WI_logos_100 years

          History of 100 Years of PRESTBURY Women's Institute

Just over one hundred years ago a new group for supporting women, which had started in Canada, reached Prestbury. A few WI groups had already started up in Gloucestershire and this inspired the ladies of Prestbury to start a group in the village. Women had learnt the importance of helping each other when men folk were away fighting in the war. Forming a WI was a way to carry on sharing skills and giving companionship to others.

On February 14th 1921 strange things were happening in Prestbury. People were seen carrying chairs to the Kings Arms Public House, husbands and fathers carrying them for wives and daughters. The ladies were then left on their own and the first meeting of Prestbury WI was held.

The villagers must have got used to this monthly spectacle and the strength of the group must have impressed Major Capel. He gave the group land on which to build its own hall. Money was lent and raised enabling the present hall to be built. It was opened in 1925. Those first members must have been inspired to achieve so much in four years!

Meetings would have been very different then with the ladies wearing hats and warm clothing in the winter and often bringing knitting to do while listening to the business of the meeting. Refreshments were more grand than the tea and biscuits we expect today, as sandwiches and cakes were the norm, with these being prepared in a small room by the stage.

In the early 50’s a new kitchen was built. It has seen much activity, from the provision of meals to celebrate birthday and harvest for the members to the baking of scones and cakes for coffee mornings and jam making sessions.

Members have hired the hall for parties and we have said goodbye to members at their wakes. Non-members have held wedding receptions and parties in the hall. These activities have enabled us to retain this great facility for the use of the WI and the community.