MAMBLE CUM BAYTON WI: President Val Evans welcomed members, visitors and our speaker Mrs Edwina Newman to the February meeting.

Forthcoming events organised by WFWI include a poetry afternoon at Wribbenhall, a visit to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, and the Lucy Hingley lecture, all in May.

As well as the outing arranged in June to Broberry House, Bredwardine, plans are in hand to celebrate our 100th birthday. Further ideas are welcome from members. We are fortunate that one of our members lives at Shakenhurst, Bayton, where the first Institute meeting was held, and the Institute have been invited to hold our November birthday meeting at her lovely home.

Mrs Newman's talk was the 19th Century employment of women and children, especially in agriculture and in North Worcestershire in particular, although there was no information for the parish of Mamble. Gangmasters formed groups of men and women, putting them out to farmers, and charging high wages, although the men and women only picked up a small proportion. Mrs Newman also mentioned the hiring fairs where permanent farm staff were taken on. They were fortunate in also being given accommodation as part of their employment and often with fuel being provided. Workers in the field were given free cider or ale. Children were expected to attend school, which had to be paid for, so families often took the children to work in the fields and help the parents earn more money. Members then discussed their own childhood memories of living on farms and helping in the fields and the out-workers brought in to help pick crops.

The March meeting will be held on Monday 13th March, starting at 2.00 pm, in Mamble Village Hall. Mrs Eileen Shillcock will demonstrate Sugarcraft, the competition is an item beginning with "E" and there will be a Trading Stall.