Glenavy Women’s Institute

The early years – 1958 – 1964

“The ship as been well and truly launched …”
(Mrs. Heron, November 1962, when leaving the office of President of the Branch)

Glenavy Women’s Institute celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2008. Here Ann Henning, area executive; Jean Hazlett, founder member; Edna Purdy, president; Betty Birney, Federation chairperson; and Kathleen Jennings, founder member, cut the cake to mark the 50th anniversary of Glenavy Women’s Institute, at a special celebration in Lisburn Civic Centre. (C/o The Ulster Star, Lisburn dated 26th December, 2008)

Glenavy Women's Institute celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2008

Glenavy Women’s Institute celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2008

The first “Women’s Institute Record Book,” “Women’s Institute Committee Minute Book,” attendance registers, rules and first registration form all survive for this branch of the Women’s Institute.

The first W.I. Record Book of Glenavy W.I.

First W.I. Record Book of Glenavy W.I.

First W.I. Record Book of Glenavy W.I.

The first Committee Minute Book of Glenavy W.I.

First Committee Minute Book of Glenavy W.I.

First Committee Minute Book of Glenavy W.I.

On Friday the 21st November, 1958 a preliminary meeting was held in Glenavy Primary School at 8pm chaired by Mrs. S.B. Heron. The aims and methods of Women’s Institutes were explained to those present by Mrs. Proctor, Organising Secretary of the Federation of Women’s Institutes of Northern Ireland. It was decided that a branch would be formed in the village. At this meeting an exhibition of Craft work from W.I. Headquarters was displayed.

The registration form for Glenavy W.I.

Registration form for Glenavy W.I.

Registration form for Glenavy W.I.

– It reads “Registration Form for Women’s Institutes in Northern Ireland. Affiliated to the Federation of Women’s Institutes of Northern Ireland.

The Glenavy Women’s Institute in the County of Antrim, Northern Ireland, hereby undertake to abide by, and conduct their affairs according to the Rules for Women’s Institutes in Northern Ireland as stated in the registration Form.

Signed on behalf of the Committee of the Glenavy Women’s Institute in the County of Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Dated January 9th 1959″
. Signed by the President Mrs Heron and Secretary Miss J. Long.

The rules of the Women’s Institute

Rules of the Women's Institute

Rules of the Women’s Institute

Rules of the Women's Institute

Rules of the Women’s Institute

The Foundation meeting was held in Glenavy Primary School on Friday 12th December 1958. It had been decreed that everyone in attendance should “bring her own cup and food for herself.” On that evening Mrs. Heron, Mrs. Wilson and Mrs Sullivan provided the tea, milk and sugar.

Ten members were elected onto the first committee:

Mrs. M. Allen, Mrs. E. Campbell, Mrs. G. Faris, Mrs. S.B. Heron, Mrs. J. Kennedy, Miss J. Long, Mrs. D. McNeilly, Mrs. D. McCullough, Mrs. W. Moore and Mrs. T. Sullivan.

The rules of the W.I. were read out to all present by Mrs. Proctor. They would be printed on the member’s new membership cards. It was decided at the meeting that the Institution would hold the monthly meetings in Glenavy Primary School at 8pm, on the second Friday of each month.

The following were elected as office bearers at the first committee meeting held following the foundation meeting of the organisation on 12th December 1958:

Mrs. Heron – President
Mrs. G. Faris – Vice President
Mrs. W. Moore – Treasurer
Mrs. D. McNeilly – Press Correspondent
Miss J. Long – Secretary

The committee met on Tuesday 6th January 1959 at Mrs Sullivan’s home and Mrs Proctor gave instruction to those present in relation to W.I. matters. At that meeting two members were co-opted onto the committee – Mrs. B.Wilson and Miss M. Harbinson. It was agreed during that meeting that members of the committee would be hostesses at Committee Meetings in alphabetical order of their names.

