Etching Hill Women's Institute


President, Ann Ingleby, welcomed Helen Mancey, WI Advisor to their Annual General Meeting. Once the formal proceedings of the AGM were completed, with the incumbent President being re-elected, Ann highlighted the activities that had taken place during the past twelve months. These included the handover of the Public Access Defibrillator now in situ at the Village Hall, visiting Woodleighton Grove Gardens in Uttoxeter, Carols by candlelight at Arley Hall, Cheshire, dining at Hawksyard Hall for the Christmas party, the skittles evening in Hednesford and Members invited on a regular basis to meet for lunch at various local venues.
An interesting and varied programme of speakers had been enjoyed along with two mini auctions and competitions held throughout the year. The overall winner of these competitions was Lynn Baxter who was presented with the Helen Dawson Trophy. Chris Pemberton and Joyce Setterfield followed closely in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Etching Hill WI recently hosted the Rose and Shamrock Group Meeting. Guest speaker, Notty Hornblower gave commentary on her models as they strutted the catwalk wearing fabulous vintage clothing dating back to the early 1920s. The Group competition was to make and bring a 1920s flapper headband and following judgement by Notty, Chris Pemberton from Etching Hill WI was announced the winner.
Ann was pleased to report that many tickets had now been sold for the Fashion Show being held on Thursday 19th April 2018 at St Joseph’s Community Hall.
The speaker at the meeting on 9th May 2018 is Lynn Evans on the History of Clog Dancing followed by the 72nd Birthday Party.


President Ann Ingleby opened the meeting and welcomed several new guests. “How shall we ever know if it is morning if there is no servant to pull up the blind”? Guest speaker, Dr Janis Lomas quoted from JMBarrie’s 1902 satirical play, The Admirable Crichton, to highlight her research into the class issues of country house servants during the Victorian/Edwardian era.
The larger Country Houses had up to 300 servants governed by butlers and housekeepers. Housemaids worked extraordinarily long hours from 5.00am and remained ‘invisible’ at all times having to avert their eyes should a member of the household pass by. The maids were given material as a Christmas gift, for them to make their own uniforms. The female staff often shared narrow beds in unheated attics, whilst the men slept in the basement. Grooms and stable boys slept in the stables. Gardeners slept near to the heated greenhouses in order to stoke up the fires in the winter. Extravagant ten course dinners would cost the equivalent of a servant’s annual wage.
Janis also spoke about her research into Arthur Munby (b1828), a barrister/solicitor who was fascinated with working class women and would wander around the streets of London to approach and discuss with them their lives and work. He thus met Hannah Cullwick, (b1833) from Shifnal, Shropshire, who, due to financial misfortune in her family, had to start working in service at the age of 8. They fell in love but due to their social class differences, married in secret and outwardly maintained their master and servant status. They’re relationship was fiery with Hannah not wishing to relinquish her independence and eventually after 36 years she returned to Shropshire to work. They remained in contact until her death.
Ann Ingleby thanked members who had kindly brought in toiletries and home made cakes for donation to St Giles Hospice. She announced that, sadly, Brereton WI had closed and would therefore not be attending the Group Meeting being hosted by Etching Hill WI on Monday 19th March.

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