Monday, 14 June 2021
YVONNE, our president, welcomed all members to our October meeting.
Forthcoming trips and events were discussed before our speaker for the evening, Faith
Faith had come along to demonstrate her flower arranging talent.
In just 40 minutes, she made a Christmas swag, a delightful arrangement in a cup and saucer and a festive table arrangement, all the while entertaining us with amusing stories of her experiences.
This was a fascinating demonstration and we were all impressed at how easy Faith had made it look.
Three lucky members went home with one of the arrangements as Faith had very kindly donated these as prizes
Please come along to one of our meetings, you will be made most welcome. We meet at Benson parish hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm.
Our next meeting will be on December 16 when Jenni Matthews will be entertaining us with “Sing Along Show Stoppers”.
For more information, please call Lin Reader on (01491) 836800.
ON Wednesday, November 17
Mr Williams gave us a fascinating insight into India through the eyes of the
On their return to the UK, they used their fortune and influence to buy property and even purchase seats in Â Parliament.
The British East India Company, set up in 1600, was one of the richest and most powerful trading companies in the world in its time.
Outmanoeuvred by the Dutch East India Company in the Far East (monopoly spice trading in the islands), the English concentrated on trading in India and, to a lesser extent, China.
Presidencies were established in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, all towns founded by the company.
The company was wound up after the Indian Mutiny in 1857 and the age of the English Raj followed with direct rule by the Crown and Â Westminster.
Mr Williams explained how the title nabob is derived from the Urdu word “nawab”, meaning deputy. India was divided into provinces, each with a deputy (nawab) in charge and these
In the late 18th century a few staff of the East India Company became immensely rich through various practices, some of them dubious.
The major concentration of returning nabobs was into Berkshire, known in the 18th century as the English Hindustan.
Berkshire was a good location, close to the Crown in Windsor and to the House of Commons in London.
Many nabobs bought themselves seats in Parliament — Francis Sykes literally bought up most of the property in Wallingford, which meant he controlled its two Parliamentary seats.
Mr Williams found 31 stately homes in Berkshire with nabob associations — in five cases more than one at different times.
Sir Francis Sykes (1732-1804) joined the company and amassed a fortune equivalent to £500million today in the province of Bengal. He also became governor of Â Kasimbazar.
On his return to the UK in 1769 he purchased several large houses, including Basildon Park, succeeding to the title 1st Baron Sykes of Basildon in 1781. He was MP for Shaftesbury from 1771 to 1784 and for Wallingford from 1784 to 1801.
Thomas Pitt (1653-1726) was an Anglo-Indian
He went to India as a trader when he was only about 19 years old. He was later recruited by the company and became governor of Madras.
He continued trading privately, purchasing an Indian diamond weighing 141 carats for the equivalent of £2.9million. He sent it back to the UK and sold it for the equivalent of £18million, earning him the nickname “Diamond Pitt!”. The diamond is now part of the crown jewels of France on display in the Louvre in Paris.
Pitt became an MP and two of his descendants became prime ministers.
He bought many properties, including Swallowfield Park, where he died in 1726.
General George Hart (1752-1832) was an Irish military man, who served in the military campaigns in the 1790s against “Tipu, the Tiger of Mysore”.
He was also deputy paymaster general for the forces in Bombay (1788-1790) and then Madras (1791-92). With the money he accumulated in Bombay, he purchased Rose Hill, Henley Road, altering it to reflect his love of all things Chinese.
Robert Clive (1725-1774), also known simply as Clive of India or Baron Clive of Plessey, joined the East India Company as a writer when he was 19.
Three years later, he switched to a military career. His work as a statesman and soldier and marked the real beginning of the British Empire in India.
Clive avenged the tragedy that unfolded in Fort William, Calcutta, in June 1756.
Troops of the Nawab of Bengal held 120 British prisoners of war in a cramped cell later known as the “Black Hole” for one night. Come the morning many of them were found to have suffocated in the intolerable heat.
