Langford Ladies, then...
Langford Ladies is an active social group of women from Langford Budville. Inaugurated in 1964 as the Langford Budville Ladies Social Group, at the Vicarage on Wednesday 18th November 1964. It was envisaged that it might reform the Women’s Institute, which had lapsed due to dwindling numbers in 1944, but a larger number of members was required.
Present at that first meeting were Mrs Scott, Mrs Fox, Mrs Ware, Mrs Case and Mrs Evans. It was agreed to hold meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7.30 pm, with a subscription of 6 shillings per annum. Mrs Fox agreed to hold the first meeting in her house, Croxhall, on the 10th December, and to find a speaker. A charge of 6d was to be levied for refreshments, and a draw (raffle) and competition would be held at each meeting. A year later it was decided to fine members 1d if they didn’t enter the competition!
The first committee comprised: President - Mrs Fox; Secretary - Mrs West; Treasurer - Mrs Siderfin; Mrs Scott; Mrs Braddick.
Early meetings included talks on Fire Prevention in the home; demonstration of Dorset embroidery; beekeeping; a visit to Holland by members; sewing machines; first aid. It was not easy to arrange visits in those early days – fewer members had cars. Coaches were booked for special outings to the theatre in Bristol and the coast in summer.
In April 1965 a vote was taken as to whether members wanted to become a Women’s Institute but the proposal was rejected. During the 1960s numbers grew with members joining from the surrounding area, and by 1970 there were 29 paid up members. As the numbers grew, meetings were transferred to the school.
In the 1980s Nora Smith became an important member of the club, taking over as President and keeping the minutes. She held onto all the early records and kept a register of members for the rest of her life. Many fondly remember the cheese biscuits, which she unfailingly produced at meetings, and also recall that she was game to have a go at anything. She must have been well in to her 80s when the Ladies took her Ten Pin Bowling for the first time.
During the early 1990s numbers began to fall and several members lefty to join the local Women’s Institute at Appley Cross, whose events regularly featured in the Langford Budville Parish magazine. It was then decided to meet in members’ houses to keep down the cost, rather than rent the schoolroom.
Langford Ladies, now...
Nowadays we are far less formal. We gave up having a committee and a Chairman several years ago, and decide our program for the year at our Christmas meal in January. Members come up with ideas and organise them on a monthly rota.
We have a current membership of twenty-two and meet in each other’s houses, or go on visits. We also have the use of the new Jubilee Hall for meetings when necessary.
Recent meetings have included a talk on Indian Wedding customs, a demonstration of portrait painting by Tilly Willis, theatre trips usually to the live broadcasts of opera or ballet at the Wellesley Cinema, garden visits and walks in the summer months including a walk along the sand at Exmouth, and of course the annual barbeque!
Meetings are informal, friendly and entertaining, the yearly membership fee is minimal, and all women in the parish, whatever their age, are welcome to come along.
To find out about the last and the next Langford Ladies events, check the current edition of Round About Magazine.
The article 'Langford Ladies, then…' is reprinted from Changing Faces.