First attendance register of Glenavy's Women's Institute dated Dec 1958 to Nov 1959

First attendance register of Glenavy’s Women’s Institute dated Dec 1958 to Nov 1959. The register bears a “6d” price in the right hand corner. The register has the facility to record up to 132 names. There are 103 names recorded in this register, although 12 have been scored out

The next monthly meeting of the Institute took place on Friday 9th January 1959 and was held in Glenavy Primary School. The members were welcomed by Mrs Heron who was pleased to see so many turn out on what was described as “such a cold night.” The planned speaker on that evening, who was due to give a demonstration on embroidery, was Mrs Berry, but she was unable to make it to the meeting due to the inclement weather. Mrs. Proctor stood in on that occasion and gave a talk on her visit to Holland. The tea on that occasion was supplied by Mrs. Kennedy and Miss Long, sugar by Mrs. McNeilly and milk by Mrs. McCullough and Mrs. Campbell. It was decided at that meeting that future tea arrangements would be carried out similar to that format agreed at the Committee meetings. Six members would be responsible each night and their names would be taken alphabetically from the list of members. “each of them to bring half a loaf of sandwiches, tea, sugar and milk as arranged, biscuits to be supplied.”

The members would be expected to bring in their own cups and each were to pay 3d for their tea.

The competition that evening had attracted a large number of entries. Each of the three winners received a small prize for the “prettiest cup and saucer” – 1st – Mrs W. Moore, 2nd – Mrs D. Roberts 3rd – Mrs Heron.

During the course of the meeting members paid their fees to Mrs Moore, the treasurer and membership cards were issued. The Institute reported the number of registered members at 81.

The Women’s Institute had now firmly taken a footing as an active ladies organisation in Glenavy Village.

The minutes of the meeting dated 13th February 1959 record a letter of congratulations and best wishes were to be sent to Crumlin on the formation of a new branch of the W.I.

The first meetings of the Glenavy Branch were held in the Primary school. At a meeting of the committee held on the 13th February 1959 and considered the proposal of procuring a larger building for their meetings. On the 27th February it was agreed to hold a monthly meeting in the new W.I. Centre which was in Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s “low yard” at Ballysessy. It would be necessary to obtain insurance for this building which the committee agreed in their meeting on the 1st April 1959. The fee was 34s and 6d. It was agreed at the meeting on the 13th March 1959 that the centre was much more comfortable and appreciation by the members was shown to Mr. and Mrs. Moore in the form of three cheers.

The committee discussed a proposal to form a W.I. Choir during their meeting on the 4th September, 1959. Mrs. Allen agreed to take charge of it and it was agreed that she could attend Choral School on the 25th and 26th of September that year, the fees being paid by the W.I. Mrs. Sullivan agreed to permit the choir to practice in her house when they formed until other suitable arrangements were made. The first practice was to be held on Friday 2nd October at 8pm.

The majority of the early committee meetings were held in the homes of the committee members until early 1961 when they would normally meet in the W.I. Centre in the village.

The committee set about organising fundraising events, day trips, purchase of equipment, and competitions. Each year there would be an election of committee members and officers.


13 02 1959 – Member Mrs McNeilly gave a demonstration of flower making. The minutes of the meeting record that she “is interested in growing natural flowers, as anyone passing her home during the summer, can see a wonderful display of blooms in her garden.” There are a total of 83 members recorded on the roll books. A letter of sympathy was to be sent to Mrs W. Harbinson on the death of her father. The meeting closed with the singing of “A Countrywoman’s Song.”

13 03 1959 – Mrs Sullivan was appointed delegate to attend the General meeting of the W.I. On the 14th April. Headquarters of the W.I. were running a handkerchief scheme and 12 names were chosen and sent with a cheque for 15 shillings. It was hoped that in due course the ladies would receive a handkerchief bearing their name. Mrs. Linton showed a film of her visit to Ceylon.

13 04 1959 – Mr. Conway showed slides of shrubs in gardens and hedges and gave advice on gardening matters.

08 05 1959 – A recent beetle drive had been a success. It raised £17 – 1 – 4. The Institute now had purchased new forms and an electric boiler. The outing was set for 6th June and members were to visit the Newcastle and Kilkeel area, leaving by bus at Glenavy War Memorial at 10am. A Mystery Tour was also organised for Wednesday 22nd July at a charge of 4s 6d each. It would be followed by supper, games and dancing in the W.I. Centre. Mrs G. Wilson gave an account of meetings in Belfast. Mrs Henderson and Mrs Kennedy, both representatives of the Beauty Counsellors of London gave a talk on facial make-up.

