The Hungerford Women's Institute (WI) was formed in April 1931. There was a brief spell of about a year in 1961 when, owing to the inability to find officers, its activities were temporarily suspended. All WI meetings were held in the Church House (now called Croft Hall).
The group made a set of large velvet curtains specially made for use at Church House before the stage was installed. These curtains were a source of income for the WI, being hired out to other groups using the hall.
The various fund-raising efforts of the WI meant that they could fund the installation of a sink unit at Church House hall, to the great benefit of all users.
To commemorate the "Golden Jubilee" they commissioned the local blacksmith A.J. Barrett to design and make a wrought iron lectern for use at the newly opened John of Gaunt School. The W.I. Members celebrated the Golden Jubilee by dining our en masse at the TRhree Swans Hotel on 10 January 1966. dinner was followed by a short entertainment.
A scrapbook was compiled by Malvena Holmes mostly covering events and life in Hungerford in 1965-66. [Now in the HHA Archives, in the Jack Wiliams collection].
Hungerford WI was a thriving organisation for 90 years - educating, entertaining, enabling many friendships to be made and being very much part of the life of Hungerford.
Meetings during the Covid pandemic:
The WI continued to function during the year of the Coronavirus pandemic (2020-21) by the committee keeping monthly contact with members and circulating newsletters, quizzes and competitions. A pot of bulbs was delivered to members as a Christmas surprise. Zoom meetings started in January 2021 with a combination of speakers and chat sessions.
The 90th Anniversary of the founding of the WI was celebrated with a delicious cream tea being delivered to members to be enjoyed at the same time on the same day with some members joining for a Zoom session to enjoy their tea and to reminisce.
The WI is suspended:
It is with great regret that Hungerford WI has now been suspended due to the main committee positions not being filled at the Annual meeting. Hopefully, at some time in the future it could be restarted. See "WI branch shuts after 90 years", NWN, 22 Apr 2021.
Some members are continuing to meet socially - calling themselves "The Suspenders"!
- W.I. 60th Anniversary Group photo, Apr 1991.
- W.I Group photo, May 1996 (inc. Rene Robinson, Betty Morrison, Joyce Anderson, Wendy Leach, Linda Crossan, Hazel Ralph, June Stroud, Stella French, Joan Wilson, Elaine Rumble, Jean Stacey, Margaret Williams, Mary Dukes, Joy Lovelock).
- The Mummer's Play, Dec 1997 (l-r back: Barbara Simmonds, June Marchant, Kathleen Greenwood, Margaret Williams, Linda Marshall; front: Hazel Ralph, Pat Smalley, June Stroud).
- The W.I. Committee, April 1998 (inc. Betty Morrison, Jean Stacey, Wendy Leach, Elaine Rumble, Iris Cousins, Ann Hook, Linda Marshall, Pauline Robinson, Ann Smith, Kathleen Walker).
- The W.I. Walking Group, 2001 (l-r: June Marchant, Fred Stroud, Ivy Stacey, Edie Holland, Hazel Ralph, Kay Brind, June Stroud, Arthur Wilson, Elaine Rumble, June Tubb, Eileen Ames, Iris Cousins).
- The W.I. on the London Eye, 16th June 2001 (l-r: June Stroud, Lyn Crossan, Iris Cousins, Kathleen Greenwood, Wendy Leach, Hazel Ralph).
- W.I.Group photo, Apr 2011.
- The W.I. Group visiting Buckingham Palace, Aug 2015.
- A W.I. Zoom meeting, Mar 2021.
A box of records, including scrap books, photographs and press cuttings mostly covering the period since 1985, was sent in 2021 to the WI archives at the Berkshire Federation of Women's Institutes, WI House, The Street, Mortimer Common, Reading RG7 3RD. Phone 0118 9333448. Email federationsecretary@
The albums included:
- Scrap book (white fleur-de-lys cover) 1985-1997: Newbury Show 1985, 1986, 1995, 1996 and 1997; Opening of W.I. Mortimer, 1990; Group Meeting at Kintbury, 1996.
