Welcome to The Alexandra WI!

Welcome to The Alexandra WI, the Women’s Institute for Muswell Hill and Crouch End, North London. We started out in 2010 and we have members from their 30s to their 70s – we’re a diverse group and all women are very welcome!

Generally we meet 8-10pm on the first Tuesday of the month at CUFOS, end of The Avenue, London N10 2QE. It’s the old Alexandra Palace railway station building, just behind Ally Pally.  Please note that some meetings will be held by Zoom at the committee’s discretion.

Next meeting is September 6th at CUFOS – 8 pm start

We will be having a local author providing an insight into their writing.

Charity Knitting Group

Do join the Charity knitting group on Tuesdays at 2pm upstairs in the Hornsey Library. The group has recently donated items (20 Twiddlemuffs, 10 lap blankets, 5 shawls and 5 cannula sleeves) to the Milton Keynes Social Services who work closely with Admiral Nurse, care homes and nurses.


Please scroll down and read about our past meetings and do check the calendar / programme for future events

How do I become a member?

Please have a browse of our site… but if you have any questions, please do email us.

Read more about membership here. Subscription rates for 2022 are here.

2022 Programme
January 4 – WI Resolutions – Discussion
February 1 – First Aid
March 1 – Where’s the makeup lady?
April 5 – Gardeners’ question time
May 3 – AGM
June 7 – Weaving
July 5 – Lawn Bowling
August – Tea and cake – TBA
September 6 – Local author
October 4 – Let’s hear from our members
November 1 – Christmas Crafting
December 6 – Christmas festive fun 

July 2022 – Lawn Bowling

We had a delightful evening at Hornsey Bowls Club. Some members had bowled before but to most it was an introduction to a new sport with new terminology and some pretty impressive shots. Rosemary made some lovely scones (with the trimmings) which were enjoyed afterwards with tea in the evening sun.

May 2022 – AGM

We held our AGM with our WI Advisor Yvette Rathbone officiating from the Middlesex Federation along with Fiona Doyle a WI Trainee Advisor. Thanks to the committee for their work over the year and continuing to stand for another year. After the official business members were treated to a glass of prosecco and a slice of cake made by June. Members also told their stories of an experience with royalty. Congratulations to Ching for winning the make a lanyard competition. Thanks to everyone who took part, it was a fabulous evening!

April 2022 – Muswell Hill and District Horticultural Society (MHDHS)

Jenny Kruss was in attendance to discuss MHDHS. The society was founded in 1912 and continues to flourish with the only requirement being to love gardens or gardening. They hold three annual shows during the year, social events and day trips. There are also affiliated groups in Highgate and Finchley along with National Garden Scheme (NGS) which opens gardens for charity in London and across the country. Jenny also answered our gardening questions.

March 2022 – Where’s the Make Up Lady?

Make-up artists are often asked to solve unexpected problems when they are working. We joined Rosemarie Swinfield on a light-hearted journey through her long career working in photography, film, commercials and theatre. We heard her stories of working with top models and actors with all the challenging and often hilarious things that can happen. Rosemarie has made up many famous people but also babies, tables, plants, dummy figures and even ten fingers dressed up as people. A make-up artist’s role is often so much more than slapping on make-up so join Rosemarie and learn what the job really involves.’

Rosemarie Swinfield

Gill announced our lanyard the competition for the AGM in May.

Ching provided an update from the charity knitting group which continues to focus on making items for people with dementia. Recent donations have been made to the Homerton and Barnet Hospitals.

Recent donations

February 2022 – First Aid

As requested by members the committee organised first aid training which was held in person at CUFOS. This was basic training to help us to know what to do if we are ’first at the scene’ for an accident inside or outside the home. Ben covered a range of first aid treatments.

January 2022 – Resolutions

It was decided to hold our first meeting of 2022 by Zoom. By tradition we discuss the WI resolutions every January, albeit in a pub. This meeting started with a briefing from Heulwen on the current resolution regarding cervical cancer. This was very informative and Heulwen was keen to follow up on this further. The resolutions discussed were very interesting and the different resolutions proposed covered a range of interests. Members spoke on one or more of the proposals. Diane, as a solicitor, made a number of constructive contributions based on experiences of the law. Sally made a made the point that it was important to consider how a campaign on a particular topic might work in practice. The majority vote was for ‘Appropriate sentencing of non-violent women offenders.