A year later, Clive fought the Nawab’s army of 100,000 at the Battle of Plassey with a force of only 3,000. One of the Nawab’s two generals was bribed to stay out of the battle. The other was killed and the result was a crushing defeat for the Nawab, who was himself killed shortly afterwards.
The disloyal general then became Nawab and gave Clive a thank you “present” of £25million in today’s money.
Richard Benyon (1698â??1774) was sent to Madras as a 14-year-old.
He became a merchant and colonial administrator for the East India Company. He served as governor of Madras from January 1735 to January 1744.
He married Mary Tyssen, of Englefield House, a superb Elizabethan mansion, still the seat of the Benyon family. The current Richard Benyon is Conservative MP for Â Newbury. George Vansittart (1745-1825) was educated at Reading School and went to India in 1761 to join his brother Henry, who was
On returning to England in 1776, George purchased Bisham Abbey and became yet another MP.
Mr Williams showed members two coins which were minted by the Honorable East India Company in 1808. They were meant to pay the company soldiers in Madras but ended up in a wreck on Goodwin Sands.
Finding that European silver coins were not accepted in parts of India, the company established a mint in Bombay in 1672 to produce copper and tin coins to serve its local needs.
In 1717 the company started minting silver rupees of Indian style in the name of the emperor. These became the principal currency of India.
Members enjoyed a delicious tea served by Maureen Rothery.
The Christmas luncheon party took place on Wednesday, December 9.
The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, January 20 at 2.30pm.
The speaker will be Mr P Hague with a talk entitled “West Wycombe Park and the Dashwoods”.
WE were back in Greys village hall for our November meeting where we were welcomed by our president, Val Mundy.
Members had contributed generously to toilet bags for the Royal Berkshire Hospital for patients admitted in emergencies and more items would be welcomed.
Greys WI has been awarded a £100 bursary by Denman College and those wishing to visit the college were noted.
Interest was also shown in a proposed crochet workshop.
Our speaker, local historian Elizabeth Hazeldine, gave a fascinating and humorous talk called “Henley through Time”.
She spoke for 45 minutes without notes, telling us of Henley’s relationship with the River Thames from the ancient Celtic Ancalite tribe, through Roman occupation, medieval times and the effect of the Black Death, the Civil War, when Henley suffered from both parties, wealthy merchants and bargemen conducting trade with London before the coming of the railway, tourism and the regatta.
Elizabeth illustrated her talk with incidents and anecdotes about individuals from history and locations and buildings, many familiar to members, which had influenced the development of the town.
Such a wealth of information will surely encourage us to find out more about our town.
Our Christmas party will be at Greys village hall on December 16 at 2.30pm. All welcome. Make a Christmas hat and bring a plate of food to the feast.
FRANCES EMMETT, our president, thanked the 36 members who attended the annual meeting on November 12 (such a wet evening) to discuss the future of the branch and the way we can go forward with improvements and attract more members.
She had arranged a display of the boards we used for the
During the previous
Molly Carter had held photographic workshops at her home and this had improved members’ knowledge of their cameras — half the problem, she stressed, was that nobody read their instruction book!
We were looking forward to seeing our drama group in their pantomime production for the Christmas party on December 10. Members were asked to bring a contribution for the One Can Trust, which helps people in need in the Wycombe area. Any
Treasurer Sue Walden reported that we had a surplus of £769.60 for the year, which was an improvement on last year.
We had 60 members at the start of the year but she stressed that the membership fees did not cover the hall and speaker charges, so we must continue to have at least one fund-raising event each year.
She thanked Mike Wortley who again had audited the accounts.
The Wilson Cup was presented to Catherine Dinsdale for cookery and the Knight Cup to Jo Tilbury for public speaking.
The annual meeting began in earnest with Frances thanking her committee for all their hard work during her term of office, particularly secretary Nikki
She had enjoyed her three years and particularly 2015 as the WI’s centenary year and all that had involved.
