May 2020 – Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting – of sorts – was held via Zoom on 5 May 2020, the coronavirus lockdown still being in force. All WIs have been temporarily exempted from complying with our requirement to hold a formal Annual Meeting and elect a Committee and President, and current President Maggie Weatherby asked the members present for a show of hands to support the continuation of the current Committee and President until such time as a traditional Annual Meeting can be held with a Middlesex Federation WI Advisor.


Secretary Nina Jewell presented the Annual Report, recounting another busy year, including woodpeckers, antiques, novel writing, middle eastern food and of course lots of crafting. The Annual Financial statement had been circulated previously for information, and was approved by a show of hands. Maggie reminded members of our annual objectives, and the members supported a Committee proposal to once again support the Muswell Hill Food Bank at this challenging time.

Following the formal business, we shared updated on our communal textile design project, with some fabulous and diverse ideas from members for decorating a 30x30cm square to celebrate our tenth birthday in October 2020.

We chatted about highlights of the year and members chimed in with their favourite activities, as well as updating the group on lockdown fun including freezer-tidying, Tube-themed cryptic crosswords (Sally wins for both of these!) and sticky moth traps (good tips thanks to Jacque and Fiona).

As always we appreciated the chance to catch up, see familiar faces and share the warm WI fellowship.

April 2020 – Catching up online

The Alexandra WI went online for its April meeting, due to the coronavirus lockdown. We had over 50% of our members join us for an informal meeting using Zoom. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces again; many of us hadn’t seen our fellow members at all since the last meeting.

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Our next meeting is our Annual Meeting, and it will be a change from past Annual Meetings, but we are trying to ensure that even without the formalities, we have a wrap-up of the past WI year and a chance for our members to share their progress on the  shared craft project we launched in March.

March 2020 – The Galilean Kitchen

Author of the Galilean Kitchen, Ruth Nieman came along to our meeting and shared stories and flavours of the kitchens of Druze, Christian, Muslim and Bedouin women of northern Israel.

Ruth spoke passionately about her time with these women, and about recreating their dishes back in London. We very much enjoyed the wonderful samples she brought along, and many members went home with a copy of her book. Thank you Ruth!


January 2020 – Pub Meeting & WI Resolutions

Our January meeting was once again our annual pub meeting, back again in the beautiful upstairs space at the Victoria Stakes at the foot of Muswell Hill.

We toasted the new year (the year of perfect vision!) with a glass of wine, welcoming a guest and new member and sharing good news stories from the festive season.

President Maggie introduced the 2020 shortlisted resolutions before she and committee members Rosemary (pictured) and Gill W presented further detail on three of them.

We broke into smaller groups to debate the resolutions: some really solid discussion ensued!

We then followed up with a quiz on the resolutions (with all of the groups failing on one of proposals – something awry there I think NFWI?). We finally cast our votes for our preferred resolutions, for submission to the Middlesex Federation.

Thank you to those who attended, and Happy New Year!


Happy New Year from us!


Members listen to Maggie talking about a resolution.


Rosemary presenting one of the shortlisted resolutions

It’s A Wonderful Muswell stall 2019

The Alexandra Women’s Institute once again held a stall at newly-renamed local festival It’s A Wonderful Muswell on Saturday 7 December 2019.

We were grateful again to have a warm inside stall within the beautiful St James Church in Muswell Hill. We had another successful day selling a variety of cakes, biscuits, Christmas crafts and knitted goods including hedgehogs and rag wreaths. Thank you to our members who made and baked items to sell, helped on the day, or simply called into say hello! It was also lovely to greet a couple of our former members and speakers: please continue to keep in touch… and come back when life allows, even if it’s only for the odd meeting which is of interest!

Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising by buying something!

Here are some photos of us on the day.

A note on Morsbags…

A few of our lucky customers were given a Morsbag (see image above) lovingly made by our President Maggie. Morsbags are fabric bags made from re-used fabric and given away to promote use of alternatives to plastic bags. You can read more about Morsbags here and join the Middlesex Federation of WIs Morsbag pod here.

December 2019 – Feeling Festive!

We put our feet up a little at our December meeting each year. This year we kicked off with a fun ‘who am I?’ game: thank you to organiser Gill W. Our photos show some of the women and girls featured – say hello Hillary Clinton, Virginia Woolf, Beatrix Potter and Alice in Wonderland, among others!

We then enjoyed mulled wine while sharing stories of Christmasses past – tales of uncooked turkeys, dressing up in Nigeria and childhood dolls kept us entertained. More mulled wine and Christmas treats including fruit cake and mince pies accompanied our raffle. Thank you to everyone who donated prizes!

Warm wishes for the festive season from us here at The Alexandra WI!

