Home to FeltwellTour Feltwell Today Tour Old Feltwell See Feltwell's History Read Feltwell's History RAF Feltwell Memorial Pages Special Photo Sets
Feltwell's Timeline
Historical InfoLoops Photo of the Month Feltwellians Worldwide Feltwell Links

Feltwell Women's Institute (December 1996)

This is just a small potted history of our WI with some of the highlights over 68 years.

We began in June 1928 our first meeting being held in the YMCA - this was a building on Oakfields. Then each member had to be proposed and seconded. In 1929 5 shillings was given to the Miners fund. In 1931 a coach to the Norwich Exhibition cost 9 15 shillings, quite a lot of money in those days.

1935 - there was a cake competition. As the ingredients couldn't be bought in Feltwell, member Mrs Curtis who had a grocery shop in Oak Street, volunteered to purchase them from Mr Scott in Hockwold.

1940 - at the October meeting the air raid siren went - it was minuted that only 3 members left the hall, and that bombs were dropped. This was the year the WI began to press the RDC for house to house collection. At the WI Annual Fund raising fete at Mrs Swan's, Beck House, each member could bring one guest and no children were allowed ! We wouldn't raise much money if we did that now. It sounds as if the WI in the village was a bit of an exclusive club in its early years. There were so many different funds, Wool, Emergency, Spitfire, National Savings etc. Mrs Orange, the treasurer handled over 5000 in National Savings, the highest in Norfolk.

Mr Whistle from the Crown was sending PO's to all from the village who had joined up and the WI added 1shilling and sixpence to each one sent. There was a discussion on whether women should wear trousers. Most members agreed they were suitable for land work but that was all.

In Feb. 1944 18 new members joined having been proposed and seconded by committee members. At the June meeting an auction was held of the competition entries, which was garden produce. Two apples were sold for 1 shilling each, a bundle of asparagus for 15 shillings then resold for 8. This money was for the Prisoner of War fund, no doubt the produce raised so much because of the patriotism we all felt during the war. This meeting was also the birthday month and it was noted as being the highest and the best meeting ever, partly I think, as the tea was bountiful; and an anonymous donor had given each member a bar of chocolate. A memo was sent to Norwich regarding the shortage of shoe leather for repairs in the area, and the wastage of food in various camps in the area. The first mention of a Village Hall fund was made in 1943. There was, apparently, a Meat Pie Fund which raised 243 in 3 years, 20 of this was set aside for the VHF.

In 1945 the War Emergency Fund was shared between the Chapel and the Church as a thanksgiving for the end of the war.

1946 - the meeting times were changed from afternoons to evenings so the venue was changed from the YMCA to the Mission Hall in Hill Street.

In 1947 the WI were offered a piece of land and a hut for between 250-300. There was 87 in the Hall Fund but it was decided to go for a better hall in the future. At this time it was proposed that all local associations should combine and have one good large building. If only this had been done what an asset it would have been to the village and what a lot of problems it would have solved community centre wise.

1955 - the WI leased the Old School from the Edmund de Moundeford Trust for the rent of 6 per annum on condition the Goodneighbours were allowed to use it for their meetings.

1982 was the year the WI had to take over the full maintenance of the School or lose it. The Trust have always helped with any big bills for repairs or decorating.

In 1983 Mrs Brookes reported there were 59 paid up members and we had drama, yoga, handicrafts, painting and flower arranging sessions all well attended, also a thriving choir.

In 1990 the WI gave a sundial to the village school to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the start of the WI movement in Canada. In 1993 we planted a Rowan tree on the Chequers Green to celebrate 65 years of Feltwell WI.

Now, in 1996, we are down to 16 members - it would be nice to get a few new members, especially younger ones. We need new blood to give us a new lease of life.

Back to Witten Records