11 09 1959 – The W.I. Centre had undergone some improvements that included curtains on the windows, seats painted including a wall decoration and badge painted. Mrs. McKelvey and Mrs McNeilly were appointed to attend the half yearly council meeting on Thursday 15th October. A bring and buy sale was arranged for Saturday 24th October from 3.30pm to 6pm. A demonstration of cooking by Kosangas arranged by Mr Lorimer and Mr. Murdock was given by Mrs Baird. Gas cookers and other equipment were demonstrated by Mr. Murdock.

09 10 1959 – A demonstration was given by Miss Anderson in relation to cooking by electricity.

13 11 1959 – Mrs Proctor congratulated the Branch on the large number of members and on their new centre. A presentation was made to the treasurer Mrs Moore. She was given an electric clock, a marcasite brooch as a token of gratitude and appreciation for all that she and her husband had done for the Glenavy Branch. The selection of committee members took place. The following were elected:
Mrs Faris, Mrs Heron, Mrs Kennedy, Miss Long, Mrs McNeilly, Mrs D. McCullough, Mrs Moore, Mrs Sullivan, Miss White and Mrs. G. Wilson. At a subsequent committee meeting Mrs Ireland, Miss M Harbinson, Mrs Richardson and Mrs Hazlett were co-opted onto the Committee. The following were elected:

President – Mrs Faris,
Secretary – Miss J. Long,
Treasurer – Mrs W. Moore,
Press Correspondent – Mrs McNeilly,
Tea Convenors – Miss Sullivan, Mrs Kennedy,
Games and Competitions – Mrs Ireland, Miss M. Harbinson,
Magazine Distributor – Mrs Wilson

11 12 1959 – A collection was made for “World Refugee Year.”

15 01 1960 – The Branch held their first birthday party in the Protestant Hall in Glenavy. The birthday cake was made and presented by Mrs. Wilson.

06 02 1960 – Mrs Wilson agreed to take over as Secretary.

12 02 1960 – Mrs Heron and Mrs Clarke (Antrim) were nominated to serve on the executive committee of the W.I. Mrs G. Wilson gave a talk on table poultry production. It included preparation of the birds for markets.

11 03 1960 – The Bring and Buy Sale held in the W.I. Centre on the 27th February made £32-16-0. Mr Joseph Kavanagh of Smithfield, Belfast was the speaker and he gave an interesting lecture about his business that he had set up in 1938. He had started his business on a stall measuring 9 feet by 9 feet and paid 4s 6d per week in rent. The stock was 13 gramophone records and 18 shillings capital. The advertisement at that time in the Belfast Telegraph had cost him one shilling and read “I Buy Anything.” The minutes of the meeting also record the fact that he had been able to assist police in recovering thousands of pounds of stolen goods.

01 04 1960 – Mrs Patterson showed the members various dresses, skirts and tops that she had made herself. The minutes record that she showed those present “how to cut out a straight skirt for a 44 inch hip with 1 yard of 54 inch material and a blouse of 40 inch bust with short sleeves out of 1.5 yards of material.” Mrs Patterson offered to hold a dressmaking class and arranged it for Wednesday 27th April in the W.I. Centre.

13 05 1960 – The minutes record that the talk to the members was on the subject of colour in the home. “Too much colour can cause monotony.” It was suggested that … “In an entrance hall we must have a feeling of warmth … in a lounge where we relax in comfort, cream or beige walls or pale pastels with a contrast in curtains and carpets … a dining room needs a cheerful colour with a contrast for recesses … in the kitchen we must have bright stimulating colours such as primrose, strong blue or grey …” In June of this year the annual outing took place to the Ards Peninsula.

09 09 1960 – Mrs W. McNeilly assisted by Mrs McKelvey displayed various articles made from shells and showed those present how they were made and painted.

27 09 1960 – a special meeting was held and addressed by Mrs. Patricia McLaughlin, M.P. She gave an interesting talk on her travels and experiences from different countries.

