Rubery Women's Institute toasts its 90th birthday with special party and sheds light on its history - The Bromsgrove Standard

Rubery Women's Institute toasts its 90th birthday with special party and sheds light on its history

Bromsgrove Editorial 13th May, 2023   0

MANY members of Rubery’s Women’s Institute turned out to celebrate the group’s 90th birthday this week.

During the event, members were reminded of the history of Rubery WI and some of the coronation post box toppers delighting the village in recent weeks were also on display.

Rubery Women’s Institute was founded in May 1933.

At its inception, a donation of two guineas (worth £175 today) was received from Sir Herbert Austin with best wishes for the success of the institute.

In just three years, by 1936 the membership had reached 106 and it was necessary to start a waiting list for women to join.

One of the most important actions of the Rubery Women’s Institute was the founding of ‘The friends of Rubery Hill Hospital’ in 1949.

There was a visiting rota for patients, whist drives, and dances and outings organised for the patients.

An annual whist drive was held from 1954 in aid of The British Red Cross.

In 1958 a choir was formed and gave many concerts and competed at local music festivals.

Since its foundation, the activities of Rubery Women’s Institute have been numerous and varied, with lectures, demonstrations and classes on every subject of interest from yoga to conservation, arts and crafts, cookery and fitness tasters, to games, quizzes and campaigning efforts.

Speakers have included inspirational members, figures from the local community, authors, activists and even celebrities.

Julia Holmes from Rubery WI said: “We have always responded generously to any appeal for help from anywhere in the world, following the motto of the organisation which is ‘For Home and Country’.

“Many of the current members have been involved with Rubery WI for between 20 to 40 years which is amazing, and many new members just a few months, to a couple of years.

“It’s not full of old people and fuddy-duddies.”

Nationally, The WI attracts 8,000 to 10,000 new members a year and remains the largest women’s organisation in the UK.

After ‘Jerusalem’ was sung at the annual general meeting in 1924 it became the ‘institute song’, but the WI is not just about ‘Jam and Jerusalem’.

Julia added: “The Covid pandemic meant we were no longer able to sing our English National Anthem at the meetings, but that has not stopped us enjoying each other’s company, and basing our activities on friendship and support for members.

“The WI is a democratic, social and education charity based on the ideals of fellowship, truth, tolerance and justice.

“Members include women of all ages, backgrounds and interests.”

To commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Rubery institute planted flowering Almond Trees in Church Fields (Bromsgrove).

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was also a member of the WI for almost 80 years, as are other members of the royal family currently – Queen Camilla, the Countess of Wessex, and the Princess Royal.

To commemorate the Coronation of King Charles III Rubery WI will host an event in the near future.

Julia said: “We would like to invite and welcome any ladies in the community to come and join our wonderful group and see why so many women love being members of the WI.”

Any women interested in joining Rubery WI can just turn up to the meetings at 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of the month at Beacon Church Centre, Whetty Lane.


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