Rydal WI  was formed in 1952 and the first meeting  was held at  Rydal Cottage   (now Manor Cottage) ,   the home of  Miss Florence Anderton .   The first President  was Mrs Joan Curwen (nee le Fleming)
and Miss Anderton was the  secretary.

 After that the meetings were held in the Reading Room, Rydal and there was strong support from the village.   The  WI’s were  instrumental in covering social  issues and  in the early years.  Rydal keenly  supported the weekly collection of  household rubbish .   Up until the late 50’s    rubbish was collected monthly and previous to that it  was collected by Edgar Walker (a resident of Rydal), with a horse and cart and this was  put into the lower quarry hole at the Loughrigg Quarries.  

The membership was always about 50-strong and there was often a waiting list of people from Ambleside wanting  to join this small friendly  institute.    Every March   a ‘Spring Show’ was held in the Reading Room;  competitors  from Rydal and neighbouring institutes joined in the fun as everyone  was keen to win the first prize in the cookery section or  flower arranging or handicrafts sections.   This was the main money raising event of the year and true to WI tradition, coffee and home-made biscuits, cottage pie lunches and afternoon tea was served.

Members are encouraged to join in county-wide activities such as  croquet, tennis, quiz nights, learning to speak with confidence, painting days, upholstery classes and walks, visits to important exhibitions, galleries and a show.   Many members have attended  pottery, cookery and  millinery   courses  at Denman College, the WI house in Oxfordshire.

 Despite trying to encourage younger women  into this organisation, the membership has gone down. Over the years there have been many recruitment drives from the National Federation but it is very hard to persuade working women  to come and join us – if only they realized what fun they could  have.

 Rydal WI no longer meets in Rydal village itself.     Because the Reading Room  did not have a ‘proper’   toilet,   and we learnt there was a fund available to update  the facilities of village halls,   the WI sought permission to get a grant to put in a toilet.   Unfortunately we didn’t get the support of our Landlord and we were forced to find an alternative venue.

 We now meet in the Kelsick Centre, St. Mary’s Lane, Ambleside at 7.30 pm on the second Tuesday in the month (except  in August).    
Rydal WI is part of the Lakes Group
The Group consists of
          Hawkshead and Outgate
(Troutbeck used to be part of our group which is why we still invite their members to our events.)
There is a Group Convener chosen from one of the WIs in the Group who serves for two years. The Convener is responsible for organizing an annual group meeting hosted in turn by the WIs in the Group.
2010- Judy Dent from Hawkshead
 The Group meeting is held in April.
In 2010 it was hosted by Brathay
in 2011 by Ambleside.
in 2012 by Rydal, (Our Diamond Jubilee)
in 2013 by Grasmere
by 2014 by Hawkshead
The Lakes Group is part of the Cumbria-Westmorland Federation, (CWFWI) which has an Office in Kendal.
The present Chairman is/Ruth Rigg January 2011. The Federation has numerous sub-committees for membership, finance, shows and exhibitions and areas of interest such as sports and leisure, music and drama, current affairs and food. These latter sub-committees organize events and visits for WIs in the Federation.
The CWFWI holds two annual meetings for all its member WIs
          1. Annual Council Meeting in September
          2. Half Yearly Council Meeting in March

At these meetings resolutions may be proposed, 
Member WIs of the CWFWI are then asked to support any action advised.
The CWFWI organizes the WI exhibits at the County Show and Holker Hall Flower Festival.
The CWFWI in January presents the motions chosen by the NFWI for the June AGM to its member WIs and asks for their votes.
The CWFWI produces the monthly newsletter.
The CWFWI raises money for its expenses through the 200+ Club and from profits made from meetings and outings.
The Cumbria-Westmorland Federation is part of the National Federation. (NFWI)
Members of the National Executive are elected for 2 years by individual WIs.
At present Susan Winter from CWFWI is a member of NFWI.
The National Federation holds an AGM in June. Every other year this is held in the Albert Hall. Usually they debate two resolutions which have been chosen from a short list presented to all WIs at Consultative meetings in January.
Any WI can submit a resolution to the NFWI.
Rydal WI is part of a linking group from which a delegate is asked to attend the June AGM and vote on behalf of the group.
Our group consists of
 Ambleside 2008
                   Rydal 2009 (Sylvia Foreman )
                  Brathay 2010( Margaret Glaister)
                   Grasmere- 2011 (Mary Bass)
Delegates expenses are met from a pooling fund to which all WIs contribute.
The NFWI sets the subscription rates, which are divided between the individual WI, the CWFWI and the NFWI. If we subsidise the subscriptions, this must be at our own expense.
The NFWI is affiliated to the ACWW (Association of Country Women Worldwide) and all WIs support their charity work, which usually takes the form of a project for women in the third world. This is done by “pennies for friendship,” a collection made yearly.
WI Enterprises is the organization that raises money for NFWI funds – through the yearly raffle and by selling WI products.
Denham College was set up in 1948 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire to provide adult education for WI members. It presently has problems with finances. If Rydal members wanted to go on a course, financial help could be provided from our funds and the CWFWI has a number of bursaries that can be applied for. 

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