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100 year of The Farleighs Womens' Institute

Posted on 5th August, 2019

THE HISTORY OF THE FARLEIGHS WI HALL WRITTEN BY PAM CLARK IN APRIL 2007

Extra information from the archives courtesy of Diane  Scott .

 

The women from East and West Farleigh formed The Farleighs WI in 1919.  Their meeting place was the Iron Room, a building in front of Court Lodge Oast Houses in Lower Road, East Farleigh. Mrs Littlewood, wife of the Vicar of East Farleigh was the first President and Miss Tapsfield from Kettle Farm was the secretary, there were 29 members.

 

Anna Tapsfield, probably dressed for one of their pageants.

Miss Tapsfield lived in Kettle Farm, Kettle Lane. East Farleigh (Just!) She was the Registrar for Births and Deaths. The vicar would have been registrar for marriage, as he is today.

This photo is still hanging in the lobby of the WI hall, today.

 

 

 

 

 

It was all very formal, but women from all classes were welcome and were treated as equals (as in deed they were). It wasn’t until 1991 that Christian names became the norm.

Committee meetings were held in the afternoon and there were no monthly meetings in September, because of hop picking.  The format of the monthly meeting was as it is today, except that the speaker usually arrived on a bike having travelled miles in all sorts of weather.

The Womens’ Institute was formed for the education of country women.

In 1921 members welcomed speakers on the subjects of shoe mending, chicken rearing, bee keeping and washing and drying a new baby!

In 1922 they set up a clinic for children starting school.

In 1931 Mrs Parker of Court Lodge, West Farleigh, the then President and members from East and West Farleigh helped raise the funds to build The Farleighs WI Hall.  It was owned and maintained for the benefit of the two villages by the WI, as it is today.  The Hall is regularly used by the community as well as the WI.

The land cost £80 and the final cost was £940 6s 7p. This was a huge undertaking and a magnificent achievement by the ladies. Especially remembering the financial problems there were in the thirties. However, the initial Trustees of the Hall were local business MEN. It wasn’t until 1971 that the management of the hall was taken over by charity Trustees under the umbrella of the WI constitution.

As there was a lack of transport and opportunity the members had to make their own entertainment.  The result was an excellent Drama Group, there are photographs in the archives,taken at various venues including Linton Place and The Priory East Farleigh where they presented  a pageant in magnificent Henry VIII costumes. 

A choir, craft and produce guilds were also popular. Miss Wakefield, headmistress of West Farleigh School, was choir mistress and pianist in the 60’s and 70’s. The current choir sang at her 100th birthday.

In April 1939 committee minutes show that members took along their respirators to be fitted.  Their war effort included making Jam, 21cwt, was ordered in April 1940.  Scrap iron, steel, paper, bottles and jars were collected for the war effort.

One social half hour was spent knitting for the troops, including those on the Russian Front.   The County wrote asking if the WI would help the national vegetable supply by growing onions as part of West Kent’s promise of 12 tons.

The Hall was used for a time as a school for evacuees.

Just like today, new house building developments in the intervening years since the war have brought in new members from East and West Farleigh and further afield all enjoying what the WI have to offer.

Members are involved in giving help in their local communities as well as raising funds towards the upkeep of the hall, a never-ending task.  Our hard-working committees ensures that it is maintained to a high standard and keeps up with the never-ending rules and regulations.

Currently, as well as the traditional skills such as craft, and Art, there is keep fit, tenpin bowling, Whist Drives, petanque, Darts, singing and dancing.  There are many outings to  places of interest.

However the WI is still supporting the community. Making and selling teas and cakes at East Farleigh Fete. Listening to reading at the local school, knitting blankets for dementia patients in hospital and all the while making new friends, who support each other.

There was definitely a good reason to celebrate our first 100 years. There will be a role for the WI in the next 100 years.

 

The main hall of Smiths Hall was packed.  There were 12 in the choir, 48 in the audience as well as the impressario in his red tailcoat and Sam and Jake on the bar!

 

Here are a few pictures from a memorable night!  For the video version, see the Farleighs facebook page...

