Harold Wood Evening WI was formed in November 1963.  Members of the existing WI in Harold Wood, which met in the afternoons, helped form the new evening institute.

It was thought that younger women may not be able to attend an afternoon session as they might be caring for children or at work. 


In March 1934 Mrs Odd, Mrs Hunter and a Miss Mallinson were asked to make a banner.  In April 1935 Mrs Putman made a gift of the banner entirely all her work.  Mrs Woolger and Mrs Martin offered to make a tablecloth in WI colours in May 1934 and was presented to the WI on March 11th 1935 by Mrs Woolger. 


The afternoon institute was formed in 1921 and in 1965 had 140 members!  Sadly, the afternoon institute no longer exists and it is the “baby” they created that survives. 


Golden Jubilee Scrap Book


In 1965, the two institutes created a scrap book to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Women’s Institute in the UK.  The original scrap book is held in the Family History Section of Romford Central Library and contains many photographs and typed contributions that throw light on what Harold Wood was like in the 60s.


A map of Harold Wood is included and shows the names of the shops that existed then.  There was a greengrocer, wool shop, decorating shop and some that still remain such as the Co-Op and the Post Office.  The station had a coal yard that was closed in 1965. 


There are photographs of the ladies at their meetings.  How times have changed most of the members are wearing hats!  Activities enjoyed by the members were mostly traditional:  crafts; cake decoration; flower arranging; keep fit and badminton are all mentioned in the scrap book.  For the Golden Jubilee a garden party was held at Buckingham Palace and there is a photograph of the two ladies chosen to represent Harold Wood WIs and a copy of one of the invitations.  In 2015, fifty years on, one of our members was able to attend another garden party at the palace granted for the centenary of the Women’s Institute in the UK.





It is with a great sense of pride that in this Golden Jubilee Year, I write this as President.  We, at Harold Wood, celebrate our fifty glorious years in June 1971.  It was originally formed on December 18 1922.


One of our founder members still lives in Harold Wood and prior to illness last Christmas, always came to our monthly Whist Drives.  This, she hopes to continue to do in the Autumn.


Thinking of founder members, some of us are proud to have helped to form Harold Wood Evening Women’s Institute, a baby still, but a very energetic and thriving three year old.


We have a membership of 140 this year.  Hope springs eternal and we are always looking for new members.  Being and “elderly” institute, a number of our members have retires and moved away and we were very sad when three of our especially loved members passed away this year.


Despite our “middle age”, we enjoy Badminton, Keep-fit and Dancing Classes and many outings.


At our Flower Show, the summer highlight, we had 456 entries in 72 classes.


It is a great privilege this year for our institute to be represented in the County Organisation Sub-Committee.


A large amount of silver paper and milk tops is brought each month and this is given to the local Rotary Club to help ultimately in the purchase of a Guide Dog for the Blind.


Our funds have been helped enormously by the sale of cakes, aprons, preserves, etc., most generously made by members.  A stall, consisting of surplus Christmas presents, also proved to be most successful.


Each Christmas, we find great joy in providing a party for the “Darby & Joan” Club.


Worried at first by the lack of a potential M.C., we subsequently found the talent of a committee member to lie in that direction.  We then enjoyed every minute of our Social, complete with a demonstration of Scottish Dancing.  We were delighted to welcome on that evening, as at other events, a number of members from neighbouring W.I.’s.


Our grateful thanks are extended this year, as always, to the Committee of Harold Wood Memorial Institute, for their co-operation in so many ways.


This would certainly not be complete without a reference to our Golden Jubilee Fair at Danbury.  Our “spinner” appeared to be quite successful, both financially and with the “model” hats, made with great ingenuity by our treasurer and worn by the staff!  What a wonderful day that was!


May I, please, on behalf of Harold Wood thank all those who have helped in the compiling of this, our Golden Jubilee Scrap Book.


En avant, now, to our Diamond Jubilee!






The above Institute was formed in November 1963, with a membership of 55.  The first President elected was Mrs. H Greaves.  The first four meetings were held in the British Legion Hall, Athelstan Road, but interest in the Institute grew so rapidly that at the beginning of 1964, the meetings were transferred to the new Social Centre in Gubbins Lane.


The Institute endeavours to cater for young wives and mothers unable to attend an afternoon meeting.  A number of successful functions have been arranged including an annual Autumn Fair, usually held in late September or early October.  This year for the first time, grant-aided classes on cake icing and decoration have been arranged, the members themselves expressing a wish for this subject.


A number of members are also members of the Harold Wood Women’s Institute which meets on the afternoon and it is hoped that these members derive pleasure

from attending both Institutes.








Afternoon WI

Evening WI

Buckingham Palace Invitation

Ladies at the Garden Party


Coal Siding


Word Documents:

Extracts from the two Presidents 1965 -  re-typed

H Greaves

W.F Taylor




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