Annual General Meeting – May 2017- 100 years of WI

The AGM was not all business!  We started off the proceedings with a game – What’s in your handbag  We each were given a list of items which scored points, and the person with the most points won the prize  the listed items included the basics such as lipsticks and train tickets but also had items such as Swiss Army knives!

We had a review of the previous year and a review of the accounts.  Helena Harrington from West Yorkshire Federation was in attendance.

We had a very interesting talk entitled ‘100 years of WI’ given by Gill Brown.  It was full of interesting facts and photographs telling us the history of the WI.  Gill informed us about the most influential women, why the WI started and how it had had a big revival in recent years.

She told us about how the groups differ to suit the community of women that attend and informed us that there are WI groups in some prisons.  However the groups differ , the focus of each group is around having fun, meeting people, gaining new skills and new experiences.

The evening ended with new members being voted onto our committee and the usual beverages and cake.


The Rag Market April 29th 2017


We held our Rag Market in April, which was a huge success again.  We raised £858.29 for our charities.


There were some fantastic stalls with so many fantastic things to buy and of course we had a cake stall at the Egg Factory which went down very well


The next Rag Market will be in October

April 24th 2017 – Modern calligraphy

Nicky Chadwick from Scarlet Starfish came to tell us about her current work with calligraphy.  She writes labels, place names, invitations and many more things for people for many different occasions.  Her work was lovely.

We were were given the opportunity to try doing the lettering ourselves. We borrowed her pens, nibs and ink and copied the lettering.  It was not quite as easy as it looked!  Many of us ended up with very inky fingers and blotted paper but some people made a really good job of it and invented their own a style of writing and drawing

All in all it was a really good evening

March Meeting WI CAN CRAFT

What a fantastic evening we had!  The evening was filled with topics related to crafting and included a competition open to all WI members.

The competition categories were:

  • Home knitting
  • Crochet
  • Soft toys
  • Something for tea
  • Upcycled Jeans
  • A needlecraft sampler
  • Quilt or patchwork
  • Water themed decoration for the WI Hebden Bridge Arts Festival tree

There were some fantastic entries

It wasn’t just about prizes though.

There was a quiz about crafting, a tombola and a guess the number of buttons in the jar competition

Even the cakes that were served with our tea and coffee were craft themed – decorated with buttons made from chocolate, and there were biscuits that looked like huge buttons too

There were prizes – highly commended and first prize in each section.  There was also a Star Maker prize which was awarded to Vanessa Kay who had submitted some fantastic pieces in every section

Everyone had a fantastic time and many of us left with inspiration for future  projects


February 2017 – Suffragettes

For our February meeting we welcomed Jill Liddington, Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Leeds and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society to speak.


Surprisingly, as a historian of Women’s history, this was Jill’s first talk to a WI group. She focused on the 1911 census which was boycotted by many women as a protest against the lack of female suffrage. In fact the suffragette’s slogan for 1911 was ‘No Vote-No Census’.

Jill took us beyond the slogan to put the census of 1911 in the context of the Liberal government’s social reform agenda and by looking at where the suffragettes were, by this year, in their fight for equality. To our delight she did this by taking a local perspective, largely following the trajectory of four suffragettes: Halifax’s Mary Taylor, Dinah Connelly, Laura Wilson and Hebden Bridge’s Lavena Saltonstall (a room at the town hall is named in her honour). Two of these women evaded the census of 1911 by ‘disappearing’ that evening while two complied with the census.

By examining the political and social reform ideas at the time and the personal histories of the individual women Jill has been able to make a calculated guess as to why women tired and brutalised by prison and campaigning might comply with a government order, fill in the census and avoid the £5 fine. She explained both what the women who evaded the census achieved and what the government did (or in this case) didn’t do afterwards.

Jill also put the eventual suffragette achievement in its wider world context of the First World War and Bolshevik Revolution. The talk was illustrated with historical documents which both informed Jill’s debate and bought these West Yorkshire women and their hand-made banners to life.


The evening finished with a lively Q & A and of course WI cake and tea.

For those wishing to continue learning more about local suffragettes, see Jill’s website.

April 2017
9 Sunday: Walking with Women’s Suffrage ~ 2.30 pm.
Huddersfield: meet at St George’s Square (by Harold Wilson statue), in front of Huddersfield station.

In 1906, the nation’s eyes were trained on Huddersfield. Emmeline Pankhurst swept into town and addressed massive crowds. Join historian Jill Liddington to walk in the footsteps of local suffragettes. Jill’s latest book, Vanishing for the Vote, tells the story of the suffragette boycott of the 1911 census.
Charge: £3; no booking required.
Walk: lasts 1½ ~ 2 hours.

Organizers: Discover Huddersfield: guided walks.

We rarely invite formal speakers at Hebden Bridge WI but the evening was proved to be a great success with the high attendance, visitors from afar and following lively debate. Thank you to all those who made the evening a success.


