Alveston WI celebrates 100 years of history

June 18 2019
Alveston WI celebrates 100 years of history

MEMBERS of Alveston WI have been celebrating its unique history after the group reached its centenary.

The group has received a letter of congratulation from the Queen and held a centenary celebration at the Jubilee Hall, including a three-tiered cake and a vintage tea party for members past and present. The venue was decorated with balloons, flowers and memorabilia, and the minutes of the first meeting were read out.

To mark the occasion, members had created an embroidered banner with their names stitched onto the back, showing all the areas the Alveston WI is involved with today, 100 years on.

It was in May 1919 that a group of women first met at the Jubilee Hall to form a Women’s Institute. At the first meeting a vicar called Mr Pugh gave a talk on his work in the Church Army in Belgium and France. Poultry keeping was one of the items on the agenda.

Much has changed in the ten decades which have passed since then. The year’s June meeting featured a talk by Emma Britton, a BBC Radio Bristol presenter.

The early records of the WI in the 1920’s are filled with news about plays, garden parties, singing and fancy dress events.

Members made a tapestry for a competition held by the National Federation of Women's Institutes at the Imperial Institute in London in October 1927. It depicts King William Rufus hunting in the forest of Alveston. The tapestry became known as ‘Rufus’ and still exists, stored away carefully with photos on show at the Jubilee Hall.

During the war years one evening meeting featured a talk about salads, and eggs were frequently donated to the Almondsbury Maternity Home.

In 1947 a woman called Mrs Sage is recorded as having spoken to the WI about lorries tipping waste on the proposed playing field site.

The WI as a national network is known for campaigning and this started as early as 1921, with the first urging women to take part in jury service. More recent campaigns have had themes including Keep Britain Tidy, a WI resolution from 1954 which led to the formation of the national charity of the same name, and this year’s Don’t Fear the Smear about cancer screening.