI are very similar, we hold meetings every third Thursday of the month in Brook hall at 1.45pm for a 2pm start.

WI business is followed by speakers on various and interesting subjects followed by tea and biscuits.  

The meetings are lively affairs with opportunities to chat to other members.  We hold two Craft shows a year, fortnightly Art classes with a Tutor and fortnightly Knit and Natter classes, run by one of our members. We also arrange various outings during the year, and also coach trips.