December Party

December saw us celebrating at our Christmas party

We started with our usual ‘stand-up-sit-down’ Bingo and then proceeded to take part in some swing dancing

Our teachers were TC and Joyce.  They gave us a demonstration of the 1940s dancing style and then taught us some 1940s strolls. This kind of dancing was very popular in the war years because it could be enjoyed by groups of people and partners were not required

Many of our members dressed in 1940 style clothing and looked fantastic

We learnt several strolls and had a really good time  We mostly remembered the steps and no toes were broken in the process!

We had a really good supper and obviously some very nice cake to complete the evening

There was a Secret Santa opportunity so many of us even went home with Christmas presents

Ruth Gosden had asked members to donate toys for the Children’s Refuge and there was a good response.  Ruth was able to take lots of toys away at the end of the evening and along with Sowood WI make the donation to the children

A great evening was had by all


A boozy November

An hour after the flood alarm siren and amidst a howling gale enough intrepid WI members managed to stagger to the Town Hall for November’s WI meeting. Sadly many members were still stuck on trains and buses or worse, carrying their belongings upstairs in case the river burst its banks again. Fortunately Hebden got away with localised surface flooding thanks to the quick response of many residents and council workers clearing the drains and culverts of autumn leaves.

Those of us that managed to make the WI were in for a treat. We were given a mini wine course and tasting (that wasn’t quite so mini!) by wine educator and advisor to restaurants and hotels, John Butterworth. John had had an awful journey himself to get to us from Wetherby but he quickly got down to the vital business of educating us about wine.


We learned how to Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Swallow our wine while breathing out for taste – not as easy as it seems. We had a practical session of doing this with white and red wines. We learned how to read a wine label and store and serve wine. John also gave tips on matching wine to food and gave us a good background to the differences between Old and New World wines. In between our slurps we enjoyed olives and cheese nibbles provided by Sakinah.


Many useful things were learned, for example cellar temperature is 10 degrees while room temperature means 16 degrees and £2.50 for every bottle you drink goes directly to the Treasury – ouch! But perhaps most useful was being reassured that one can enjoy good wines from supermarkets, even the discount ones, as long as you go for their premier own labels such as ‘taste the difference’ or ‘exquisite’. If any of you are looking for the best English sparkling wine for your Christmas table he recommends the award winning Nye Timber which can be purchased from Waitrose and has won over Champagne in recent years.


For those of you who are disappointed that you missed the good recommendations, John said Christine Austen who writes for the Yorkshire Post gives excellent recommendations of latest offers from the supermarkets. And he said M&S do good 25% discount promotions that are worth keeping an eye on.

After a really interesting evening we again staggered out but this time it probably wasn’t just the outside storm.

Written by Jeni Wetton

Crafty October

October saw us making sewn felted Halloween and Christmas ornaments with Jinny from our local craft shop, Word Of Mouth.




Hard at work but time for some chatting too!



As part of our ongoing mission to improve or learn new skills, some of our members attended a series of free sewing sessions with Jilly and they brought along their creations for the rest of us to admire.






Thanks for sharing your crafty expertise with us, Jinny, we had a lot of fun.

Ladybird Nostalgia

September’s meeting was one that many of us had been looking forward to – the history of ladybird books with Biff Raven-Hill from The Wartime Housewife.


Biff was a very entertaining speaker and allowed us plenty of time to ‘ahhh’ appreciatively and exclaim ‘I had that one’ as our childhood favourites appeared on the screen. She talked us through the history of the company, how the books had evolved, why they’d proved so popular, explained the numbering system and then whizzed through the various series.

Biff had also laid out a table with Ladybird books and related merchandise that we could handle as long as we wore the gloves provided in order to protect the older and more valuable items. We were extra careful not to get cake on the precious books!




To tie in with the talk, our Social Secretary, Karen Cunningham had arranged a Blind Date With A Book swap, an idea we shamelessly stole from Cottonopolis WI after seeing it on their Twitter!


You bring a book wrapped in paper with a brief description on the front but no title or author mentioned. The idea is that you choose a book with fewer preconceptions because you’re not influenced by the cover art or who the author is.



Blind Date With A Book chimes nicely with our existing book group, which meets on the 4th Monday of the month. Instead of all reading the same book, we bring along books we’ve been reading, then review and swap them. We find it encourages us to read outside our comfort zones and try authors and genres that we might not pick up in a bookstore or library. It also feels less like ‘homework’ than a conventional book group. If your WI doesn’t already have a book group, perhaps this model would work for you too.

August’s Meeting -Yoga & Relaxation

Tracy Davies from Blessingway Yoga led us in August’s Yoga Relaxation session. Tracy trained as a yoga teacher in India in 2006, returning to teach mature yoga. She encouraged us to be gentle with ourselves and listen to our bodies.


We had a large turn out for this meeting, but we just managed to fit into a large circle in Waterfront Hall! Tracy led us in some stretches and a Sun Salutation, and got us all sleepy and relaxed with breathing  exercises and guided meditation.


After all our ‘hard work’ we rewarded ourselves with some tasty cakes made my our talented members. 🙂