December 2021 – Christmas Meeting

We had a lovely Christmas party which included a quiz (who thinks of these questions!), bingo and a raffle with great prizes from the Everyman Muswell Hill, North&Ten and WMartyn Tea & Coffee Specialist. Members enjoyed mulled wine and homemade mince tarts. A great evening and start to the festive season.

November 2021 – Crafting

Unfortunately Lorraine was unable to join us but a last minute call up to bring unfinished craft projects led to pleasant evening. There was work on crafts for the stall at the Hornsey Vale Community Centre, a crochet corner, embroidery, knitting and embellishments for twiddlemuffs. And of course there was tea, cake and socialising!

October 2021 – 10th Anniversary (albeit a year late)

A lovely birthday cake made by June

We had a great evening. Our president opened the birthday anniversary by welcoming everyone. We had Balloon entertainment when four members (in Wonderful Women character) were on board in an over full hot air balloon. Each Passenger stated their case to remain in the balloon. One was evicted to save the other three!

And of course there was Prosecco, food and birthday cake and with a raffle.

Cantamas entertained us with and lead us in singing together.

Our WI birthday quilt with blocks submitted by members and sewn together by Maggie.

Many thanks to the birthday committee, organised by Sally, for such a wonderful evening!

September 2021 – Members’ Meeting

We always find our Members’ meetings to be very interesting and a great success and we weren’t disappointed. It was an engaging and interesting evening.

Sally spoke about the National Trust Young People’s Theatre, which sadly no longer exists.
June spoke about her nursing career and how things have changed over the years.

The evening finished up with a Show ’n Tell of Lockdown projects which included crochet, knitting, quilting, tatting and a lovely poem by Heulwen Morgan Reading called Freedom

Freedom –

Is it of the mind?

Is it of the body?

The mental kind

or physical agility?

Freedom is light, bright

to see positivity,

transforming to inner white light

that grey-black, heavy darkly

foreboding feeling.

A heavenly lift when seeing friends,

of birdsong sweetly filling the air.

Soothing green on the eye, leaves,

grass, foliage interspersed with care

between yellows, pinks, reds and blues

of fragrant flowers.

Freedom only comes after restriction.

“Don’t know what we had till it’s lost!”

Can’t wait to shop,

can’t wait to fly to warmer climes.

What an affliction, or is it obsession?

The habit of past times

remain without exemption.

Why?

Let’s live, laugh, enjoy,

do what we’re able,

fill our lives with mutual joy.

And remain stable.


July 2021 – Prosecco and Strawberries

Our July meeting was our first in person meeting for 16 months. We had a wonderful time at our welcome back social. The most emotional point was when members spontaneously broke out in applause, friendship and camaraderie prevailed and found a way.

June 2021 – Wolves Lane Flower Company

Marianne Mogendorff and Camilla Klich spent two years setting up their micro flower farm which is located in north London among fig trees, occasional bramble and in a 40m glasshouse.

Camilla showed us a short film about Wolves Lane Flower Company which was followed by a Q&A session. Excellent knowledge and generous tips on planting, extending plant flowering, tackling pests, etc. was provided by Camilla.

Check out Wolves Lane Horticultural Centre, N22 on 19 September via National Garden Scheme.

May 2021 – AGM

The AGM which was chaired  by Maggie Weatherby as her last meeting as President. Nina gave both the financial and annual reports to us.  We were grateful to have Yvette Rathbone WI Adviser to oversee the voting of the Committee and President which was an interesting exercise on Zoom! After the meeting we delivered an orchid and thank you card to Maggie from the members to show our appreciation of her two years as President.

January 2021 – Resolutions

Our January meeting was our usual Resolution meeting which sadly did not include our usual visit to the pub!

Thank you to everyone joined us on Zoom to discuss the shortlisted resolutions for 2021. We’ve sent forward our votes to Middlesex Federation of WIs, and look forward to finding out which resolution(s) will go forward to the NFWI Annual Meeting this year.

If you are interested in putting forward a current issue you feel strongly about and would like the WI to campaign on this,  you can find out more information on how to turn this into a resolution here: https://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/resolutions.

December 2020 – Festive Meeting

We’re used to getting festive in December with mulled wince, mince pies and shortbread… But this year it was a BYO affair with our eighth (would you believe!) Zoom meeting.

We farewelled another year of WI meetings and activities, though I think it is fair to say no-one really wants to replicate 2020 anytime soon.

There was much conviviality nonetheless, with members—and a very welcome guest from our sister WI Reculver Beacon in Herne Bay in Kent—sharing their favourite pampering treats and Christmas recipes.

