This page has been started in September 2012- it will be added to as we obtain material.


Rydal WI was formed in 1952 with meetings in the village of Rydal during the year to decide where to meet etc. 

 PRESIDENT-Mrs J.I.H. Curwen

 Secretary - Miss Anderton

 Treasurer - Mrs Gibbs

Mrs Margaret Fuller is our only member who helped form the group  in 1952, but she was unable to attend the first meeting in November 1952 as she was busy giving birth to her first child- Mark.



                                                        Programme for the first full year 1953 - It is handwritten


                                   Page 1 of the programme


         March 1953 - Mrs Mylchreest is the guest speaker.

 Here Mrs Mylchreest is being made a serving
         Sister of the Order in London,( Photo from Fiona her daughter)


                                                                                                                      Mrs Mylchreest and her best friend Kathy Kelly-                                                                                                                     who is a  founder  member are pictured together-
                                                                                                                Fiona is sure Kathy would have asked her mum to talk .

In March Mrs Mylchreest, the local doctor's wife gave the talk on "Home Nursing"
  Mrs Mylchreest also  helped with the local guide group on their badges. She was not a member of Rydal WI as she lived with her family in Ambleside. Her daughter is one of our current  members, Fiona Sparrow was for many years  the  secretary of our group.

Page 2 of the programme




The competitions are so interesting, best darn of a sock, a button hole, all skills young mothers would need.



             The making of a jar of preserve is still a popular activity for many WI members,

Below is a small part of the page on the Rydal Society's excellent Website

The WI was formed in 1952 and the first meeting was held at Rydal Cottage
(now Manor Cottage) ,
the home of Miss Florence Anderton .
 It is on  the main road opposite the  Reading Room and was once the home of Mary L Armitt, the well known historian who wrote about Ambleside, Rydal and Grasmere
The first
President was Mrs Joan Curwen (nee le Fleming)
 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 Reading Room where the WI met for many years, the room they used was on the upper floor
 which was accessed by the wooden stair case,

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.


The 1954 programme reveals how the group have progressed with a printed programme and the committees and tea hostesses organised.   In April they held their meeting at Mr. George  Cooks studio in North Road with a pottery demonstration.


                                                                     His   studio and kiln in an abandoned corn mill by Stock Ghyll. 





                      The programme is very varied as in the previous year.

                                     The photograph has missed the price it was an Xmas present costing less than 2/6
                                                   that was a half a crown and in todays money 12 and a half pence.


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