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.


July’s HBWI Book Group

Monday 25th July

Tonight five of us met for book group in the White Lion at 7.30 until about 9.

Book group meets the Monday after the main WI meet. It runs as a book swap rather than a traditional book group, we bring books we have read, introduce them, recommend or not in some cases and others take them to read. There is no pressure to read them by the next meeting. We have book marks showing who brought the book and whether they want it back when finished or if it can be donated to charity.

There were a real mixture of books again tonight from Scandi-noir to historical novels. We had a bit of chat about Kate Atkinson – at the moment Case Histories,  Human Croquet and others are doing the rounds. Most of us have read some of Kate Atkinsons books, but some time ago so are thinking of re-reading as we all enjoyed them.

The meetings are always lots of fun so do come along to the next meet on Monday 22nd August if you fancy some book chat. We are going to set up the meetings as events on Facebook so if you are coming do respond just so no one is sat in the pub on their own in case no one can make it.

Invite: 5th Birthday Party!

Hi everyone,

This newsletter is a bit long, I apologise in advance but there’s loads going on this month.

Firstly, it’s our 5th birthday party this month and our Social Secretary, Karen Cunningham has been hard at work planning a fabulous Bake-Off party.

So please come along on Monday 21st March for canapés, cakes and culinary quizzes. We’re inviting guests from local WI’s and it should be a fun evening of relaxed socialising. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and guests are welcome for £4.

We’ll be selling the cakes at the end to raise money for our charity of the year, so please bring some extra cash.

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Invite: Christmas Crafts

Wow, what a beautiful autumn we’ve been having. But it’s October already and that means that it’s time for our annual Christmas Crafts meeting.

Come along on Monday 19th October and you’ll be able to have a go at four different Christmas crafts. You’ll also get a break from me because our lovely Vice President, Ruth Gosden will be chairing the meeting (it’s one of those wacky WI rules – they make the Vice President run one meeting a year.)

As usual, guests are welcome to attend for £3, so feel free to bring a friend along. The meeting is in the Waterfront Hall in Hebden Bridge Town Hall and doors open at 7pm-ish for a 7.30pm start.

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Invite: September’s Centenary Party

Hi everyone,

As you may know, it’s the WI centenary this month. It started in a small hut in Wales on the 16th September 1915 and from those humble beginnings has grown into the largest women’s voluntary organisation in England and Wales.

So to celebrate a hundred years of amazing WI women, our September meeting is a fancy dress centenary party. Since it’s fancy dress, we’d like you to come dressed in any fashion from the last hundred years (if dressing up is not your thing, it’s fine to dress as a woman from now.) The meeting is on Monday 21st September in Hebden Bridge Town Hall from 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Guests are welcome for £3.

As this is a Jacob’s Join, please bring food to share – either sweet or savoury – and we will provide the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink. There will also be silly games and a prize for the best costume.

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Invite: Printmaking at The Egg Factory

Hello my lovelies,

this will be brief because I am in the middle of packing to go to Tea & Tents, the unofficial WI camping trip, which is happening this weekend. 530 WI women in a field in Nottinghamshire with lots of booze and cake – what could possibly go wrong!

This month’s meeting is on Monday 20th July. The doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and visitors are welcome for our usual charge of £3.

The most important thing to remember is that Monday’s meeting is NOT in our usual venue.  Instead, we will be visiting The Egg Factory at Windsor Works Adjacent Unit, Victoria Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8JX.

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Invite: Buzzing with bees

Hi everyone,

It’s June and the weather is finally picking up, so it’s the perfect time for us to support the WI’s SOS For Honeybees campaign with a talk from our resident beekeeper, Jen Kaines.

At this month’s meeting on Monday 15th June, Jen will be introducing us to her interesting hobby and explaining how we can all help bees and other pollinators by planting nectar rich flowers and providing habitats. I know gardens are a rarity in Hebden but even a few pots or a window box can make a surprisingly big difference to insects.

And because we’re all about the eating at Hebden Bridge WI, there will also be a honey tasting to explore how different plants affect the taste of the honey. Did you know there are over 300 distinct flavours of honey in the world? Sadly we won’t be trying them all but we will have a few for you to try.

The doors open at 7-ish for a 7.30pm start on Monday 15th June. Members are free and guests are welcome to come along for £3.

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Invite: Recipes of Resistance

Hi everyone,

The next HBWI meeting is on Monday 16th February and doors open at 7-ish for a 7.30pm start. Guests welcome for £3.

Hilly Fletcher of The Halifax Friends Of Palestine is our guest this month with a varied and delicious presentation about the work they do with Jameela’s Kitchen, a women’s co-operative in Gaza. We’ll get to watch authentic Palestinian dishes being assembled and then get to taste them, which I’m sure will be popular.

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How our book group works

I’m delighted to announce that this week, Hebden Bridge WI are guest-tweeting over at the Women Of The WI twitter account. This is a really fun idea where every week a different WI take the reins and get to tweet about their area, their WI and their fantastic members. The idea is to start breaking down stereotypes about the WI in our centenary year.

If you’re on Twitter please follow the account and retweet us. If you’re not on Twitter, you can still read what we’re talking about here but remember that Twitter posts the most recent stuff first so you’ll often be reading a conversation in reverse order (you get used to it).

Because of that, Jen Kaines, who organises our WI book group, has kindly written a small explanation of how our book group works.

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