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Shiplake WI

Shiplake Womens Institute has around 60 members. We meet at 2.30 pm on the third Wednesday of every month (except August) usually at the Memorial Hall in Memorial Avenue.  The afternoon's programme includes a talk by an invited speaker and a splendid tea prepared by members.  Interesting trips and visits are also arranged throughout the year.

Contact: Audrey Simpson 01491 410256

WI April Meeting


President Joan Jolley opened the meeting with a warm welcome and an explanation about the new programmes and the tea rota. She gave a short report on the Beechwood Group Meeting and said how much it had been enjoyed. Janet Matthews volunteered to be the link for the OFWI resolutions and campaigns.  Joan then announced that Shiplake WI had won a Bursary at the OFWI AGM, for a course at Denman College. Pam Hudgell would take the orders for bulbs.

Sue Lines told the meeting about the arrangements for the visits to the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery and RHS Wisley and some ideas for the future which included trips to Burford and the ‘Shoe Lady’ in Hungerford. Joyce Vernon announced that the date of the next walk would be the 25th April and the walkers would meet at Virginia Water.

Joan reviewed some of the details in News and Views including the paintballing day and the trips to Knebworth House and Romsey. She gave some advance information about the 90th Birthday cruise on the river in August. Joan then asked members if they would be willing to help with two research projects, one involving dress making in the home in the 1960s and the second the importance of a bra prescription service. Details of a British Legion Tea Party to be held on 4th June were given. The tea hostesses for the afternoon were Janet Matthews and Jill Irwin.

The speaker was Jacqui Hogan who was dressed in splendid style to suit the topic of her talk - ‘Jane Austen’s menfolk’. Jane had six brothers and one sister, so she always had the company of the opposite sex. The two youngest brothers joined the Navy and became admirals and the elder two became clergymen. Her father was a rector of two parishes and ran a boys’ school. She had two known romances – one with Tom Lefroy whose family disapproved so he was sent away and the second with Harris Biggs Withers who was six years her junior. He proposed and she accepted but overnight decided she didn’t love him and broke off the engagement the next day. (Quite a shocking thing to do in those days!) When Jane’s father died, because of the inheritance laws at the time, Jane, her sister and her mother inherited nothing and had to move from the Rectory. The brothers helped them to buy Chawton Lodge. One of her elder brothers, Edward, had been adopted by richer relations and had left the Austen family home to live in Chawton House, which made the purchase of Chawton Lodge possible. Jane died at the age of 41.

Jacqui then went on to tell us about the heroes in the Jane Austen novels including Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and the villains, of whom Mr. Wycombe was one of her favourites. There were many others including smug clergymen who could have been based on some of those she met in her father’s rectory. Jane’s books were written at an interesting time in history at the end of the 18th century and although the world events are not mentioned in the novels much of what was happening must have influenced her work.

After this interesting talk members enjoyed a tasty tea. The winner of the best ACWW flower was announced as Barbara Ingoldby-Williams with a delicate clematis and the winner of the competition was Diana Bedford with an unusual African hippo eggcup.

The May meeting will be the Resolution meeting, when we will be discussing how to  alleviate loneliness and the problems of micro plastic contamination of the oceans. More details about Shiplake WI are on the Villages website and visitors are always welcome.

Article created / last edited: 12 May 2017

WI March Meeting


President, Joan Jolley, opened the meeting with her usual warm welcome.  A special welcome went to two new members this month.

March is our Annual General Meeting, and the afternoon is split into two.  Firstly Joan ran through the ordinary monthly business, items of interest in News & Views and updates of outings from Sue Lines.

That part being concluded Joan opened the AGM.

Helen Robinson read out the Institute Bye-laws.

Reports were given by:-

Rosemary Appleby – Treasurer

Barbara Rowlett – Catering

Susan Lines – Outings

Joan Jolley – President

Winner of the Elsie Southam Cup, for the ACWW Flower of the Month competition, was Lynn Boros, second Frances Lefebure and third Pauline Watkins.

Winner of the Burge Cup, for the monthly competition, was Lynn Boros, second Pauline

Watkins and third Viv Ellis.

Joan presented both Cups to Lynn.

The Grace Phillips Memorial Salver was awarded this year to Rachel Lloyd for her wonderful stitching of the new Centenary Banner.

Next year is our 90th Birthday and as plans are well advanced for the celebration Joan said that all committee members were eager to finalise them and, with new member Wendy Channel, had agreed to carry on for next year.

Joan thanked all the members of her committee for their support and hard work.  She also thanked everyone who had contributed to the magnificent running of our Institute, and finally thanked all members for their continued support of our WI.

Helen Robinson gave Joan our vote-of-thanks.

The AGM was then closed and a lovely tea followed, hosted this month by Rachel Lloyd and Pippa Hughes.

The ACWW Flower of the Month was won by Pauline Watkins, with a spray of mimosa, and Ursula Davies won the monthly competition for a handmade ‘cupcake’.

Article created / last edited: 28 March 2017

National Federation of Women's Institutes

Shiplake Women's Institute is part of the National Federation of Women's Institutes which is the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK. The National federation has approximately 230,000 members in around 7,000 WIs throughout the British Isles with broad aims to educate women and to enable them to provide an effective role in the community, to expand their horizons and to develop and pass on important skills. 

Article created / last edited: 4 January 2014