We’re very much looking forward to 2021 and the time we can meet again in person, yet are so thankful for our members who’ve come online and joined us since March, and send our best wishes to those we’ve missed during this time.

We’re used to getting festive in December with mulled wince, mince pies and shortbread… But this year it was a BYO affair with our eighth (would you believe!) Zoom meeting.

There was much conviviality nonetheless, with members—and a very welcome guest from our sister WI Reculver Beacon in Herne Bay in Kent—sharing their favourite pampering treats and Christmas recipes.

November 2020 – Street Art

The Alexandra WI took to the streets – as best we could online – for a walk through the streets of inner east London with Blue Badge Guide Annamarie Dall’Anese. Annamaria opened our eyes to so much creative work which is such a delight to discover: Annamaria felt that the joy of discovery – wandering without a map or guidebook – was key to the enjoyment of street art.

For the first time, we opened our meeting to the WI Wanderers Facebook Group, and we delighted to welcome over 30 WI members from across the country. Shout out to everyone who came along from as far afield as West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Kent, Wiltshire, Essex and Buckinghamshire. We loved having you join us and we have never felt so popular!

Walking tours around London have always been a popular event on our WI calendar, and we were so glad to be able to incorporate this into our meeting schedule for this ‘stay at home’ year.

The photos here were shared by Annamaria Dall’Anese; copyright rests with the artists.

October 2020 – Happy Tenth Birthday to us!

It was so nice to see 24 members at our Tenth Birthday Party at the beginning of the month and I hope you all agree that, especially in the circumstances, we had a really good get together. The hats provided a good opening to the show and illustrated the diversity of our interests and ambitions – from visits to Jamaica to memories of special family occasions – and the 2 items to be taken to the Desert Island were a fascinating insight into what is really important to our members! The quiz was excellent and I am still surprised to discover that Winston Churchill was born in a toilet – there’s hope for all low born men and women then. Also, who knew our local team Arsenal won the FA Cup last year?

It seems that we have to continue with our virtual meetings for some time to come but I hope the Party proved that we can, and do, have some very enjoyable evenings over Zoom and that the Alexandra WI is a group definitely worth keeping together through these difficult and uncharted times until we can meet up again in person in the hopefully not too distant future.

Congratulations to all of you who have made the last ten years so enjoyable and successful.  Here’s to at least the next ten. Cheers!

Sally

September 2020 – Members’ Meeting

We continued our established September meeting tradition of hearing from our very own members about their lives. We’ve continued to have such positive feedback about it. Let’s be honest: everyone’s a little curious about everyone else, and we know it helps build our community. We can wholeheartedly recommend it to other WIs!

Fifteen members signed onto Zoom to hear two members speak about their work. Liz Crane spoke about her experience as a nurse and health visitor (including during the Covid-19 pandemic), giving interesting historical background to her work before telling us about modern day health visiting and how the virus had changed some of the work.

Haniya Dar spoke about International Development, and discussed the recent incorporation of International Aid into the Foreign Office. Haniya showed us pictures of her travels abroad and some of the influential people who saw how the money was used. Two inspirational women we are privileged to have in our WI.

Thank you so much to Liz and Haniya for sharing their stories with us.

July 2020 – Travel

200707_TheAexandraWI_Mtg_Zoom_SteveFowler-02For our fourth members’ meeting on Zoom we were delighted to have Steve Fowler as the speaker on the subject of travel.

Steve introduced his talk by telling us he was born a Shropshire lad who emigrated with his family to New Zealand at seven years of age and believes this is where his love of travel started. The family travelled to New Zealand by ship calling at many ports on route, which included passing through the Suez Canal.  The stop in Bombay stands out in his mind as being very colourful, full of contrasts and as a young lad couldn’t understand why his parents gave away their food to those who guided them round the city.

Fifteen years later Steve returned to the UK with a one-way ticket. With the need to find employment he began by working as a tour guide on camping trips in Europe. This has continued over the years and with companies guiding mainly attracts Americans, Australia and New Zealanders who want to visit the main cities in Europe, including London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Rome, Florence, Paris, Salzburg and many more. Steve mentioned that the people usually get on well together.  Steve was asked about his favourite places to visit and they included holidays in India, japan, South Africa, and Portugal to name a few! Members then spoke of their favourite places to travel or holidays with a theme. An inspirational evening giving us a taste to visit those countries we are waiting to see.

– Rosemary Pettman

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