CENTENARY THOUGHTS FROM WHITNASH WI

A report dated the 10th June 1920 stated that a preliminary meeting was held at Whitnash on the 27th May to form a branch of the Federation of Women’s Institute. Evidently there was a good attendance and a President, Secretary and Committee were elected and 30 members enrolled. There were plans for a Baby Show and Sports for Children in July. According to the Annual Report of January 1921 when Whitnash WI was formed there were 40 members.

This all took place just two years after the 1918 flu pandemic. When we were excitedly making plans to celebrate our Centenary little did we know how greatly our lives would be changed. As I write this in early April 2020 Whitnash WI has had to put their planned centenary celebrations on hold, not cancelled only postponed. Also interrupted are the Avon Group of WI’s meetings which Whitnash were due to host. We did manage our “Feel the Love” display in the Telephone Box.

Unfortunately, at some point in our history a large proportion of our archives were lost, fortunately we do still have details of the WI Hut which was a very important feature not only of WI life but of the then village of Whitnash (later to become a town in its own right).

Purchased in 1936 the wooden school room was transported from Hall Green to Whitnash where it was erected near the Plough and Harrow public house on land leased from Lucas & Co Limited whose registered office was The Aston Brewery Birmingham. The yearly rent was £1 by June 1981, after some negotiations, this had increased to £25 rather than the £100 originally requested. Inevitably repairs became too numerous and expensive, and gas and electricity bills too great. In 1984 the WI reluctantly said goodbye to the Hut.

In 1989 our then President Julie Brogan started the Whitnash Ladies’ Quiz, with 5 teams. On the 17th June, as winners of the 2019 quiz Whitnash WI would have been hosting the 2020 quiz now with 8 teams. Never fear when we are back to the new normal the Quiz will happen.

As I write the present situation this may mean this piece may never make the June edition of the Corunna News, our meetings may have been cancelled and celebrations put on hold but the WI spirit is still like the swan calm and serene on the surface but paddling like fury underneath.

Anne Steele (Secretary Whitnash WI)