Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hot Topics November 2013

birthday-partyThere were 85 members, 2 new members, and 2 visitors present for our Annual Meeting and 5th Birthday celebrations. We also welcomed Sally Dampney, Jill Elliot, members from Fulham and SW19 and Bea Oliver of Morden.

The draw for our Denman College Bursary for 2013/14 was held and Alison Frow and Katie Worsley were successful. We hope they enjoy their time at Denman.

Members were once again generous with their donations to both the Food Bank and with Christmas gifts to our Charity of the Year 2013 – Carers Support Merton.

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting began with the presentation of the Financial Statement for the year, by the Treasurer (Janice Beale). This was adopted by members. Ann Dolphin (Secretary) read out the Committee’s Report for 2012/13 covering some highlights of our programme and activities. Agnes Fox as President addressed the meeting, thanking both the members for their support throughout the year, and the Committee for all the work and planning that goes into providing such a varied programme of events. She thanked Janice and Eileen Smith who were both standing down this year from the Committee. She also thanked Veronica Smith (for her organising of our Wimbledon Village Fair) and Angela Maher (for allowing us to use her premises for the preparations, and other activities).The Committee’s Annual Report was adopted.

Our new Committee members for 2013/14 were announced as follows:-

Margaret Brotherton (new),
Joanna Cardwell (new) responsible for our Website and Vice President,
Ann Dolphin – Secretary
Dulcie Edwards – MCS Representative,
Agnes Fox,
Fiona Gerdes-Hansen – Vice President,
Gillian Kitcherside – Social,
Christine Mayne (new) – Treasurer,
Daphne Monk – Catering & Theatre,
Jennifer Wright – Minutes/Agenda.
Agnes will serve as President for another year.

Tess Corrigan gave thanks on behalf of the members to the President and Committee for their work in the preceding year.

5th Birthday Celebrations

Once business was out of the way, we moved onto our 5th Birthday celebrations.  These included light refreshments and drinks (our thanks to Gillian and Julia Whiting and others who helped organise these).

Members had the opportunity to talk to each other and see/hear about some of the activities of our WI over the last 5 years.  Dulcie and Eileen had prepared a slide show with highlights of our activities since our inception.

We were pleased to welcome guests from the Federation (Sally Dampney and Jill Elliott) and representatives from some of our neighbouring WIs, Carers Support Merton (our Charity of the Year 2013) and Merton & Morden Guild (our Charity of the Year 2014). The celebrations culminated with the cutting of a Birthday cake jointly by Sheila May and Lesley Challacombe (our 2 previous Presidents) together with Agnes. The cake made by Dulcie and decorated by Jennifer gained many plaudits – our thanks to them both. Sally, Sheila, Lesley and Agnes all said a few words. Sheila in particular gave a brief description of setting up our WI with the help from Sally, and encouraging us in future to become more involved with the local community.


Whitechapel Bell Foundry

We all met out outside the foundry, which in fact looked like a small Victorian shop and gave no indication of the industry behind.

Once inside we were shown round by a very informative guide who told us that this foundry was the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, having been established in 1570 (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I) and being in continuous business since that date. It has made the bells for Bow, St Clements, Big Ben, the Liberty Bell and the very large bell used at the 2012 London Olympics at the opening ceremony.

We were told of the process of manufacturing bells, from casting the moulds to tuning the bells to ensure the perfect match in tonal and pitch quality for each individual project.  By a wonderful coincidence the bells that had just been cast were commissioned by St John’s Church, Spencer Hill, Wimbledon.

I’m sure Wimbledon WI members will be following the bells’ progress and eventual hanging (Especially Dulcie, whose daughter is getting married in that church in the spring (? not sure of the date).

We were then shown round all the various departments including the area where they make the bell frames that the bells are hung from.

We were then taken up some very steep and rickety old stairs to the areas where  the smaller handbells are finished and leather handles fitted.
Everyone had a very interesting and enjoyable tour and all came away very much more knowledgeable about bells of all sizes and the way they are made.

Thanks to Lou Collis for the description and photos