Home Places to visit WI centenary celebrations at Beamish

WI centenary celebrations at Beamish

WI excursion
Matthew Henderson, Lyn Swift, Ian Bean, Sue Fox, and Gemma Stevenson prepare for an excursion. Picture; Beamish Museum

It’s not all jam and Jerusalem, August 19-20

Women’s Institute members from County Durham will celebrate 100 years of the regional organisation at Beamish Museum this weekend.

Durham County Federation of Women’s Institutes, with hundreds of members, will be carrying banners and wearing sashes in a grand parade at 2.30pm each day from The Town to The Pit Village, accompanied by vintage vehicles and the Off Key Big Band.

Beamish WI banner
Proudly displaying the Beamish WI banner. Picture; Beamish Museum

The women will then take part in singing the WI anthem, Jerusalem, in The Colliery Yard.

The museum has its own WI branch and you can watch a 1917 WI meeting, hear Suffragette songs and stories, make flags to wave in the parade, have a go at flower arranging, learn about the WI through the years and see jam being made in the Edwardian WI member’s house.

Matthew Henderson, Remaking Beamish engagement development officer said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the Durham County Federation of Women’s Institutes.

“After celebrating the national centenary of the WI in 2015, it is amazing to focus on a local story.

Organisation’s heritage

“The ladies have worked so hard to prepare fantastic crafts, flowers, and displays, which we can’t wait to see and we’re hoping the parade will be one to remember with hundreds of ladies taking part, celebrating and showcasing their heritage.”

Alison Whelan, Beamish WI president, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the Durham Federation centenary parade.

“We can’t wait to join the other WIs from all around the county and march proudly through the museum with our banner. It’s wonderful to be part of the event.

“Visitors can meet Mrs. Jones, the dentist’s wife, in her parlour as she hosts the inaugural 1917 meeting of Beamish WI with her committee and ladies from The Town.”

Beamish is open daily from 10am to 5pm (last admission 3pm). The WI centenary celebrations are free to Beamish Unlimited Pass holders, as with all daytime events. For more information, visit www.beamish.org.uk.



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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.


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