04 10 1960 – Mr Boland and Mr McWatters of Messrs Inglis gave a demonstration on icing Christmas and birthday cakes.

11 11 1960 – Twelve members were appointed to the Committee at the 2nd Annual General meeting of the Branch: Miss E. Armstrong, Mrs Faris, Mrs Heron, Mrs Hazlett, Miss M Harbinson, Mrs Ireland, Mrs Moore, Mrs McNeilly, Mrs McKelvey, Mrs McCullough, Mrs Sullivan and Mrs B Wilson.

It was recorded that the choir continued to flourish under the conductorship of Mr. Walker and accompanist Mrs Moore. The dressmaking class under the instruction of Mrs Patterson also continued. Miss J. Long was to step down as Branch Secretary as she was relocating to another district. She was presented with a memento from the Institute. After the A.G.M. the committee elected:

President – Mrs S B Heron
Vice President Mrs Faris
Secretary – Miss M Harbinson
Treasurer – Mrs W. Moore,
Press Correspondent – Mrs McNeilly,
Magazine Distributor – Mrs Hazlett

06 12 1960 – Mrs B Wilson and Mrs D Ireland were appointed tea convenors and Mrs McKelvey and Mrs Sullivan appointed games and competition organisers at the committee meeting.

09 12 1960 – A film show was given by one of the branch members – Mrs D. McClure. It was a show of the members on the summer outing.

10 02 1961 – A letter had been received from the Crumlin Branch of the W.I. Inviting ten of the Glenavy Branch to attend their Birthday Party on Thursday 2nd March. Mrs. McCormick gave a talk and film show on “The making of Campbell’s Soups.” The minutes record that he told those present of the “wonderful value for money a tine of Campbell’s Soup was; how a 10½oz size can with water added, gave 21 ozs of soup and there were 16 different soups from which to chose.” Samples of the soups were handed round to members at the meeting.

28 02 1961 – The secretary was instructed at the Committee meeting to give notices of W.I. Monthly meetings to Mrs. Brankin, Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Hughes to be posted in their shop windows.

10 03 1961. Mrs Sullivan, Mrs McNeilly and Mrs Richardson agreed to enter as a team in the Floral decoration Display at the T.V. Post Holidays and Hobbies Exhibition at Balmoral. The guest speaker was Norman Frederick from Frederick’s Hairdressing, Belfast. A Square Dance was to be held in Crumlin Memorial Hall on Friday 7th April. Admission 5 shillings. It raised £10-11-4.

14 04 1961 – Members were asked to bring along exhibits for the Balmoral Show on the 11th and 13th May for selection. The President of the Branch reported that she had attended the B.B.C. studio to represent the Institute in a sound programme on Women’s Institutes. It was expected that the broadcast would take place in September or October. The guest speaker was the Rev. G.H. Eakins from Parkanaur Training centre, Castlecaulfield, covering his work amongst boys and girls suffering from cerebral palsy. The sum of £14 realised from a bring and buy sale was given to Mr Eakins.

12 05 1961 – it was noted that there were not as many members as usual at the meeting and the proposed trip to Portrush in the summer had been cancelled. A demonstration of handcrafts was given by Mrs. Johnston, the guest speaker.

30 05 1961 – Mrs Frazer, Muckamore, gave a demonstration of Savoury making.

20 09 1961 – The first concert is held by the W.I. Choir in the W.I. Centre.There were guests in attendance from the Ballinderry and Crumlin branches. The guest chairperson was Mrs. Cuthbertson of Dundonald, accompanied by Mrs. Orr-Burns of Bangor. They were both members of the W.I. Sub committee of music and drama.

13 10 1961 – The Branch held a Halloween party. Visitors from Straid, Crumlin and Moira attended. They were entertained by the Institute choir. Initially the venue was to be the Protestant Hall, but they were unable to book it and it was held in the W.I. Centre.

