First WI market in Lewes

It will soon be the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Institute in this country.

Its birthplace was in the small township of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, in1897. Because of the distances between the various rural homesteads, the women lived isolated lives and realised that they could greatly help each other by an exchange of all types of domestic knowledge.

When the war started, in 1914, the British Government set up the Agricultural Organisation Society, to ensure the provision of food, which, during wartime, would be vital.

In March, 1916, the first branch was set up in West Sussex, at Singleton and, almost four years later, in 1919, a Women′s Institute Market, the first in Britain, was held in Lewes.

It was, and remains, an outlet for surplus produce.

WI Markets spread to other areas to allow members and other share holders to market the products of their gardens, kitchens and craft skills.

Well done Lewes.