October 2019 – Christmas Crafting

October is once again Christmas crafting time at The Alexandra WI, and we made a start on creating items for our annual stall at Muswell Hill in December. This year we had a go at yarn wreaths, mini plat pots with pine cones, and tree decorations. Thank you to member Tamara Watts who ran this session for us: we very much appreciate all the work you put into preparation to make this a fun evening.

Our members – plus guests and two brand new members (welcome!) – always love the chance to busy themselves with crafts while having a good old chat… This should be evident in the photos!


September 2019 – Members’ Meeting

We happily continued our wonderful 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!

This year we heard from two members about their working lives. Jayne Fowler told us of her early studies in Canada, and her work in pathology in London, while Rosemary Pettman shared her experiences of working in prison education.

Thank you so much to Jayne and Rosemary for sharing their stories with us.

July 2019 – Visit to Reculver Beacon WI

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The Alexandra WI member Jacque with Herne Bay local hero aviatrix Amy Johnson.

In early July, six members of The Alexandra WI travelled by train to Herne Bay in Kent to spend the day with our twin WI Reculver Beacon. We were met at the station by Claire, the Secretary, who drove us to her house for a delicious buffet lunch, where we spent some time sitting in the garden and catching up with the lovely ladies of Reculver Beacon WI. We were then transported to the seafront where we had a walking tour of many of the historic attractions of Herne Bay. To accompany the tour, RB WI provided us with an illustrated booklet describing all the attractions on the tour in some detail. These included the Pier, the Bandstand, the Clocktower and the bronze statue of the famous aviator Amy Johnson and many more.

Herne Bay has a very interesting history, especially as a coastal town constantly under threat during the wars. We also saw a large circular flower display organised by the Herne Bay WI to commemorate the WI Centenary. It was a wonderful day out and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone… in fact, three of our group stayed on for a meal in the evening.

Thank you so much to our friends at Reculver Beacon WI for such a warm welcome and a lovely day.

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All the fun of the pier, Herne Bay

July 2019 – Summer Gardening

Our July meeting guest speaker was Denis Lynch, horticulturist, of our local Sunshine Garden Centre. Denis gave an interesting talk and slide show. He brought many flowering hardy perennials for us to see and told us about the best situation in the garden for planting and a couple examples of alternative plants to the box which can be devastatingly infected with the box blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola) such as Elaeagnus x submacrophylla ‘Compacta’. His slides showed the many pests and diseases and friendly ones which affect our garden plants and how to recognise which is which. Following this he concentrated on the importance of biosecurity and urged us all not to bring any plants home from abroad. A short Q&A session finished off his talk… We all learned something and looked at plants and pests slightly differently.

June 2019 – Spring Lane Care Home Summer Open Day

In late June, President Maggie Weatherby and member – and twiddlemuff queen (and charity knitting facilitator), Ching Smith, were invited to Spring Lane Care Home, Muswell Hill to their Summer Open Day to thank families of loved ones, past and present, volunteers, and all

those who have contributed to make the home a vibrant and happy place to live. We were privileged to be invited, following our initial contact in 2018 when we donated three Twiddlemuffs to the unit for those with severe dementia.

It was a lovely summer day for BBQ, drinks and entertainment. We set up our table, with a prime position overlooking the food area and stage. Maggie brought items to promote our WI, along with twiddlemuffs and shawls to promote our Charity Knitting Group.

We chatted to many visitors and residents, including a couple of prospective new members for our WI, and we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon: lovely setting, nice sunny day, the residents contented and staff interested!

Before we left, Caroline Elliott, Activities Co-ordinator, suggested that we to do a Master Class with the residents, which we are looking forward to!


June 2019 – A surprise meeting!

The June meeting turned out to be rather an unexpected event as we had to change it from the advertised one. Tracey Mackness from the Giggly Pig company, who was to be our guest speaker, was unable to come as she was unwell.  So disappointing for us, as she is a very good and inspirational speaker.  We wish her a speedy recovery and we will try to organise another date for her to return.

As we only knew about her inability to come shortly before the meeting was due to start, we had some quick thinking to do!  I am very pleased to say that after consulting our Plan B, Nina produced a discussion document consisting of a series of questions set to encourage discussion both on a humorous and serious level.  The questions included:  When were you happiest?  What is your guilty secret? What was the worst thing anyone said to you? What’s on your bucket list?  What was your best kiss?

Everyone was happy to give this a go,so after the usual business section we decided to split into  groups… and got chatting. There were 10 questions to answer by each person in the group, so everyone was engrossed in discussion for  about 30 minutes.  Everyone shared their own particular experience in answering the questions and this created a light hearted and relaxed atmosphere.

When all the groups had finished we had a feedback session, with responses shared ranging from the outright comical to the very poignant.