09 11 1961 – The 3rd Annual General meeting was held. Mrs. Heron announced she would retire from the “President’s Chain” as she felt “that the ship had been well and truly launched.” The new committee was elected – Mrs Faris, Mrs Hazlett, Mrs Ireland, Mrs Jennings, Mrs K. Johnston, Mrs Moore, Mrs McNeilly, Mrs McKelvey, Miss M. Harbinson, Mrs Richardson, Mrs Sullivan and Mrs B. Wilson. After the A.G.M. the committee elected:

President – Mrs Sullivan
Vice President Mrs Faris
Secretary – Miss M Harbinson
Treasurer – Mrs W. Moore
Press Correspondent – Mrs McNeilly
Magazine Distributor – Mrs Hazlett
Tea Hostesses – Mrs B. Wilson and Mrs K. Johnston
Games – Mrs Ireland, Mrs Wilson and Mrs Ireland

08 12 1962 – The President, Mrs T Sullivan made reference to the work of her predecessor, Mrs Heron, who had founded the Branch. Mrs. Heron was presented with a marcasite broach. A reference was made to the departure of Mrs. A.J.E. Campbell and a tribute was paid to her loyalty and support as a W.I. Member. Mrs Kempson gave a talk on uncooked savouries and cakes.

12 01 1962 – It was suggested and agreed upon that members exchange recipes at meetings. Mr. H. Bell of the Society for the Preservation of the Countryside was the guest speaker.

09 02 1962 – A “Beetle drive” was held. 2s 6d was charged per person.

09 03 1962 – Miss Long, former secretary, visited the meeting as a guest. A dressmaking class held by Mrs McNeilly was to be held during April to make dresses for the W.I. Mannequin Parade at the Balmoral Show. Members were requested to bring along articles for consideration in an Exhibition in Lisburn technical School during the week of April 17th – 21st. The Glenavy W.I. Choir were taking part for the first time in the forthcoming Choir Festival in the Wellington Hall. They were to give a creditable performance and returned with a certificate. Mrs. Lewis and Mrs G. Mallows, Singer Sewing Machine representatives, were the guest speakers.

13 04 1962 – The death of a member, Mrs Brankin was announced and also the death of the sister of the Vice President, Mrs Faris. The dressmaking class continued at a charge of 7s6d per member towards funds. The guest speaker was Mrs F. Grainger of Muckamore, who spoke on Public Speaking.

11 05 1962 – The guest speaker was Mrs J. McCrory, Magheragall, who demonstrated floral art.

12 05 1962 – The Branch went on a trip to Enniskillen and Lough Erne. The bus was due to leave Glenavy at 8.45am. Lady Brookeborough had invited them to call at Colebrook on their way to Enniskillen for morning tea. It was reported that the Prime Minister pointed out some interesting features associated with Colebrook. The party had lunch at Killadeas, followed by shopping.

24 05 1962 – The W.I. Models paraded at the Balmoral Show at 3pm.

01 06 1962 – The choir were to give a concert to the patients in Holywell Hospital. It was agreed that the Branch would adopt two patients by sending them Birthday and Christmas cards and visiting them.

08 09 1962 – A Mannequin parade by the members of the dressmaking class was held.

14 09 1962 – Mrs Rea and Mrs Gilmore from the Barclay Corsetry Service were guest speakers.

11 10 1962 – Branch members, Mrs McNeilly and Mrs McKelvey gave a demonstration of Christmas table decorations and parcel making.

09 11 1962 – The Vice President Mrs Faris had left Glenavy to reside in Belfast. Mrs McLaren, the secretary, had been recently married and was unable to continue as a member. The following were elected to the committee – Mrs Duncan, Mrs N. Ferguson, Mrs Hazlett, Mrs Heron, Mrs Jean Johnston, Mrs. K. Johnston, Mrs Jamieson, Mrs Jennings, Mrs Moore, Mrs Patterson, Mrs Richardson and Mrs B. Wilson. After the A.G.M. the committee elected:

President – Mrs B. Wilson
Vice President Mrs A Richardson
Secretary – Miss S.B. Heron
Treasurer – Mrs W. Moore
Press Correspondent – Mrs Jennings
Magazine Distributor – Mrs Hazlett
Tea Hostesses – Mrs K Johnston and Mrs Duncan
Games and Competitions – Mrs Jean Johnston and Mrs Jamieson

08 12 1962 – The branch agreed to join an area group for seven institutes. The President and Mrs Heron visited Holywell Hospital on 07 11 1962 and brought Christmas gifts and greetings to two of the patients in Holywell hospital. Mrs Sullivan, former President, was presented with a silver sweet dish. Mrs McNeilly gave a demonstration of how to turn a few pieces of nylon and taffeta into a flower.

