Women’s Institute builds relisted for centenary – BBC News

Image copyright Google
Image caption The first WI meeting been established in the Fox Inn on 9 November 1915

Four houses with links to the Women’s Institute are to be recognised to mark the organisation’s centenary.

The West Sussex home of the WI’s first chairman and its training college in Oxfordshire are to be relisted on the National Heritage List for England.

Their listings will now mention the WI.

The listed statuses of The Fox Inn in Charlton, West Sussex, where the first WI meeting was keep exactly 100 years ago, and for an early WI building in Northumberland are also being updated.

On 9 November 1915 the first session of the institute in England took place in the backroom of the Fox Inn. The pub, near Goodwood, is now called the Fox Goes Free and the room where the meeting was held is known as the Hat Rack Bar.

The Fox innkeeper at the time, a Mrs Laishley, was a founder member of the Women’s Institute.

Chicken trussing talks

Image copyright Rodolph de Salis
Image caption Denman College in Oxfordshire operates craft, cookery and lifestyle courses for WI members and non-members

The National Heritage List for England dedicates protection to the most important parts of the country’s house heritage.

The four buildings were already listed, but now their links to the WI will be included in their descriptions on the National Heritage list.

Balcombe Place in West Sussex was the home of the WI’s first chairman, Lady Gertrude Denman, from 1905 until her demise in 1954.

Marcham Park, in Oxfordshire, afterward renamed Denman College, was the WI’s first training college and taught skills such as butchery and garage run.

Image copyright Stephen Frost
Image caption Balcombe House was the West Sussex home of the first WI chairman, Lady Gertrude Denman
Image copyright Google
Image caption WI house in Newbrough, previously known as the Mechanics Institute, held WI talks

Also to be relisted is the Mechanics Institute in Newbrough in Northumberland. The building was given to the local WI in 1948 and talks, including on how to truss a poultry or re-upholster chairs, were given there, the Fourstones and Newbrough website says.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Culture, Media and Sport Minister, said: “Since their first session in England in 1915, the WI has become a much-loved British institution.

“I am very pleased to relist these special places and preserve the historic significance of this extraordinary social movement.”

Esther Godfrey, listing consultant at Historic England, said: “These four buildings tell the story of the formation and development of the WI in England from a small session in the back room of a pub to a thriving national institution.”

Read more: www.bbc.com