- Scrap book (tartan cover) 1984-1994: Day trip to Thames Barrier, 1985; Mystery Tour to St Mary Bourne, New Year's Party 1986; Members Program cards, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88; Group Meeting at Stockcross April 1986; Boxford 1987; Horticultural Show 1987; Letters of support following the Hungerford Shooting Tragedy 1987; Patchwork Appeal 1987; Handicrafts in Ligueil 1988; Horticultural Show 1988; "William and Mary" Tapestry 1989; Horitultural Show 1989; Denman College; 69th AGM at Royal Albert Hall 1989; Carol Service at Mortimer St. John's 1989; Opening of W.I.House 1990; 75th Anniversary Tea Party 1990; Lunch at Newbury College 1991; Hungerford W.I.'s 60th Birthday 1991; Ode to Hungerford Competition 1991; Wilton Walk 1991; Visit by German friends 1992; Model Fair in Town Hall 1992; Newbury Show 1994; Horticultural Competition 1994; Bedwyn Walk; Three Hungerford W.I. Programmes 1950, 1959 and 1993-94; Photo from 1949/50; Trip to Kew Gardens and Buckingham Palace 1994; Victorian Extravaganza, 1994; Chisbury Walk 1994.
- Scrap Book (green loose-leaf) 1995-2000: Denman Fanfare 1995; Barbecue at the Cricket Club 1995; Flowers for Tutti-Day Luncheon 1996; Craft Group celebrating Rene Robinson's Golden Wedding 1996; Lunch for the Ladies from Suffolk 1996; HADCAF Flower Festival 1996; Harvest Supper 1996; Outing to Longstock Water gardens 1996; HADCAF 1997; Horticultural Show 1997; Evening Trip to Devizes 1997; The Mummers' Play 1997; Linda Crossan and Mary Dukes' visit to Canada 1997; New Year Party 1998; Committee 1998-99; Kintbury Group Meeting 1998; Members' Evening 1998; HADCAF 1998; Trip on The Rose of Hungerford 1998; Festive Evening December 1998; New Year Party 1999; Millenium Tree Planting 1999; Members' Evening 1999; HADCAF Summer Shows 1999 and 2000; Remembrance Day 2000; Music and Poetry for Four Seasons 2000; Victorian Extravaganza 2000.
- Scrap book (red loose-leaf) various dates: Denman College programme 1999-2000; Berkshire WI Members' visit to Hungerford 1991; Tree planting in The Croft 1991; William & Mary tapestry 1991; "We remember it well" competition 1991; The 60th Anniversary cake 1991; Walking for pleasure; Various outings, walks and displays; Two old County badges and ribbons; Thank you letter from Highgrove House for donation 2003; W.I. on The London Eye 2001; Tree planting in The Croft 1991; various photos;Wlk to Leverton 1990; Three W.I. Programmes, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2006-07.
- Scrap book (green looseleaf): Hungerford W.I. 70th Birthday Scrapbook, 2001: New Year's Beetle Drive; Resolution IGM at Thatcham; Rambling Group; "Land of Ice and Water" by Mr J. Wrigley; AGM; Millenium Tapestry; Annual Council Meeting Wokingham; "Clothes for Real Women" by Sue McKenzie and Louise May from Jean Petit; Kennet Group Meeting; Programme 2001-02; Resolution Meeting; Annual outing for the Committee; Members' Quiz evening; Outing to the Isle of Wight; Afternoon Tea at Margaret Williams'; Barbecue at the Chircket Club; Picnic Cruise; Flower Festival; Hungerford Carnival; HADCAF Summer Show; "Indian Embroidery" by Mrs Dot Rea; The Walkers - and their8 walks in 2001; "Massage" by Jean Hutchings; Homespun Beauty Tip - smile!; newbury Show; Open afternooon in Croft Hall; Taste and Cook; Service of Remembrance; Fashion Show at Newbury Rugby Club; Collecting for NWN Over-80s Christmas Parcels; Kennet Group Carol Service; Vist to Cheltenham; Flowers at Christmas; Victorian Extravaganza; Christmas Tree Display; Christmas Carol singing.