She thanked Molly for her expertise with flip charts and organising the workshops, Margaret for her press reports and outings, Louise for her interesting programmes and Helen for looking after the
As this was her last meeting as president, she was presented with a bouquet and centenary rose with a card signed by members.
The names of the committee were on display and Frances asked that with the addition of one new name, Inger Osborne, they
Frances thanked the members for all their support and was pleased to announce that Margaret Spratley had agreed to take over the role of president from her if members wished it. After an election, with Maureen Cleary acting as
A fun quiz was organised during tea, which was served by Jenny Byrne, Jeannette Laming and Ann Langley.
IT was a case of “all the
Pat announced that the next South Chiltern Group meeting would not be until October 26,
Items from News & Views featured a New Year party at Deman College from December 30 to January 2, priced at £529.
A letter had been received from Huntercombe Hall care home thanking Harpsden WI members for the twiddle muffs which they had sent. These were proving very beneficial to Â residents.
There will be a fund-raising coffee morning on Wednesday, December 16 with the profits going towards the 75th anniversary of Harpsden WI, which will be celebrated at 23A Blandy Road, Henley, on September 14,
Mary Burton had recently experienced a weekend at Denman College, courtesy of a bursary, and she enjoyed “Flower arranging for autumn”.
Mary is responsible for many of the floral arrangements at Holy Trinity Church so she will be putting her newly-gained knowledge to good use.
She said the food, accommodation and tutors had all been excellent and urged members to attend a course if they could and not to worry about being on your own -— you would soon make friends!
Elizabeth Hazeldine was the very engaging speaker for the afternoon.
Her anecdotes regarding “Characters of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in Henley” tumbled out one after the other with scarcely a pause before she led on to the next rogue, misbehaving citizen or,
One of the latter was Charles Singer, who had a furniture shop in Henley and used the Quakers’ Hall to teach reading and writing to illiterate 21-year-olds.
There seemed to be a lot of tailors in Henley in earlier centuries, one of whom was Joshua Watts who occupied the building now used by Temptations in Bell Street. Mr Watts also had the title “Scribe for suspicious deaths”.
The building now used by the HSBC bank was formerly the Oxford Temperance Hotel so it wouldn’t have been a welcome fact that at one time Henley had 60 pubs in the town. West Street was unfortunately known as the area of “pubs and prostitutes”.
There were two Red Lions at one time.
Featuring largely in Henley was the Wilson family, who built the St Mark’s estate, which comprised St Andrew’s Road, St Mark’s Road and Vicarage Road. The family also built many other houses and named the roads after events of the time.
The houses in Queen Street were some of the first to be kit-built, mainly to house the workers on the Great Western Railway when it came to Henley.
Another interesting resident was the sister of Edith Cavell, who lived in Upton Lodge (where Upton Close now stands). The telegram informing of her shooting and death in the First World War was sent to her sister in Upton Lodge.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it had been the custom for shopkeepers to live above their businesses but by the
Di Painter proposed a very hearty vote of thanks to Miss Hazeldine for providing an insight into the lives of earlier residents of the town.
The competition was for a postcard or photo of old Henley and was won by Patricia Williams with Shirley Â Weyman second and Audrey Fox third.
The next meeting was to be on December 9 when Tony King would take members “From Hollywood to Broadway by train with music”.
MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE
ON Wednesday, November 4 Brian Clews gave a talk on “How birds work”,
He began by asking how birds survive in winter. While we use our duvets to keep warm what do birds do to protect themselves against the elements?
He showed some amusing slides of how he thought this should be accomplished. He reminded us that birds are with us all the time, unlike vegetation which mostly dies down in the winter. Birds are there to provide us with colour and interest all year long.
Taking us from laying the egg to the development and hatching of the chicks, he explained that some chicks emerge fully feathered and some totally naked.
But eggs, of course, can be used commercially and some are collected.