Just before we had tea, Jacque led us in a rendition of Happy Birthday for June: thank you Jacque.  June had made the most delicious strawberry and elderflower cake (National Trust recipe!), shortbread biscuits and chocolate brownies to mark her birthday.  Thank you June – they were delicious.  The strawberry and elderflower cake will be the first recipe in our WI recipe folder and I hope to collect many more recipes for the folder over the next year.

And another thing… In order to help the committee develop a varied future programme for the future we handed out a questionnaire at the end of the meeting.  This gives everyone an opportunity to have their say about The Alexandra WI (their WI!) and to make suggestions on how and what they would like to see in the future.

May 2019 – Annual Meeting

Our annual Meeting was held on 7 May 2019, with our Middlesex Federation WI Advisor, Yvette Rathbone. We balanced the business end of the meeting with a (somewhat challenging!) quiz and our decorated t-shirt competition.

Secretary Nina Jewell presented the Annual Report, recounting another busy year, from rag wreath making, singing and creative writing to more wine-tasting, scarf juggling and tai chi.

Yvette then officiated for our elections at which Maggie Weatherby was elected President, taking the reins from Emma Watson who stepped aside after four terms, and the new committee was elected. We farewelled from the committee Rachel Craig and Joan Prasad, formally welcomed back Norma Barnes, and re happy to announce the Gill Whitney has also joined the committee.


Incoming President Maggie Weatherby with Emma Watson, who leaves the post after four terms

Finally, Yvette drew the winner of our 2019-20 Denman Bursary; Nina Jewell was the lucky winner. Congratulations Nina! If you would like to know more about the WI’s Denman College, do take a look at its website. We also voted in favour of supporting both the resolutions being put forward at the NFWI Annual Meeting in Bournemouth in June.

In the committee meeting following the Annual Meeting, the following roles were also confirmed:

  • President – Maggie Weatherby
  • Secretary – Nina Jewell
  • Treasurer/Communications Manager – Emma Watson
  • Minute Secretary/Refreshments – Rosemary Pettman
  • Committee Member – Norma Barnes
  • Committee member – Gill Whitney

Although she is not on the Committee, Jayne Fowler will continue to assist by running the MCS.


After the formal business was finished it was time to judge the t-shirt competition.  This unenviable role went to our WI adviser Yvette.  It was not an easy job, as we had ten beautifully decorated t-shirts some dyed different colours and others using embroidery and artwork.  After carefully inspecting each one, Yvette came out with a well deserved winner designed by Ching Smith. Ching had made hand crocheted  flowers, biscuits and even a tiny twiddlemuff, all put on a background showing our logo of Alexandra Palace.  Congratulations to Ching and thank you to everyone for their contributions.

We finished the meeting with a fun quiz on tea and coffee organised by Nina. We finished off the meeting with cakes from Tops Cakes and tea organised by Rosemary.


April 2019 – Creative Writing

We love getting creative, whether it’s writing, singing, crafts… And for our April meeting, we got our pens out, inviting local creative writing workshop facilitator Nichola Charalambou of Creative Writes to guide us through some ‘free-flow’ writing exercises designed to get us writing.


Nichola Charalambou with The Alexandra WI President Emma Watson and Secretary/Treasurer Nina Jewell

Nichola’s approach allows writers to focus on simply getting words on the page: the process is more important than the end product.

Our members let their creativity flow, starting with a simple exercise on the prompt “I am…”. Nichola then handed out a selection of weird and wacky old hats, and we were tasked with writing from the perspective of our allocated hats, followed by an imagined conversation between the hats, when they met. A fun challenge!


March 2019 – Women Rise and the WI online

For our March meeting we mixed it up a bit. We started proceedings with a brief presentation from Priyanka and Heidi of local group Women Rise, based at Jackson’s Lane theatre in Highgate, and recipients of our charity fundraising efforts in 2018. Priyanka let us know all about the courses the group runs for women, including theatre and circus arts, self-defence, yoga and confidence building. Heidi then led us in scarf juggling… harder than it looks but a lot of fun!

We were then joined by Jules and Yve from Digital Team of the Middlesex Federation of Women’s Institutes. Jules reminded us of the myriad ways we can interact with the WI online, including accessing information for members via MyWI on the NFWI’s website, and finding out more about activities run by the Federation on its website and Facebook sites. Thank you Jules and Yve!

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 June 7th, 8:00 pm at CUFOS 

We have a talk on weaving. Further details to included.

Charity Knitting Group

Do join the Charity knitting group on Tuesdays at 2pm upstairs in the Hornsey Library. They continue to keep busy with a recent delivery to the Homerton Hospital and 40 items going to Milton Keynes Social Services. The group will be five years old on June 13th. 

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