Reflections of Alnmouth WI – Joan Davidson

The Birth of our WI

In 1918, Alnmouth was recovering from four years of war and the world was slowly getting back to routine living. Lots of changes were going on among women, especially those who had to bring their children up and  be the bread winner while their husbands were away ‘ fighting for their country’. Women were making their own decisions, and it could not have been easy being the only adult in the household, given that most families were quite large. One thing they did discover however, was a life outside the humdrum existence of housework, cooking with little choice of menu and children, when a village lady from a very comfortable background read of a movement called the Women’s Institute. It had started in Canada in 1916 with a clear goal :

“The WI is all about inspiring women. Educating them to provide an effective role in the community and to develop and pass on important skills.”

This lady was none other than Mrs Ann Scholefield of Lint Close, now The Friary. After researching the ‘Movement’ she put out feelers. After good feedback from Alnmouth women, who were desperate to improve their ‘lot’, in March 2018, our WI was born. The first meetings were in members’ houses. Then Mrs Scholefield  generously donated ‘ the hut’ which became the WI for many years.

Friendship and Opportunity

From the first meeting the Alnmouth WI has gone from strength to strength, bringing friendship into women’s lives from all social backgrounds and providing opportunities to take part in drama, craft, cookery skills, travel and learning from speakers and demonstrations covering a wide range of subjects. Music and drama in particular, played a big part which members winning awards and even giving dancing lessons at 9d (roughly 3p) to anyone interested!

A Lively Social Scene

Social life was very important and Mrs Scholefield hosted many events at Lint Close throughout the year. Particular highlights were the Halloween and Children’s’ Christmas Parties where everyone enjoyed ‘dressing up’. There was plenty of singing, dancing and a variety of entertainment. At Christmas, the children could not wait to see Santa. As always the ‘Catering Corps’ of the WI did a marvellous job.

The Second World War

Sadly, the flourishing WI had to change and adapt with the outbreak of the Second World War.