On islands such as Kilda and some of the remote Shetland
Birds have very high heart-Â rates and higher temperatures to combat the cold. They also have a very efficient heat exchange system. In summer they have to keep cool, especially when sitting on nests, and do this by flapping their wings or fanning themselves.
The amount of blood in birds is proportionally greater than in humans and gives them the warmth needed to survive.
Some birds have different plumage for males and females and for winter and summer.
Feathers are remarkable things. They have a quill down the centre and hundreds of fronds which each have tiny devices rather like Velcro with hooks on one side and eyes on the other. When birds preen they are lining up all these little devices, which enables them to waterproof their wings.
The feathers change in quantity, quality and sometimes colour throughout the year. The colour is usually in males to attract females in spring.
Brian gave us two examples of the number of feathers a bird has — 10,000 on a red kite and 2,500 on a robin.
Brian explained the skeleton of birds in great detail, the different functions of all the bones and how important the different sorts of feet are, webbed, clawed and flat.
The position and size of the eyes and how light their bones are is also vitally important in the activity of flying.
The last section of the talk he devoted to nests, their different functions and various materials.
Brian ended the evening with a lively question and answer session and an invitation to visit Mill Green WI again. The Christmas dinner was held in the Sansom Room on December 2. On January 6 there will be a members’ social evening.
Mill Green WI always welcomes visitors and new members. Our meetings are usually held in the Hannen Room, Mill Green, Wargrave, on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm.
NICK BRAZIL brought his film “The rebuilding of Whitchurch Bridge” to our November meeting.
It was very professional and I am sure it should be shown on TV as it would be of general interest to the public as well as an asset for local Â historians.
The planning and work involved was immense and involved many artisans with different skills.
Our visitors and members all look forward to visiting the “new” bridge in the near future.
Liz Waterfall and Elaine Douglas served tea after Pamela Davies gave the vote of thanks and Shirley Hartley Booth was kept busy on the Christmas sales table.
At our December
PRESIDENT Margaret Pyle welcomed members and 10 visitors to our November meeting on a rather damp but mild afternoon.
She went on to say that the record for the October meeting was available for all to see.
Margaret also reported that we are looking for someone to be a delegate at the National Federation of WIs’ annual meeting in Brighton on June 11,
Secretary Mary Robinson then drew our attention to several forthcoming items: bursaries for Denman College courses, a “something old, something new” workshop and voting slips for the WI resolutions in the November issue of WI Life.
As there were no members with birthdays during November, Margaret Seal had a day off.
We were very pleased to welcome Janet Smith to our meeting as she has been quite poorly of late and hope she would continue to improve.
Margaret Pyle also reported that Mary Richings was out of hospital following her back operation and we wish her a speedy recovery.
There were the usual two scrabble afternoons during the month and the “knit and natter” group had a few more attendees in October so we hope this will continue.
There was one walk in October down to Caversham
Margaret then introduced our speaker Gillian Franklin to talk about apples, their history and varieties and her experience.
Gillian gave a very interesting talk, telling us that apples had been introduced to Britain by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. Many different varieties have been developed over the years.
Apples are full of vitamins and minerals and very good as part of a healthy diet.
There has been a fall in the number of orchards in the UK in recent years, mainly due to EU regulations and
After the talk, there was the usual cup of tea and biscuit followed by the raffle.
The proceeds from the bring and buy sale will be donated to the purchase of items for the Royal Berkshire Hospital emergency packs. Thanks to all who contributed.
We meet at St Barnabas’s Church Hall, Emmer Green, on the first Wednesday of each month at
ROSEMARY APPLEBY took the meeting on November 18 as Joan Jolley, our president, was recovering from an eye operation.
All the members sent their best wishes to her for a speedy recovery.
Rosemary reported on some local news, including the laying of a poppy wreath at the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday and the date of the next walk.
Events of interest in News & Views were discussed, especially the report on the holiday in Harrogate which had been enjoyed by one of our members.
Details for the Christmas party were announced, including arrangements for the catering, the entertainment and Santa’s special gift.
