Musical comedy from award-winning Funny Woman: Harriet Braine

Harriet entertained us with a look at some dead white men, 1 live man and 1 live woman. We thought about mostly artists, from Hokusai ( of “Wave” fame) through to Tracey Emin, (from Croydon by way of Margate) On the way we glanced at Matisse, Matisse, Matisse, Mati-i-i-i-sse (to the tune of “Jolene”), Frida Kahlo’s vaguely famous artist husband, and the hitherto unsuspected abilities of Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Thank you Harriet for a hilarious and fascinating evening.

Written by Penny

Salsa Dancing

We welcomed Lorena on Wednesday for a delightful evening.
Lorena gave us a short demonstration of some simple step-sequences, and very soon we were dancing along with the vibrant sounds of Latin America music. It was a very enjoyable evening, with lots of laughter and some new skills!

Written by Louise

Notting Hill Carnival: a talk from one of the founders

Ansel Wong gave us a fascinating insight into the development of the Notting Hill

Whilst we are familiar with it as our ‘local’ carnival, it is now the largest carnival in the
world. Growing from a couple of hundred participants and spectators, it now
welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors, with the two-day event attracting people
from across the country. Taking the Trinidadian tradition as its model, in 1964 it
began as a small neighbourhood event enlivening the August Bank holiday and
celebrating the wonderful diversity, heritage, and traditions of the local Caribbean

Whilst a number of our WI members have attended this vibrant carnival as
spectators, it was really interesting to learn how much work goes into its
organisation. Year-long strategic planning includes agreeing on themes, the making
of lavish costumes, and decisions relating to musicians, dancers and the licensing
and positioning of food and drink stalls. Ansel explained that the giant music
systems are set up in the central area, with the fabulous parade of dancers and
carnival floats moving in a larger outer-circle. The organisers work very closely with
Westminster Council and the police to ensure that the experience is a safe and
happy one for the crowds.

Ansel said that with the 2018 event just a couple of weeks away, they are already
planning for 2019!

Written By Louise

Footprints of London: Suffragette City. Walk led by Oonagh Gay

To mark the 100 year anniversary of some women getting the vote, we have had a very special walking tour meeting; this also gave us a chance to enjoy the sunny weather. We had a very pleasant walk around the central London Suffragette sites. We saw the outside of their headquarters in Holborn and the site of the Endell Street Military Hospital which was run by Suffragette members, as well as many other sites. An interesting observation that we made is that window smashing is apparently much harder than you might think, the Suffragettes had evening classes in order to learn how to do it effectively!

Woman and her Sphere, Elizabeth Crawford – lots of individual stories
Link to her books
LSE Woman’s Library details
Fawcett Society
Muriel Matters  Australian film
Robert Wainwright biography
Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
Suffragette hospital
Emily Wilding Davison funeral
Huntley film archive The funeral of Emily Wilding Davison from youtube
UK Vote 100 project in Parliament
Schools Education by Parliament
Library talks at LSE


On June 13th we heard a fascinating account from a trustee of  “Warwick in Africa Masterclasses for Teachers”, a project of Warwick University’s School of Education, of her trip to Ghana to see the work they do in schools and with local teachers particularly promoting the teaching of Maths. She also had time to look at the local scenery history and crafts.
Written by Penny

Basic First Aid

A practical session led by Sandra Gibbs of the British Red Cross

The Red Cross was started in the middle of the 19th Century by Swiss businessman Henry Dunant.  He was very upset about the many injured soldiers on both sides of the battle of Solferino who were left to die due to lack of care. Today the Red Cross helps anyone, anywhere in the UK and around the world to get the support they need if crisis strikes. It can be recognised by 3 different logos, a cross, a crescent and a crystal. The headquarters of the Red Cross are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Image from:

Tonight we had demonstration and discussion of basic first aid, based on the training manual published by Dorling Kindersley Ltd22 Jun 2016. This manual is also used by the St.John Ambulance and St. Andrew’s First Aid.

Sandra showed us how to do CPR (30 compressions, then 2 breaths) and how to use a defibrillator machine, which is easier to use than we all thought. The machine will shout out instructions and therefore you cannot go wrong. This should always be done on the floor.

We also discussed how to deal with deep cuts, burns and nose bleeds.

Recommended contents of a first aid kit:

  1. Clarityn – an antihistamine
  2. Aspirin – thins blood during hear attacks
  3. Paracetamol – pain relief
  4. Ibuprofen – pain relief, however some may be allergic
  5. Conforming Bandage – a stretchy bandage used to keep dressings in place over cuts
  6. Crepe Bandage – a lightweight support for strains

You can find out more about the Red Cross on their website:

Studio Kura on the Japanese Island of Khyshu

Helen Brown on her Artist’s Residency and forthcoming exhibition

Helen spoke about the highlights of her trip, which included many Japanese gardens that she visited. These gardens do not have to be re-planted or re-landscaped, therefore they are maintained in their original form, even from over 100 years ago.

Helen was so inspired by these gardens, that aspects of them are incorporated into her work. During this particular artistic trip, Helen used inks on traditional Japanese paper made locally to studio Kura on Khyshu. There are only a few small scale family firms that produce this paper; using the same techniques that were used over 300 year ago.

Did you know, there is a Japanese garden in Hammersmith? Keep an eye on our coming up page; we may be visiting it soon!

Come and see Helen’s work:
Saint Anne’s and st. Andrew’s Church, 125 A Salusbury Rd, Queen’s Park, London NW6 6RG

How much do you know about being a Magistrate?

Quiz from local female Magistrate, Sue Kayser JP.

Sue Kayser is a local female magistrate and has been volunteering as one for quite some time. She does at least 26 half-day sittings at court per year at Willesden Magistrates Court. The bench at Willesden is very ethnically diverse, and currently has more female than male magistrates.

Instead of the usual talk, Sue insisted that we take part in a quiz, and then discuss the answers. It was a very engaging evening where each of us learnt a few new things, some of which were very surprising.

If you are interested in becoming a Justice of the Peace, you have to be between the ages of 18-70, you do not need any special qualifications, just common sense. Apply here: Become a Magistrate

Some unexpected facts we discussed:

  • Did you know, the first use of Magistrates in this country was in 1361!
  • Magistrates deal with 96% of criminal cases.
  • You could go to prison for carrying a knife – make sure you wrap and carry your cake knives securely, other wise we will end up with prisons full of WI members arrested on their way to a cake sale!