THE WOMEN’S INSTITUTES
Lesson 4: How the movement grew
Alison Parvin
ADED 380, Summer 2013
THE WOMEN’S INSTITUTES TOOK A
HOLD EARLY IN THE 20TH CENTURY
AND FLOURISHED
Here we look at a few examples of the lady pio...
MADGE WATT
 Born Margaret Rose Robertson in Collingwood, Ontario
 Married Dr Alfred Watt, and moved to Victoria, British...
CATHERINE BLAIR
 The third of six children, Catherine Shields was born in
Bathgate, Scotland, in 1872.
 Grew up in a wel...
ANNE SPENCER
 Born in Napier (New Zealand) on 16 November
1872
 Educated by a governess until 1884, then attended
Napier...
ANNE SPENCER
 Introduced to W.I. while attending hnadcraft exhibition in
London.
 In January 1921, founded Rissington Wo...
IRISH COUNTRYWOMEN ASSOCIATION
 Although not associated with the Women‟s Institutes, its history and mandate, it is
very ...
END OF LESSON 4
NEXT: THE W.I. in today’s society
REFERENCES:
 Blair, Catherine, 1939. Rural Journey- A History of the S.W.R.I. 1917 – 1939, 1939. Retrieved
from: http://w...
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The Women’s Institutes 4 - Movement Growth

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I have put together a series of slide presentations about the Women’s Institutes as part of my final project for ADED 380 Teaching Technologies,.

Their present format is as yet incomplete, however, they are for the most part finished in terms of being a demonstrative part of the project.

Travel was slow at the turn of the century (compared with today) and war was on the horizon (1914-1917 Great War), and yet, as the organisation became popular, the W.I. travelled as it began to take hold in other Canadian communities and then to other countries.

In this session participants will be introduced to those ladies who were instrumental in introducing the W.I. into England, Scotland and New Zealand. Although ostensibly NOT part of the W.I. movement, we will also brief give time to the Ireland women’s club.

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The Women’s Institutes 4 - Movement Growth

  1. 1. THE WOMEN’S INSTITUTES Lesson 4: How the movement grew Alison Parvin ADED 380, Summer 2013
  2. 2. THE WOMEN’S INSTITUTES TOOK A HOLD EARLY IN THE 20TH CENTURY AND FLOURISHED Here we look at a few examples of the lady pioneers that took the movement overseas from Canada, to Scotland, England and Wales, and New Zealand.
  3. 3. MADGE WATT  Born Margaret Rose Robertson in Collingwood, Ontario  Married Dr Alfred Watt, and moved to Victoria, British Columbia  „Founding member of the Metchosin Women's Institute‟ (Fenner, 1999)  Her husband died in 1913, so she moved to England to complete their sons‟ schooling  With the help of Nugent Harris, secretary of the Agricultural Organisations Society (ADS), set up the first W.I.‟s in Britain  1 in Wales in July 1915  3 in Southern England to a total of four by December of the same year (Stamper,2000 p8).
  4. 4. CATHERINE BLAIR  The third of six children, Catherine Shields was born in Bathgate, Scotland, in 1872.  Grew up in a well-read family and did well in her studies at Bathgate Academy  Married Thomas Blair, farmer  Fought for Suffragette cause  First Rural Institute held in local reading room at Longniddry, East Lothian, on June 26th 1917  Madge Watt spoke on the benefits of Institutes  Wrote a „Rural Journey‟ (1939). „Education and practical domestic economy – conservation of food supply – co-operation – all were exemplified in this first evening‟s programme.‟ (Blair, 1939, Extract 1, http://www.swri.org.uk/WhoWeAre/Rural1.htm)
  5. 5. ANNE SPENCER  Born in Napier (New Zealand) on 16 November 1872  Educated by a governess until 1884, then attended Napier Girls' High School  Gained her BA degree from Canterbury College  When war was declared in 1914, Spencer organised sewing meetings and offered her services for war work.‟ (Upton, (n.d.)  In 1916 London, she nursed shell-shocked victims in Lonsdale House and in 1918 joined the Women's International Street Patrol.‟
  6. 6. ANNE SPENCER  Introduced to W.I. while attending hnadcraft exhibition in London.  In January 1921, founded Rissington Women's Institute  By 1925 there were six institutes in Hawke's Bay, were they also formed the first provincial federation.‟  Was the first president of the Napier–Hastings branch of the National Council of Women in 1924.  Also president of the Hawke's Bay Women's Club, on the advisory board of Woman To-day magazine, and in 1934 was the only woman on the Napier High School Board of Governors.  She was made an OBE in 1937.‟ (Upton, (n.d.)
  7. 7. IRISH COUNTRYWOMEN ASSOCIATION  Although not associated with the Women‟s Institutes, its history and mandate, it is very much along the same lines.  The ICA was founded in May 1910 by a small group of well-educated and largely Protestant women in Bree, Co Wexford.  Called the Society of the United Irishwomen (UI), its aim was “to improve the standard of life in rural Ireland through Education and Co-operative effort.”  The inspiration for the UI came from the Co-operative Movement whose motto was “Better Farming, Better Business, and Better Living.”  Speaking in 1910 the founder of the Co-operative Movement, Horace Plunkett, remarked that the better living would come from “the women of Ireland”. At the time, life for women in rural Ireland was in the main one of hardship and drudgery and the Society set out to offer friendship, hope, support and leadership.  In 1935 the Society of the United Irishwomen changed its name to the Irish Countrywomen‟s Association, to avoid being associated with a subversive organisation of the time, the United Ireland Party.  Today the ICA has 700 local Guilds throughout Ireland in towns, villages and rural areas.‟ (Irish Countrywomen Association, About Us/History (n.d.))
  8. 8. END OF LESSON 4 NEXT: THE W.I. in today’s society
  9. 9. REFERENCES:  Blair, Catherine, 1939. Rural Journey- A History of the S.W.R.I. 1917 – 1939, 1939. Retrieved from: http://www.swri.org.uk/WhoWeAre/RuralJourney.htm and http://www.swri.org.uk/WhoWeAre/Rural1.htm , and  http://www.swri.org.uk/WhoWeAre/Rural2.htm  Fenner, Ruth, 1999. Notes on Madge Watt. Retrieved from http://www.svanciswomensinstitute.bc.ca/awatt.html  Resources for Learning in Scotland: The Scottish Women's Rural Institute (a SHELF Project Pathfinder Pack). (n.d.) Notes on Catherine Blair. Retrieved from: http://rls.org.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-000-001-356-L  Stamper, Anne, Voluntary action History Society Seminar – Voluntary action of a membership organisation – countrywomen organise their own education, 2000 (Hon. Archivist, National Federation of Women‟s Institutes (NFWI) UK) Retrieved from: http://www.thewi.org.uk/__documents/about-the-wi/for-archivists/voluntary-action-of-a- membership-organisation-countrywomen-organise-their-own-education.pdf  Upton, Susan (n.d.) Notes on Ann Elizabeth Jerome Spencer. Retrieved from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/4s38/spencer-anna-elizabeth-jerome  The New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes, History (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.wi.org.nz/Site/About/History.aspx  The Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes, History, (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.swri.org.uk/WhoWeAre/History.htm  The WI, About the W.I. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.thewi.org.uk/about-the-wi

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