1963 – This was the year of the Women’s Institute’s Birthday 1933 – 1963.

11 01 1963 It was recorded in the minutes that despite the “artic weather conditions” there was a good turnout of members at the meeting. Miss Ellis was the guest speaker and talked about a trip to Bavaria. She was a member of the Young Farmers’ and had travelled widely in connection with that organisation.

20 02 1963 – A “Beetle Drive” took place. It raised £12-13-3. It was originally planned to take place on the ordinary meeting night “but due to the severe snow storm during that week, it had to be postponed.”

08 03 1963 – £1 was donated from the Branch towards a wedding gift for H.R.H. Princess Alexandria. A £5 subscription was sent towards a Reserve fund of the Federation. The guest speaker was Mr. Henderson, a representative from Co. Laboratories Ltd. Better known as the makers of Brylcream, Bristow’s Shampoos etc. A talk was given on the care of hair.

21 03 1963 – The choir competed in the W.I. Choir Festival in Belfast. In the April minutes they were congratulated in relation to their recent success. Branch member Mrs Jamieson gave a demonstration on cake decoration.

23 04 1963 – The choir held a Daffodil Tea this evening. The subscription was 4 shillings. The event made £17 -6.

10 05 1963 – A special tea meeting was held and the collection of 7 guineas given to the Chairman of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Mr Farrell from that organisation spoke at the meeting. It costs £250 to provide and train a guide dog and the training takes four months. The President spoke of the loss of a founder member Mrs. McCord.

08 06 1963 – Branch trip left Glenavy at 8.15am to go to Londonderry and Buncrana, stopping at Baronscourt to see the gardens of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn.

26 07 1963 – Those present at the Committee meeting were informed that the W.I. Centre had been sold and Mrs. Moore had offered the Branch alternative premises on a ground floor level. It required alteration and decoration. It was decided to take up the offer and so the W.I. Centre relocated further up Ballysessy. A piano was purchased for the choir.

13 09 1963 – First meeting in a new centre. The death of Mrs. E. Scott, founder member, was announced. She had been a choir member. A bring and buy sale took place and an approximate amount of £16 14s was raised.

11 10 1963 – The October meeting took the form of a dinner at the Woodbourne Hotel and it was recorded that there was a fine turnout of members. Glenavy members met at the War Memorial in Glenavy at 7.15pm and the Dundrod members went direct to the venue. “A most delicious meal was served which was enjoyed by everyone.” The birthday cake had been baked by the Branch President – Mrs. Sullivan. It had been iced by Mrs. Jamieson. Mrs. Sullivan made a speech prior to cutting the cake. The President thanked Mr & Mrs. Moore for permitting them to use the W.I. Centre. Mrs. Richardson, vice president presented a gift to Mrs. Moore. Miss Long, the first secretary, was also present at the dinner. Mrs. Jennings recited a poem which her husband had written about the work of certain members of the Committee during decoration work of the new centre.

Glenavy WI at the Woodbourne Hotel In October 1960

Glenavy W.I. at the Woodbourne Hotel, Oct 1960

Glenavy W.I. at the Woodbourne Hotel, Oct 1960
courtesy of The Ulster Star

08 11 1963 – 5th Annual General Meeting. Mrs Proctor, organising secretary of the Federation spoke on her visit to the A.C.W.W. conference in Australia. The following were elected to the committee- Mrs. Bailie, Miss M. Hendren, Mrs. A.B. Heron, Mrs. R. Ferguson, Mrs. K. Jennings, Mrs. Jamieson, Mrs. K. Johnston, Mrs. J. Johnston, Mrs W.J. Johnston, Mrs. McNeilly, Mrs Moore and Mrs R. Wilson. After the A.G.M. the committee elected:

President – Mrs R. Wilson
Vice President Mrs Jean Johnston
Secretary – Miss S.B. Heron
Treasurer – Mrs W. Moore
Press Correspondent – Mrs K. Jennings
Magazine Distributor – Mrs R. Ferguson
Tea Hostesses – Mrs K Johnston and Mrs Bailie
Games and Competitions – Mrs W.J. Johnston, Mrs. McNeilly, Miss M. Hendren and Mrs Jamieson

13 12 1963 – Two cardigans were knit to be presented to the two patients at Holywell. Mr. Johnston of the U.T.A. presented a film titled “Highways of Ulster” to the meeting. The membership for the Branch in the year 1963/64 was 58.

