Exhibition celebrates 95 years of Women’s Institute

An early banner from The Lee Women's Institute
An early banner from The Lee Women's Institute

The Bucks County Museum and the Bucks Federation of Women’s Institutes are jointly hosting a new exhibition based on 95 years of the federation in the county.

It focuses on the history of the federation which began in 1920.

The exhibition at the museum in Church Street in Aylesbury includes early banners from Hambleden WI and The Lee WI decorated with local straw work.

Branches from across the county have helped with loans of the federation cook book and modern examples of craftwork produced at Denman College in Oxfordshire - which are included in the exhibition.

Among the themes running through the exhibition are the early history of the WI and Bucks Federation and the active campaigning role of the organisation.

The exhibition continues until February 13 2016.

To coincide with the exhibition there will be a special procession on October 17 of WI banners carried by some of their members.

The banner procession will leave the Judges Lodgings in Aylesbury at about 11am and is expected to arrive at the museum around 11.15am where cake and refreshments will be served.

The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire Francesca Skelton will be at the museum to welcome the procession, which will be led by the chairman of the Bucks Federation of WIs Jenny Street.

The Women’s Institute nationally is celebrating its 100th anniversary and as part of this the baton relay visited Bucks for a week during the end of April.

The baton passed through Aylesbury, Winslow, Milton Keynes, Wendover, High Wycombe and Stoke Poges and finished up at Ivinghoe which was where the first WI in the county was formed in 1917.

The baton travelled by canal boat, vintage cars, sports car, bicycles, zip wire, motor bikes, vintage tractor and a motorised wheelchair during the week.

The Bucks WI has some more events planned over the next few months of this anniversary year.

On October 2 there is an autumn event in High Wycombe Town Hall with Julie Summers from Jambusters, an ITV drama aired last year that told the story of the WI during the Second World War, as the main speaker.

More than 350 WI members from across Bucks are expected to attend the event.

Also next month, on October 25 there is a special event at the Judges Lodgings when one lady from each of the WIs in Bucks has been invited to a celebration in honour of the WI movement which is being organised by Bucks County Council.

The final big event of the year for the WI is on November 30, when the Board of Trustees of Bucks Federation is holding a vintage tea for members at the King’s Church in Amersham.

Currently there are almost 140 WIs across Bucks with around 4500 members.

To find out more about the WI in Bucks visit www.bucksfwi.org.uk.