Grant to Hampshire Record Office

100 years of Hampshire Women – W.I. records

The project will catalogue the unlisted records of closed or superseded Hampshire Women’s Institutes.

The collection has the reference at Hampshire Record Office of 96M96. The records are contained in some 63 HRO standard boxes and 18 volume boxes. They were deposited in 14 separate accessions made between 2005 and 2019, but because of their bulk and increasingly limited HRO resources could not be catalogued at the time of receipt.

The records that will be catalogued by the project relate to 120 individual WIs and cover all areas of the county, rural and urban, from Blackwater and Fleet in the North East, Highclere in the North West, Southwick and Leigh Park in the South East, Beaulieu and New Milton in the South West as well as Winchester and many others in central Hampshire. They encompass 100 years of Hampshire’s history, dating from 1917 to 2016.

As well as committee and record books (see ref4.5.9a1) , the unlisted material includes examples of the wonderful scrapbooks WIs were encouraged to produce in the 1950s, detailing the history, natural history, local industry and buildings in their village or town. Often beautifully compiled, they offer a magnificent research tool for local and family historians. For example, in the unlisted Worting WI material is a scrapbook compiled in 1951, but with photographs dating back to 1911. It includes information and photographs on all aspects of village life, including the rifle club, church choir, cottages, cricket and football teams, Boys Brigade and Mums and babies at the Baby Show in 1950. Although these will be catalogued as part of the project, more detailed page by page cataloguing of individual scrapbook entries will be carried out by volunteers.

By November 2019 some 1500 individual catalogue entries had been created. At that time the earliest WI records catalogued were for Sutton Scotney and Wonston and date from 1917 and include a beautifully complied Village scrapbook (ref 4.5.9a2 and images at g1-4))