10 01 1964 – Branch member, Mrs Sullivan was guest speaker and talked on Home Nursing and First Aid. She appealed for donors for the Blood Transfusion Service.

02 – 1964 – The meeting took the form of a “Beetle Drive” with 18 tables in play. It raised £13-10.

13 03 1964 – Mr. W. Bailie of Cherryvalley Nurseries, Crumlin gave a talk about horticulture.

10 04 1964 – £23-10 had been raised at the Jumble Sale on the 3rd April. A demonstration in canework was given by Branch Member Mrs. Jamieson.

08 05 1964 – A guest from Australia, Mrs. Harbinson, was welcomed to the meeting. She was back home on holiday. Mrs Harbinson was a member of the C.W.A. and she gave an account of the activities of her branch. Miss Lowry, Milk Marketing Board was guest speaker.

22 05 1964 – Sale of goods at W.I. Centre at 8pm.

11 09 1984 – Mrs. Ackworth, Newcastle was the guest speaker and she showed her samples of rugs. She also gave an account of her visit to a Dutch farm in her capacity as A.C.W.W. representative.

25 09 1964 – Annual Dinner held in the Woodlands Hotel, Lisburn. The guests attending were from Ballyclan, Crumlin, Muckamore, Moira and Lambeg. Mrs. Jas. Boyce was the special guest on that occasion and she cut the cake. Mrs Heron, secretary, was also editor of the W.I. Magazine.

13 11 1964 – 6th Annual General Meeting – The following were elected to the committee – Mrs. Moore, Mrs McNeilly, Mrs Graham, Mrs Ireland, Mrs Hazlett, Mrs. Ferguson, Miss Y. Steele, Miss M. Hendren, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs W.J. Johnston and Mrs. Kitty Johnston. After the A.G.M. the committee elected:

President – Mrs Moore
Vice President Mrs Ireland
Secretary – Mrs Jennings
Treasurer – Mrs. W. McNeilly
Press Correspondent – Mrs Hazlett
Magazine Distributor – Mrs Graham
Games – Mrs Ferguson & Mrs Bailie
Tea Hostesses – Miss Yvonne Steele & Miss M. Hendren


13 02 1959 – Myself when young
13 03 1959 – Prettiest Hand-made apron
13 04 1959 – Posy in container
08 05 1959 – Best six Scones
11 09 1959 – Best soda farl
09 10 1959 – Best Apple tart
12 02 1960 – The most articles beginning with the letter B in a Swift Matchbox
11 03 1960 – My most treasured possession
01 04 1960 – A W.I. Limerick
13 05 1960 – the Best Spring Cleaning idea on a Postcard
04 10 1960 – Three Pieces of Shortbread
11 11 1960 – Highest Marks
10 02 1961 – Dressed Wooden Spoon Competition
10 03 1961 – Best article made from materials not costing more than 1 shilling
12 05 1961 – Best Buttonhole
08 09 1961 – Best four Home-made pancakes
08 12 1961 – Home-made Christmas Card Competition
12 01 1962 – Best New Year’s Resolution
29 03 1962 – Best hand-sewn handkerchief
13 04 1962 – Prettiest Jug
11 05 1962 – Floral arrangement in an egg-cup
08 06 1962 – Something new from something old
14 09 1962 – Prettiest postcard
11 10 1962 – Prettiest beads
10 11 1962 – Highest marks throughout the year
08 12 1962 – Christmas Table decoration
11 02 1963 – Most attractive foreign souvenir
08 03 1963 – My favourite broach
23 04 1963 – Three cheese cakes
10 05 1963 – Most original name for a guide dog -winners – Sherpa, Tara, Joy
13 09 1963 – Various cookery
13 12 1963 – Prettiest Butterdish
13 03 1964 – Wildflower buttonhole
10 04 1964 – Cherry cakes
08 05 1964 – Prettiest hair style
11 09 1964 – Various cookery

Local Issues.

