Hot Topics June 2017

Fiona welcomed 58 members and 5 guests.

SFWI Centenary: Fiona went on to mention the 100th anniversary of Surrey Federation of WIs which happens next year. They are inviting every WI in the federation to produce a double page entry for the Centenary Record Book. We have the written history page of our WI covered but would like members to produce a page showing a craft work representation. It can be created in pastel, charcoal, water colour (not oil), pen and ink, fabric, needlework (no raised work e.g stumpwork, beads, buttons) or photography. PLEASE NOTE special acid-free paper and photographic paper has to be used for artwork and photos (please contact Lys for this special template paper which has 35mm border). To ensure consistency all work should be the size of H227mm x W140mm (portrait orientated) and un-mounted. We know we have some very talented members and hope you will take part – all entries have to be in at or before our September meeting when we will have a competition to choose the winning entry.

Members’ Open Day: The NFWI will be hosting two open days on 22nd and 23rd November at the headquarters of the WI in London. The days will be hosted by the NFWI chair and a member of the NFWI Board of Trustees and will give members the opportunity to find out about the work of the NFWI, have a tour of the building and to meet the staff.

Summer Party: This year’s summer part will be held on Saturday, 19th August at the Ursuline School and will cost £10 – partners welcome. Fiona reminded us that it will be our 10th year next year and we will be planning a garden party to celebrate.
Christmas Meal: We have booked the ‘Taste’ restaurant at South Thames College in Morden Park again for our Christmas meal as everyone enjoyed it so much last year. The date is Wednesday, 6th December (£29.95)
Library and Museum of Freemasonary, Covent Garden: Thursday, 5th October.
Waddesdon Manor, Thursday, 23rd November: For a 26 seater coach the cost would be £34.00. For a 53 seater coach the cost would be £26.00.
There will be sign-up sheets for all the above at next meeting but please contact Gillian in the meantime if interested.

2018 Diaries: Next year’s WI diary order needs to be in by the end of next month. They cost £4.60. There will be a sign-up sheet at July’s meeting or you could let Wendy know if you would like one.

St. Raphael’s Hospice: Sheila welcomed Lucia Heard a Representative from St. Raphael’ s to our meeting when she handed her a cheque for £1,403.28 being the monies we have raised this year for this worthwhile charity.
Cheam Open Garden: Gillian T also thanked everyone who made cakes for this event and those who helped on the day when £379.22 was raised for St. Raphael’s Hospice.

Downview Dames WI: Eileen mentioned the visit she and Dulcie made recently to the coffee morning held by the newly formed Downview Dames at Downview Prison in Sutton when they were selling their craft work. We have received a lovely letter thanking us for attending and for all the donations made by our WI. We were both very impressed with how creative the Dames are and what they have achieved in such a short time.

Wimbledon Fair: Fiona said a big “thank you” to Veronica for all her hard work to make the stall so successful. Veronica mentioned that she also wanted to thank everyone who helped towards the day both on the Friday and on the Saturday and for all the wonderful produce. We had a very good day, albeit very hot, and the final figure made is £1,037.15 – so well done everyone.

My WI: My WI is a brand new website that was launched on 12th June and is exclusive to WI members, to help them get the best from their membership. It includes the latest NFWI information and advice for running your WI, to campaigns actions, inspiring cookery, craft and floral design projects that have been specially designed for members. My WI is a one-stop-shop for everything a WI member needs to know. Some of our members have already received an email from NFWI MCS2 entitled “Welcome to the Digital WI, please find your login details below” but a few of us have not – please check your “spam” boxes. If you haven’t had this email, please let Dulcie know who will take it up with SFWI .

Speaker for the evening: Fiona then introduced Kath Start who gave us a talk on Oral History. Oral history is the systematic collection of living people’s testimonies about their own experiences – it is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumour. Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyse them, and place them in an accurate historical context. Kath proceeded to show us many examples of books published from Oral interviews ranging from a Brighton Fishing Community to Debs at War. When Kath was Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, she recognised that there was little visible evidence of the nurses who had trained or worked at St. George’s Hospital. So a project was undertaken to capture the narratives of three prestigious London hospitals. More than 300 interviews were generated for the project, featuring nurses and midwives who trained or worked between 1929 and 1990 at one of St.George’s Hospital, Guy’s and St.Thomas’ Hospital or St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. The project set out specifically to provide an account of the developments and changes within nursing and to produce a collective narrative of nursing viewed through the memories of those who worked there. Hospital histories have traditionally concentrated on buildings and celebrated physicians and surgeons. The treatment of patients so often unremarked in official accounts of the institution can now be told. Kath said volunteers were offered the opportunity to conduct interviews as well as be interviewed, with full training in oral history interviewing provided. Many topics were mentioned ranging from battle-axe matrons, uniform, recruitment/selection, Christmas and living arrangements. These interviews brought about many emotions and feelings for both former nurses and volunteers and it was obvious a duty of care was needed for the volunteers. It was a long process as often the interviews were over an hour long and would take another 4 hours to transcribe. The aim of the research was to create a collection of memories in order to compare and contrast experiences of individuals at these hospitals during a period of great social change. We found Kath’s talk very interesting and realise how important it is to have history, such as this, documented. As an afterthought and on searching the internet, in the 1950’s, the Matron included the ability to play tennis in the list of attributes required of potential St. George’s Nurses – how times have changed!

Next Meeting: 17th July. Professor Maggie Andrews talking on: “100 years of the WI: The acceptable face of feminism”.