History of the Old Basing Women’s Institute 1919-2021
Old Basing W.I. Was formed on 10th March 1919. The first meeting was held on Tuesday 1st April 1919 at ‘Springfield’ The Street Old Basing at 7pm. The first committee was President, Mrs Rachel Maddocks, Vice-President, Mrs Constance Hoare, Secretary Mrs E D Ford and treasurer, Mrs Kate Barton. 68 members were enrolled at this first meeting. Annual subscriptions were 2 shillings and visitors were charged 3 pence. Subsequent meetings were held at the old village hall, the School, Huish, Old Basing House, and Daneshill. Mrs Inkpen, mother of Mrs Betty Holmes MBE, was a founder member. On Tuesday 6th April 1920 Betty’s father, Sergeant Major Inkpen was the speaker—his subject was ‘Bee Keeping’.
We celebrated our Golden Jubilee on 10th March 1969 and our 75th Anniversary in March 1994 when we raised money and presented a wooden seat for use in the Conservation Area at St Mary’s Church. In 2019 we celebrated our Centenary when we planted a native tree at the Recreation Ground. Our Craft Group also made a Wall Hanging which is on display in the Parish Rooms at St Marys Church. We are actually only one year younger than the formation of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and are extremely proud of our longevity.
From February 1971 until December 2002 there was a very active and enthusiastic Basing Afternoon W.I. There were many times over the 31 years of its existence that we joined each other on special festive occasions and events. However, attracting older members of the community the numbers slowly diminished, plus reluctance to serve on committee led to its very sad closure. Now only the Old Basing WI evening group remains.
As of 2021 we have 42 Members and we have an elected Committee of 6.
We meet the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Parish Room. Members greatly enjoy the variety of monthly speakers. Members meet for Coffee @ Conkers every week and there is also a monthly lunch club at a local pub. We run a monthly Craft Group which meets at the Pavilion Tea Rooms and we organise a monthly walk from Spring through to Autumn.
Twice yearly theatre outings to the Haymarket Theatre and the Anvil and our regular Skittles evenings are also very popular. Every summer we hold a “Garden Party” and we celebrate with a Festive Meal at a local pub in January We take part in Village events such as the Carnival, the Christmas Fair at Basing House, the Remembrance Day parade and the St Mary’s Christmas Tree festival. Recently we have held a successful Christmas Fair and we have plans to hold a Summer event in 2021.
2020/2021 has been a difficult time for everyone, but the Old Basing WI have embraced new technology and have been holding meetings on Zoom until we are able to meet again in person. We have been keeping in touch through a monthly Newsletter emailed to Members.
If you would like to join our long running and thriving group please contact our President Sue Stewart by email at firstname.lastname@example.org