The Glenavy Branch would become involved in local issues and lobbied various authorities.

In the monthly meeting of 09 09 1960 it is recorded that the secretary had received a reply from the Railway Manager of the Ulster transport Authority in consequence of a resolution sent in by the Institution protesting about the closure of the railway operating from Antrim to the Knockmore junction. In the minutes of 04 10 1960 it is recorded that two members of the local W.I. had met with Mr. Bailey of the Ulster transport Authority regarding the increased fares and possible changes in bus times. He had agreed to look into the matter, but he was doubtful if there could be a reduction of fares due to the distances covered going to Belfast via Ballinderry.

In the minutes of the meeting for 09 12 1960 it is recorded that a letter had been received by the Branch from the Ulster transport Authority. It is recorded that they “had given sympathetic consideration, to our complaints, and as well as an additional service on Saturday, the Crumlin, via Hannahstown to Belfast on weekdays, would leave Crumlin at 11am instead of 11.40am.”

After the death of the husband of one of the members of the Branch it was agreed that a petition from the Institute was drawn up and sent to the local police requesting that proper signposts be erected at Leathemstown corner and also at the school corner at Ballysessy. A reply was received in due course from the police station the matter was being looked into.

The committee of the Branch decided at a meeting held on 26th July 1960 that a letter of protest would be sent to the Ulster transport Authority about the closing of Glenavy Station.

On the 28th February 1961 the committee discussed bringing a matter before the members concerning Glenavy being entered for the “Best Village Competition.” They decided not to proceed with the idea until such times as the Institute was better established.

Thanks to the members of Glenavy W.I. For permitting the use of their early records in order to compile this brief insight into the early years of the Branch.


The Northern Ireland Women’s Institute webpage can be accessed at

Beetle Drive

The following extract is from The Ulster Star dated 21st January 1961 and appears with permission of The Ulster Star.


Mrs S.B. Heron presided when a beetle drive was held last Friday. The following gentlemen guests were prizewinners – Messrs. David Johnston, B.Hendron, and D. Wilson.

The lucky ladies were Miss Armstrong, Mrs. J. Johnston and Mrs. T. McCord. Mrs. D. McCullough and Mrs. S. McKelvey organised the drive.


The following is from The Ulster Star dated 18th February 1961 and appears with permission of the Ulster Star.

Mrs. S.D. Herron presided at the meeting on Friday last.

Representatives from a soup firm showed films of their products being made and samples of hot soup were enjoyed by the members.

Mrs. R. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. S. McClure, proposed the vote of thanks.

The competition for the best dressed wooden spoon was won by the entry from Mrs. K. Wilson. Miss A. Harbinson was second, with Mrs. S. McKelvey third.

Monthly Meeting – March 1965

The following extract is from The Ulster Star 27th March 1965 and appears with permission of the Ulster Star.

There was a good attendance at the monthly meeting of Glenavy Women’s Institute held in the Centre. Mrs. W. Moore presided and introduced Mrs. Capper of Belfast Arts Council, who gave a most interesting and appreciative talk. The competition was for a hat made from a kitchen utensil and some very glamorous creatins were modelled by the members. The winners were: 1. Mrs. Richardson; 2. Mrs. K. Johnston; 3. Mrs. D. McClure.

“Piggy” Dishes

The following is an extract from The Ulster Star dated 26th September 1975 and appears with permission of The Ulster Star.

“Piggy” dishes at Glenavy

Presiding at Glenavy W.I. Mrs Moore welcomed Mrs. Joan Dobbin of the Pigs Marketing Board to demonstrate the cooking and serving of cheaper cuts of pork.

A competition for something made for 5p or less was won by Mrs. Ferguson with Mrs. Bailie, second, and Mrs. Hazlett, third.

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