 

 

 

 

Driving Home for Christmas by Emily Hunter

Posted on 24th December, 2018

 

Well, if we’re being specific I actually got the train, but that just doesn’t sound as poetic. My point is, I’m going to write today about coming home to West Farleigh for Christmas. I’d like to start by apologising for taking so long to write another post – as some of you may know, I started university in September 2017. It has been over a year since then, and I am now at the end of the first semester of my second year. Let’s just say that I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be as intense and as full on as it turned out to be. Anyway, now that I’ve gotten myself settled in, I have time to write about what it’s like to return to the place I call home.

 

I always look forward to coming home, whether it’s just for a weekend or for a longer holiday. Obviously, a massive part of this is because I get to see my family again, who I am often away from for six to eight weeks at a time. However, it is also because West Farleigh is such a lovely place to come home to. Nothing shows this quite like Christmas time. Driving back from the train station on Saturday night, I can only explain the feeling as magical when we entered the village. The effort put in to light up the road clearly shows. It feels like a winter wonderland, and if that’s how I feel I can only imagine the joy it brings to children who live here or are even just passing through.

 

Not only does the village look amazing at this time of year, but beneath the lights and inflatable Santas lie such kind and generous people. I can honestly say that I can’t imagine experiencing such a sense of community anywhere else but here.     

 

I’ve lived here all my life (apart from when I’m at uni), and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I know that there will come a time where I have to move on, but for now I couldn’t wish for a better village, and community, to call home. 

 

Emily      

Flower arranging at All Saints

Posted on 21st April, 2018

Each week there are beautiful flowers on display at All Saints Church, all created by the talented hands of a dedicated group of volunteers. Sue O'Donnell, Ann Ayears, Deb Bailey and Tracy Ward rotate every 2 weeks to add colour, vibrancy and natural beauty to enjoy whilst the church is being used, whether by the congregation, Pilates classes, Little Angels toddler group or the sports club for quizzes.

 

There has been a long evolution of flower arrangers brightening our church, historically Margaret Evans (Court Farm Oast), Sue Day (Tutsham farm), Sue Morelock (Court Lodge), Joyce Morgan and many others too. Sue started when her children were young and they used to help out too. She went to classes, joined Wateringbury Flower Club, learnt from other volunteers and received good advice. Ann first started after a flower arranging demonstration at The Farleighs WI and they both were able to arrange the church flowers for their children’s weddings.

 

Every week of the year, except for Lent, they fill the church with flowers by either growing the flowers in their own gardens, receiving bouquets from other neighbours gardens or being donated bunches of flowers by people who want to celebrate the memory of a loved one at special times of the year. At Christmas they go to Whittingtons flower wholesaler in Rochester to enhance their displays. They aim not to use dark colours such as purple as these recede against the walls when viewed. They must also ensure that they enhance the collection of Christmas Trees that also decorate the church during Advent whilst leaving room for the choir and congregation!

 

This week they included Tulips, Carnations, Hebe, Heather, Skimmia, Eucalyptus, Palm leaves and Roses, many taken from Ann's own garden on Charlton Lane. The second display included an ornamental willow frame with gerberas creating a beautiful collection of pink and green.

 

They are also keen to hear from anyone interested in helping out with the displays, as ever drop an email to editor@TheFarleighs.co.uk if you would like to know more.

Lambing Day 2018

Posted on 17th March, 2018

Mothering Sunday, 11th March 2018 was the annual opening of Smiths Hill Farm on Hunt Street for their Lambing Day from 10am until 4pm.

 

This year Geoff, Candy and Oli had 2 cows in the pens, 3 horses in the stables, chickens in the coup as well as many sheep either heavily pregnant or nursing young lambs. 1 lamb had been born at 2am that morning and a further 2 came in the afternoon. There were 3 sets of triplets with 2 lambs being fostered by other sheep who only had one lamb.

 

The parish council ran a large, varied and very tasty cake stall:

 

Villagers donated to the Tombola, every ticket winning if ending in a 0 or a 5:

 

A hot dog stand was run by Larry Johnston, a former parish councillor and Mick Merritt sold beautifully crafted wooden bowls and vases from various kind of wood.

 

In total, £1,000 was raised for parish funds.

 

Many thanks once again to all involved for a memorable, informative and enyoyable day.

 

All Saints was full to capacity on Saturday night, celebrating the Village Harvest Supper. 