Janet Matthews had put together some craft packs to sell for the charity Clarity, which helps blind and partially sighted people.
Sheila Ferris reminded everyone about the art and craft exhibition in the Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley.
The speaker for the afternoon was Frances Hill, who is chief executive of the Ways and Means Trust, a charity formed to provide rehabilitation and training for those recuperating from mental Â illness. She told us how the trust had started and about the work that it did.
David Duncan was concerned about the stigma of mental health in patients at local hospitals and how some had lost jobs and families. He thought it was important to rebuild their skills and to get people fit for work.
Three Reading companies offered to help — Huntley and Palmers, Sutton Seeds and Courage Brewery.
The old tin-making factory in Reading was used as premises in the early days and then the trust moved to Caversham, where it stayed until two years ago when it moved to Peppard.
The trainees are able to make small items and pack them for local companies and some go for export.
At weekends the trust runs the tea kiosk at Caversham Court Gardens. It also holds a Christmas fund-raiser when the greenhouses are lit up and gives lessons in Christmas wreath-making and sells Christmas goodies.
The trust encourages the local community to become involved, welcoming volunteers in all aspects of its work.
Lynn Turnbull gave a
The meeting ended with an excellent tea organised by Janet Matthews and Brenda Nichol.
The competition for the best money box was won by Lynn Turnbull and the winner of the best bloom was a red rose brought in by Joyce Â Vernon.
The December meeting will be the Christmas party but visitors are very welcome to join us for the January meeting, which will feature a talk on basket weaving.
THIRTY-FOUR members and three visitors attended our November meeting.
Sue Frayling-Cork welcomed all. Apologies were given for those not present and best wishes sent to anyone who had been unwell.
Invitations had been received from Cleeve-by-Goring WI and Peppard WI for two of our members to attend their Christmas parties. Chris Phillips and
Gill Hayward outlined plans for our forthcoming workshop in March. Members were asked by way of a clipboard being passed around what crafts they would like to have a go at and for further suggestions.
The committee was very pleased to note that members were enthusiastic to support and attend the workshop and will give further information at our January meeting.
Gill reported on her recent outing to Yarnton village hall, accompanied by Beverley Porteous, to attend the
They received a warm welcome and were shown to their table, which was decorated with beautiful festive table centres.
After a very enjoyable home-cooked lunch served by the committee, they were introduced to David Thompson, a national floral art demonstrator, who produced six very large and bold arrangements which were stunning. An excellent WI day out.
Jane Handley said there would be an evening Christmas dinner to be held in January.
Our treasurer gave her financial report and also said that the outing advertised by the Oxford Federation to see the Nutcracker ballet in London had been vastly oversubscribed with 400 applications for the 50 tickets available. Unfortunately, nobody from our WI was selected.
Sue Frayling-Cork gave each member a very useful booklet called Are You Ready?
Lesley Davis, our WI representative at the village hall management committee meetings, updated us on the issues relating to the hall.
Alison Bishop gave a short but comprehensive report regarding the ongoing fund-raising programme.
Reminders were given regarding the next village coffee morning and thanks were given to members for their continued support.
We continue to collect unwanted bras for our Bag a Bra campaign and have already collected more than 100 which have been sent to the charity collecting them for women in Africa.
Linda Scurr was our speaker for the evening. She gave a very amusing account of her life and how she came to live in the countryside and her endearing love of sheep.
She started off with two sheep, one given to her by a friend and the other one rescued from the garden of a council estate.
She and her partner now have 48 sheep and a very successful breeding programme to keep the various breeds going.
Linda has taught herself to spin wool and has found outlets to buy her wool for knitting into various Â garments, scarfs and rugs.
She had brought a selection of knitted items with her and we were impressed with the many shades of wool and the quality.
Linda and her partner manage all of this while holding down full-time jobs. Her energy and enthusiasm were a joy to see and our members really enjoyed her friendly and humorous tales.
