Norham Women’s Institute


Norham Women’s Institute

A friendly group established in 1923 and still going strong.

Background History

When Norham’s WI started in 1923 I don’t suppose the ladies (in their hats no doubt) would be worried about electricity which didn’t arrive in Norham until the 1950’s’. In 2014 we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Norham WI. In 2015 the WI celebrated their centenary, nationwide.

The founding of the first Women’s Institute in the world was at Stoney Creek Canada in 1897 by Adelaide Hunter Hoodless. She grew up fatherless and did tough work on the farm. She experienced tragedy when her 4th child died at 18 months. Recognising the ignorance and careless hygiene which caused infant mortality she said “The education of mothers is my life’s work”

Margery Grahamslaw helps Elizabeth de Clermont cuts 90th Birthday Cake.

Margery Grahamslaw helps Elizabeth de Clermont cuts 90th Birthday Cake.

She published a book on household science, well ahead of its time, containing calorie charts, chemical analysis of foods and the value of meat fruit and vegetables in diets. Mrs Hoodless promoted a better understanding of good hygiene in handling food, clean sanitation systems and a more scientific study in the care of children. Her aim was to raise the standard of life for farming families in remote rural areas. The meetings were set up to give women a voice, to be a force of good in the community, to share experiences and learn. The, same is true today although women’s lives have changed in many ways it still focuses on what really matters. Helping women lead the lives they want to, with all the advice they can get and having a say in all our futures. The first Women’s Institute in Britain opened at Anglesey, Lanfairpwll in 1915 Then in England at West Sussex. There will be events held in 2015 to celebrate the 100th anniversary

Today the Women’s Institute is the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK Resolutions covering a wide range of subjects are carried at the AGM every year. Once discussed and approved it becomes in W.I. terms ‘a mandate’ which is a powerful pressure weapon which has been the motivation for many governmental changes and become law.

In 1921 The Plumage Bill became law, no feathers in hats. In 1925 “Keep Britain Tidy” and then Film Censorship. In 40s and 50s the Women’s Institute prodded the government and campaigned for Village Surgeries, Railway toilets, flexible Hospital Visiting Hours. Harmful Publications, Restrictions of Juggernaut sizes. Rabies Sexual Offences. Free Family Planning. Transportation of animals.



Norham WI would like to extend an open invitation to local women from Norham, the surrounding area and visitors to our lovely village to attend a monthly meeting to get a taste of what Norham WI is about.  Pick a subject that interests you from our annual programme, turn up on the day and enjoy.  Sadly, we have to ask you to pay £3 in order to comply with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes constitution but you would get to hear an interesting talk or enjoy a workshop, learn more about WI and afternoon tea is included.  You would be very welcome.

If you would like know to more you can contact one of the following:

President:  Margaret Jeffrey     01289 387451

Secretary:  Jan L’Argent 01289 382897

Find out more on our Facebook Page

Our Programme  for January to December 2018




Meetings: Are on 1st Thursday of the month at 2.00pm in The Village Hall, unless otherwise stated.

Thursday 11th January: Speaker: Caroline McGregor on “Caroline’s Craft Creations”
Competition: Image or model of a bird.  Tea Hostesses: P Taphouse & L Wood

Thursday 1st February: Speaker:  Jim Herbert, History “From Ditch to Bastion”
Competition:Old History Books. Tea Hostesses: E Burns & F Savage

Thursday 8th February: Soup & Sandwich Lunch Public Invited 12 for 12:30

Thursday 1st March:  This meeting was cancelled due to SNOW!

Thursday 12th April:  Speaker: Sandra Gann, Lady Almoner.  Competition: Toilet Bag for a Patient (these will be given to the local hospital for emergency admissions) Tea Hostesses: D Smith & M Spence

Thursday 3rd May: Speaker: “Claire Short on “Travels in Israel”.  Competition: Essential Travel Item Tea Hostesses: J Scarboro & K Waterman

Thursday 7th June: Speaker: Sue Brewis. Horses for Forces.  Competition: Something Horse Related. Tea Hostesses: M Grahamslaw & J Budge

Thursday 5th July: Speaker: Jackie Hamblett, Flower Arranging Demonstration.  Competition: Floral Poem (maximum 10 lines, own work) Tea Hostesses: E Burns & L Ellerby

Monday 6th August: Coldstream Riders Association

Thursday 6th September: Speaker:  Eileen & Lisa Turnbull on “Health & Nutrition.”   Competion: A Healthy Recipe. Tea Hostesses: M Baxter & B Gibson

Thursday 4th October:       Annual Meeting

Thursday 1st November: Speaker: Graham Bell on “Permaculture” Competition: A Gardening Tip. Tea Hostesses: J Scarboro & M Spence

Thursday 6th December: Christmas Meeting.  Competition: Four Christmas Cupcakes.  Tea Hostesses: R Lockwood & F Savage