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Thursday, 28 May 2015

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Women’s institute reports

IN March, Bernard Hope told the story of the history of Penshaw monument.

We were extremely grateful to him, because the original speaker was unavailable at the last minute.

The Penshaw story was very interesting.

Barbara Cox gave members an informative account of the spring council meeting, which was attended by four members.

Final arrangements were made for our visit to Gibside.

In February, Sheila Coltman from the Percy Hedley Foundation spoke about the very worthwhile work being done to help disabled young people. The Foundation helps them to achieve their best, especially in the area of sport, where competitively they are very successful.

Just because you have a disability, does not mean you cannot achieve your targets.

Suzette Milne

THE March meeting started with one minute’s silence for ex-member Greta Turner who died last month.

Eleanora Penmam-Gillam gave an account of her trip to the annual spring meeting which she enjoyed.

The members then welcomed Alexandra Burn, who gave them a very interesting talk on aromatherapy.

She talked about how she mixed the oils and scents together and about what treatments people could have. She sent round pieces of card so we could smell them.

The monthly raffle was won by Maureen Hubbick.

Ann Hogg

THE speaker at the March meeting was Pauline Wallis, who gave us a fascinating talk about the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

As well as describing its history, she talked about how productions are put together and explained it is the production company, and not the theatre, which decides on ticket prices.

She showed photographs of the theatre before and after its refurbishment and urged everyone to consider taking a backstage tour to learn more.

Everyone was thanked for making last month’s meeting such a success when Prudhoe Woman’s Institute joined them.

President Elizabeth Frankland gave an account of the spring council meeting and urged more members to attend these meetings.

Members were told about several trips and events that are being organised, including a weekend in Scotland in the autumn.

The five-minute talk was given by Pat Stott who explained about the Government’s scheme to put everyone’s medical records onto a research database.

As this will include the patient’s date of birth, post code and NI number, there is a chance people could be identified, so members should think carefully about this and if worried, tell their GP they do not want to be included

Pat Stott

THE members remembered two remarkable women at their meeting in March.

The vice president Liz Shaw gave a eulogy to Eleanor Findley, a founder member who had died in her 99th year.

Eleanor had attended the February meeting, greeting other members with her calm presence and wisdom.

The speaker at the meeting was Marion Anderson who spoke about another North-Eastern woman whose life is soon to be recorded in a film for the cinema.

She was Gertrude Bell who spent her early life at Washington New Hall. Later, she travelled widely. She learnt many Middle Eastern languages and life skills, which she used when talking to foreign leaders.

Gertrude advised the British Government and countries in the Middle East.

Giving the vote of thanks, Margaret Neil said the talk had reminded her of history, geography and religious school lessons. Many members would be looking forward to the film.

The competition, for an ancient mode of transport, was won by Betty Renwick.

In April, the members will turn their hands to pottery painting.

Margaret Neil

MARCH was a topsy-turvy meeting as the members conducted the business side of it after the speaker, allowing her to leave early because she was feeling a bit under the weather.

Freda Thompson was not deterred, however, and gave them a marvellous insight into the history and running of the Grainger Market in Newcastle.

Her talk, entitled Mr Grainger’s Market, told the members how Richard Grainger felt open-air markets made life difficult for both stall holders and their customers because of the often inclement weather.

From these observations he went on to build a covered market with the help of architect John Dobson.

The market opened in 1835 when 2,000 people (I should say men) sat down to celebrate at a huge dinner; ladies were allowed to watch.

At this time there were 159 butcher’s shops in the market, with fruit and vegetable shops in the arcade.

The original gas lamps were later converted to electricity and most are still there today.

The competition ‘Old Newcastle’ was won by Wendy Robe with a wonderful photograph of her grandfather standing outside his shop in Newcastle. Wendy Amies came second with her book on old Newcastle.

The business concluded and the members all enjoyed a cup of tea and delicious biscuits, a gift from Prudhoe Women’s Institute.

The next meeting is on Thursday, April 3, when Rose Romana will be giving members a taste of yoga.

Jenny Coates

MEMBERS were introduced in March to Mr B. Higgins who came to tell them about Yesterday’s Shopping.

This turned out to be a nostalgic reminder of how shopping has changed over the years.

The history of shopping commenced in prehistoric times when people learned to barter their goods.

This developed and by medieval times, towns were granted charters enabling them to hold markets on set occasions, usually on feast days or designated weekdays.

Small shops grew up around the market square and spread along adjacent streets. The range of goods was limited, but many more items were sold on the doorstep.

By the early 20th century, shopping had developed enormously and with the advent of supermarkets, it became what we are used to today.

Mr Higgins brought a fine display of shopping memorabilia, consisting of items from late Victorian brochures and advertisements.

As he was speaking he encouraged lively feedback from members as memories of earlier days were stimulated.

He covered a wide range of subjects as the talk developed, such as population growth, transport, local customs and fashion.

He had a good carrying voice and a lively manner, giving members a very entertaining time.

Ruth Barrass

THE members met on Thursday, March 20, in the village hall.

The ladies were all in good voice as they opened the meeting with a fine rendition of Jerusalem.

The business detail was swiftly dealt with by president Lorna Scholes.

Lorna, who will stand down at next month’s AGM, made an appeal for members to consider taking on the role of president or joining the committee.

Lucy Davison gave a descriptive account of the Northumberland Women’s Institute centenary baton celebration she had attended with Newbrough Women’s Institute.

By the time she had finished, we all thought we had missed out!

Anne Race enthralled everyone with a fascinating talk entitled Penguins, Seals and Icebergs.

To celebrate their golden wedding last year Anne and her husband, Malcolm, had taken a cruise to the Antarctic.

Their photographs were stunning. Anne showed them on a large screen, using powerpoint, and impressed us all with her knowledge of the variety of birds and seals and of the characteristics and activities of the Arctic regions.

The evening ended with supper and a catch-up with friends.

Margaret Earl

A VISIT to Mr George’s Museum of Time in Haltwhistle was where members held their March meeting. The museum is owned and run by Diana Bell, a Langley Women’s Institute member.

Diana’s father was Mr George, a clock repairer in Northumberland. As a child, Diana loved to go out with her father to help him repair clocks.

After serving an apprenticeship, she went into her father’s business. After getting married and having four children, Diana told her children stories of her own childhood.

These stories have now been developed into story books and dvds.

The museum has been open for two years now and houses a watch room, a clock room and a ‘meet Mr George’ room.

After watching one of the story dvds, members explored the museum, with many members recalling they had clocks like those on display.

The competition, for a weather-related item, was won by Moyra Howard with her weather house. Eileen Martin took second place with her barometer.

A great evening was enjoyed by all, with several people vowing to return with spouses and/or grandchildren.

Next month, we will be back at Langley village hall to be entertained by Judith Irving of the Splitz Dance Group.

Cath Duffy