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National & Surrey WI News

Women's Institute buildings relisted for centenary


Four buildings with links to the Women's Institute are to be recognised to mark the organisation's centenary. 


The West Sussex home of the WI's first chairman and its training college in Oxfordshire are to be relisted on the National Heritage List for England.

Their listings will now mention the WI.


The listed statuses of The Fox Inn in Charlton, West Sussex, where the first WI meeting was held exactly 100 years ago, and for an early WI building in Northumberland are also being updated.


On 9 November 1915 the first meeting of the institute in England took place in the backroom of the Fox Inn. The pub, near Goodwood, is now called the Fox Goes Free and the room where the meeting was held is known as the Hat Rack Bar.


The Fox innkeeper at the time, a Mrs Laishley, was a founder member of the Women's Institute.


On Wednesday 20th 2015 May the WI Centenary Baton came to

The Barn Hall in Bookham.


Gathered were representatives of many Surrey WI’s  along with demonstrations of crafts and a wonderful array of bunting made by the various groups, and of course delicious cakes as befitting a WI event!


The specially designed Centenary Baton began its journey on 1st January 2014, launched in Anglesey where the first WI meeting was held in the UK in 1915, it has been travelling throughout the 69 federations in England, Wales and the Islands to celebrate the links of friendship and community developed through the WI, and will finish its trip at the Annual Meeting in June 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall.


At the Barn Hall a circle was formed by all those present and the Baton passed from one to another whilst Jerusalem was sung before finally being handed to the Presidents of the two newest WI’s, Clare Cody from our WI Bookham Butterflies and Amanda Edge from Bookham Belles.


WI Centenary Celebration
Ellyn Downs Group
Craft Competition
"A Heart Any Medium"
Winning Entry
Past 100 Years
Passing of The Baton.
WI Baton.
The Baton.
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