 

After a spectacular buffet laid on by the Friends of All Saints, Pete & Co struck up with a selection of old and new favourites.  "I've got a brand new combine harvester" so appealed to our churchwarden, Valeria Grainger that she and Hugh got up and danced (see clip below!).  Perhaps it's time for a barn dance in the village?  

 

In addition to the honey roast ham, fresh salmon (x3!) and a cornucopia of salads, the party was enhanced by a donation of home made cider and a case of wine from two generous parishioners.  Dessert was a delicious home made apple pie from the Ayears kitchen.

 

Pete, Roy and Linda played two 40 minutes sets.  The organisers rushed through the extensive raffle during the interval!  Raffle prizes included Sunday lunch for 2 at the Good Intent a fine bottle of whisky, two flagons of Polglase cider, a marvellous basket of fruit and many other delightful prizes. The raffle raised a record £224.

 

Val Grainger our churchwarden thanked the Friends at the end of the evening, and asked for would-be supporters of All Saints to contact Terry Ayears or Jacky Taylor to sign up!  One feature of the event was the number of newcomers to the village who came along - there were four or five new families, a welcome addition.

 

The event was - we think - enjoyed by all but also raised £895 pounds for the church, and another £110 for Pete & Co's Alzheimer's charity.  Someone caught these lovely moments on this short clip (click on the little square box below the image to see it full screen):   

 

 

 

LAMBING AT SMITHS HILL FARM

Posted on 18th March, 2017

An amazing day at Smiths Hill Farm. Geoff, Candy and Ollie opened their farm to the public, to see the new lambs. The public flocked in (pun intended!).

Several were born during the time the public were there, an educational event for many.

Tea, coffee and cakes were served by the Parish Councillors. There was not even a broken biscuit left at the end of the afternoon. Everyone who went had a good time, the kids loved it.

 

     

                                                    

 

Lower Road Temporary Closure in April

Posted on 21st February, 2017

B2010 Lower Road, East Farleigh – from 10 April 2017 for up to 8 days

 

There will be no access for through traffic between the junctions with Gallants Lane and Vicarage Lane.

 

The alternative route is via Dean Street, B2163 Heath Road/Ewell Lane, B2010 Lower Road and vice versa.

 

The closure is to enable link box replacement works to be carried out by UK Power Networks.

The Big Bang 2016 report by Chris Stockwell

Posted on 5th February, 2017

West Farleigh goes off with a bang!

 

(see full report with pictures, here)

 

It has to be said, that agains all odds, the 2016 Fireworks Spectacular was an unmitigated success!

 

After a day's steady rain, it seemed as though the venture was heading for a disaster, but, someone up there must have been in a good mood, because an hour before the event, it stopped raining! Astounding!

 

A huge thank you to the West Farleigh Sports club who organised the event again. It was evident that a lot of planning went into the event, and in the week leading up to it, there were many bodies in the Park preparing it for Friday. You did a fantastic job, and the village should acknowledge how well it reflects on us. 

 

As usual, there was food and drink a-plenty. I have to say I was particularly drawn to the mulled cider. Just to keep out the cold, you understand... Oh, and the cinnamon donuts. It was rude not to...

 

Brilliant live entertainment was provided by a fire juggler, The Old School Samba band - noisy, but compellingly rhythmic, guitarist and singer Nick Eve and the talented John & Jess band. Variety and quality assured. The entertainment included in the show is a real bonus.

 

The fireworks themselves were hugely enjoyed by the capacity audience. We all love whizzy bangs, flashes and sparkling showers of glittering colour. I just love a good, noisy show! Thanks again for providing the spectacle you promised.

 

And all the cars got off the Park safely!

 

Roll on next year!

 

                                                    Chris Stockwell

 

 

 

 

East Farleigh Village History launched

Posted on 5th February, 2017

East Farleigh booklet launched 

About 40 parisioners from both East and West Farleigh attended a presentation by John Wilson, David Hessein, Dr Simon Elliot and the Rt. Hon. Anne Widdicombe -  with a glass of wine and nibbles as an added incentive, to hear about the route leading to the production of the long-awaited publication.

 

An illustrated account of the event held at the East Farleigh Working Mens' Clube can be found by clicking here.