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The Gaddesden Society Woman's Institute

Women's Institute

Following on from my invitation in the autumn Diary we were very happy to welcome several visitors to our meetings, all of whom have decided to join us as members - do look out for our posters which always advertise Open Meetings and those that at which visitors are welcome.


In September we hosted a very interesting speaker Frances Watkins who spoke widely about the use of herbs in medicine and wellbeing. She is trained to take a detailed case history, diagnose, prescribe herbal medication and offer nutritional advice and has recently completed a PhD in 10th Century wound healing! Members were able to ask lots of questions and were keen to invite her back for another talk. This was followed by a Gardeners’ Question Time panel made up of our own members, whose wide ranging knowledge helped answer some of our gardening problems.


In October we enjoyed a convivial fish and chip supper with a quiz and beetle drive which was great fun and a great opportunity for members to circulate and catch up with everyone. Also in October a large group of us visited the Warner Textile Archive near Braintree housed in a large 18th Century silk mill. We were privileged to enter their historic storerooms where we saw samples of woven fabrics designed by the likes of Duncan Grant and Marianne Straub, those used in furnishing the Queen Mary ocean liner and silk Coronation robes. We were guided by an excellent young archivist who is herself a weaver who related the history of the Warner family dating back to 17th Century in Spitalfields. Not just a museum, the archive has recently been used in a collaboration with the high street fashion chain Oasis in designing party fabrics for the Christmas season. We ended our day with a delicious late lunch in the renovated waiting room of a 'Beeching' line railway station!


Nine members were able to attend the Autumn Council meeting of Herts WI principally to hear Dr Helen Pankhurst discuss her new book and to debate the progress of equal rights for women over the past 100 years. Helen is the granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst and the great granddaughter of Emmeline and carries on the family tradition of crusading for the emancipation of women. Her new book, ‘Deeds Not Words’ takes its name from the suffragette slogan and has been published to coincide with the centenary of the suffragettes’ great victory - the passing of the Representation of the People Act, which first gave some women the right to vote in 1918. She was an inspiring speaker who sought to include her audience and pick up on their ideas posing as many questions as she answered. We were all inspired!


We are now looking forward to our Christmas party and a trip to the ballet to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in the New Year as well as all the interesting speakers, trips and hobby groups that we have planned for 2019. Do come along if your interest is piqued!

Fiona Masters

How to get in touch…

Gaddesden Society President
Trevor Fernandes 01442 843498

Gaddesden Society Honorary Secretary
Mandy Haynes 01442 842496

Gaddesden Society Treasurer
Phil Heaphy 01442 842283
[email protected]

Diary Editorial Team

Phil and Rachael Heaphy 01442 842 283 [email protected]

Matt Laver
[email protected]

Genny Snowdon 01442 843834

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