The flower of the month competition was won by Angela Thorn with Christine Gibson second and
The handicraft competition was won by Sue Hedges with Angela Thorne second and Jane Handley third. Our Christmas party was due to take place on December 10.
OUR president Penny Noble opened our meeting with a new layout of chairs in the hall so we could face our newly installed banner.
We tried out a new format, splitting the announcements into two halves with the speaker in between.
This all seemed to work smoothly and so it may be repeated when practical.
Various dates for forthcoming events and invitations were given out and we had an interesting time sampling sweet things brought in by our speaker, who was the area manager for the Aldi supermarket chain.
He explained how the business differs from the other big supermarkets and how it has rapidly grown in popularity, due in part to its cheaper prices for comparable goods.
It also has a good policy on waste. A representative from the food bank/soup kitchen in Didcot calls at the town’s Aldi store every evening to collect all produce nearing its sell-by date, eliminating the need to throw it away.
The recent lunch we provided for Stoke Row Chapel members for their celebration went extremely well and our catering team were warmly thanked by the members, some of whom are also WI members.
We detailed several arrangements for the Christmas period and ended a very pleasant evening with the raffle, which included some donated Aldi cakes.
We now look forward to our many Christmas celebrations, when we open our doors to husbands and friends and give to local charities as well as enjoying ourselves.
Our new year starts with a meeting in January on books and heralds our 60th anniversary year, so we will be celebrating again!
If you would like to join us please do come along or get in touch beforehand by calling (01491) 628849.
THE speaker for our November evening meeting was Mike Payne, who gave us an interesting talk about Pinewood Studios.
The studios began at Heatherden House, near Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire.
The house has been immaculately kept through its long history, as have the Â gardens.
Mike took us through some great films and the familiar stars who have worked at Â Pinewood.
Today the studios are still in great demand and long may this continue.
In January we are going to the pantomime in Wallingford, which this year is Rapunzel.
A New Year’s dinner at the Chequers Inn, Watlington, is being arranged.
If you have not yet gone to see the Christmas tree festival at St Leonard’s Church, please go and support the church and look out for our WI tree, which has a theme of
The first meeting of the new year will be held at the town hall on January 12 at 7.30pm. Our speaker will be Jane Few Brown, giving a talk called “From Vladivostok to Moscow”.
For more information, please call Kath Gomm on (01491) 612939.
THE speaker for our November meeting was Edward Dixon, who spoke on “Painting the war” and reminded us of many images which had an emotional impact at the time of the First World War.
There were painters such as Norman Wilkinson, Sir George Clausen and Sir William Orpen, who was sent to France as a war artist and later produced two well-known pictures, The Peace Process and Signing the Peace.
The Paul Nash paintings The Menin Gate and No Man’s Land and John Singer Sargent, Wyndham Lewis, C W Nevinson and William
Three members were given birthday greetings and flowers.
The winner of the flower of the month competition was May Cairns and Joan Killick won the raffle.
Our next meeting will be our Christmas lunch at the Pack Saddle, while in January we will be getting moving after the Christmas festivities with a session of tai chi under the direction of Karen Pounds.
Meetings take place at Goring Heath
For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.
SHIRLEY BRYANT welcomed the members and two visitors, Sandra Walters and Jean Cowley, to the November meeting,
We had a lovely tea thanks to Dot Tyler, Joyce Sopp and Jenny Gough.
The birthday girls this month were Kathy Tarrant, Betty Thomas, Joyce Sopp, Evelyn Howes and Vera Clift.
Many of the members had enjoyed a lunch at the Wig and Pen in Oxford followed by a trip to the theatre to see The Bodyguard.
Our speaker was Jane Finnerty who talked about how to be “dementia friendly” and how this disease impacts so many lives.
The bloom of the month winner was Patricia Jessup with a lovely rose.
We meet in Woodcote Â village hall on the third Wednesday of each month and new members are welcome.
14 December 2015
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