- Scrap book (black loose-leaf) 2002-2007: Group photo ?2002; On a walk ?2002; Group photo ?2003; various photos; W.I. Programme 2002-03; Group Meeting at St. George's Church Hall 2003; Belly Dancing 2003; Lunch at The Bistro Rock 2002; hanging baskets at Croft Hall for Queen's Golden Jubilee 2002; Jubilee Exhibition 2002; Horticultural Show and Harvest Supper 2002; Talk on the Air Ambulance 2002; Members' own Cookery Recipes Evening 2002; Carol Service 2002; New Year Dinner 2003; Talk by Stuart Mole OBE on the Development and role of the modern Commonwealth 2003; Committee Members and Programme 2003-04; young W.I. jam-makers! 2003; Tea for Newbury Blind Club 2003; Flower arrangement for HADCAF 2003; tea for visit from Sherbourne St. John 2003; Harvest Meeting 2003; Fund-raising lunch 2003; New Year's Dinner 2004; Annual Council Meeting at The Hexagon, Reading 2004; Talk on Thatcham Reedbed etc 2004; Members' Evening 2004; Flower arrangements for HADCAF 2004; Victorian Evening 2004; New Year dinner 2005; 90 years of the W.I. 2005; "Stepping Out" Competition 2005; Lunch at The Wheatsheaf 2005; new Year Dinner 2006; Walking at Froxfield 2006; HADCAF Coffee Morning 2006; Visit to Lille to meet German pen friends 2006.
- Scrap Book (blue looseleaf) 2007-2012: Programme 2007-2008; AGM 2007-2008; Celebration of life of Adele Gotobed; "My favourite walk", 2007; HADCAF 2007; W.I. Show 2007; "Hungerford Fire Brigade" by Jack Williams 2007; Christmas entertainment 2007; New Year lunch 2008; AGM 2008; Programme 2008-09; "World of SAGA Travel" 2008; Styles Silver, 2008, Poetry Reading 2008; R.S.P.B, Photo competition 2008; New Year celebration 2009; "Fabulous Fabrics2 by R. Tanner 2009; Committee 2009-2010; "My T.V. Experiences" by Mrs J. Sheppard 2009; Programme 2009-10; Richard Kelly on House of Commons 2009; Janet Guiver on A.C.W.W. 2009; Horticultural Show 2009; John Miller on "The Office of High Sheriff" 2009; Indoor Games evening 2009; AGM 2010; "Rally Driving for Pensionable Ladies" by Sue Howell and Mrs Falcon 2010; Easter Bonnet Competition 2010; Eco-Chic W.I. Models at John o' Gaunt School 2010; "The Language of Flowers" by Joy Boddington 2010; Mystery trip 2010; "A World Tour" fund-raising evening 2010; Year 6 Primary School Pupils invited to tea 2010; Christmas event 2010; AGM 2011; Call my Bluff" 2011;
- Scrap Book (black and red) 2012-2021: Programme 2011-2012; Mrs Cooper and (dog) friends 2011; Group photo 2011; Programme 2011-2012; 80th Birthday Tea Party 2011; "I joined the army" by Peter Redmond 2011; "A Christmas Wreath" by Sarah Styles 2011; AGM 2012; "Oscar Nemon" by Lady Aurelia Young 2012; "The Real Downton Abbey" by the Countess of Carnarvon" HADCAF 2012; "A Musical Showcase" 2012; Annual Council Meeting of Berkshie W.I.s 2012; AGM 2013; Philip Brown, violin maker 2013; Fiona Hobson on "The duties of Tutti man and the traditions of Tutti Day" 2013; Party Time 2013; Robin Shattock (who butchered a lamb during his talk) 2013; David Howard 2013; "Collectible Costume jewellery" 2014; Stained Glass workshop at Denman 2014; W.I. Centenary Baton handed over at Hungerford Wharf 2015; Service of Celebration for Hugh and Susan Ennion 2015; Berkshire News (inc Hungerford members at Buckingham Palace garden party 2015; Beehive Competition 2015; Group Meeting, Stewart Hofgartner, antiques expert 2016; skittles evening 2016; Visit to Denman 2018; Knee blankets donated to Royal Berks Hospital 2018; Extravaganza 2018; St. Lawrence's Church Flower Festival 2018; AGM 2019; Games at Ann Martin's home 2019; Walking group 2019; With Hampstead Norreys Bell Ringers 2019; Programme 2019-20; Berkshire federation Centenary Service 2019.
- Scrap Book (Large red) Newspaper Cuttings 1994-1998.