Smisby Village

Smisby Women's Institute




Smisby WI was founded in 1934 and we celebrated our 80th anniversary in  2015. A short history is available via the history page.  Also the WI organisation celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2015.


 Smisby WI are a small but very friendly institute and meet on the third Thursday in the month in various locations.

We have a varied programme with a speaker at most meetings.

Smisby WI meetings are usually held on the third Thursday of the month, 7.00 pm for 7.15 pm prompt start.


All meetings normally in Smisby Village Hall, Main Street LE65 2TY at 7pm for a 7.15pm start.  In addition, monthly craft sessions and walks aare organised on the first and second Thursday of each month respectively and also weekly canasta/card games on a Wednesday afternoon.


Subsidised Subscription 2017 is £37 and Dual membership with another WI is £17  

Refreshments are £1 per meeting


Guests (carers exempt) maximum of 3 meetings per year


Secretary;  Mrs Suzanne Jones 01530 415346


Derbyshire Federation  centenary in 2018


Smisby is part of the Derbshire federation of WIs. 


To commemorate Derbyshire Federation of WIs Centenary in 2018 every WI in Derbyshire had the opportunity to design and make a “fabric brick” depicting their WI. We at Smisby WI are very fortunate to have with in our membership two very talented ladies who between them have made this 2018 centenary brick.


Pat Barnes designed the art work. with Angela Regan using her talents on the embroidery machine.

The design depicts St James Church Smisby, the anvil and hammer represent the arrows and swords that were made in Smisby for the soldiers who used to live in the Castle at Ashby de la Zouch.

The books tell us that Smisby is named in the Doomsday Book of 1068 and used to be named Smiserby.

Sir Walter Scott is believed to have stayed at the manor house in Smisby where he got the idea for Ivanhoe, and of course we must mention the Women’s Institute. The brick will be sewn on to a large wall hanging and displayed at Federation meetings and the county shows and are a unique record of WIs in the Federation.

There have been two previous wall hangings which were completed in the1980’s and the year 2000.



Pie making visit

On the 13th of September 2016 nine members and one husband had a very enjoyable evening at Brockleby's Pork Pie 

manufacturers. After being greeted by David we had to put on aprons and of course the very fetching hair nets in order to have a tour of the factory. David gave a very informative talk about the company and the range of pies that they make all being free range and sourced locally.

Now to the best bit, making the pie! David first of all showed us how to make the base with prepared pastry, wrapped around a wooded block after putting the meat in,  the lid was put on but only with five indentations to attach the lid to the base.

A fantastic time was had by all, all ten pies looked totally different, but Sybil's pie was chosen as the one that looked most like a Brockleby's Pork Pie. 

 Please click to enlarge the photos




Beaumanor Hall Visit on Thursday 28th July 2016

Eighteen members and six husbands enjoyed a morning visiting Beaumanor Hall a stately home and park in the small village of Woodhouse on the edge of Charnwood forest.

We were greeted by Margaret who was our guide for the morning, Margaret told us that the hall has been in the Herrick family since 1595 when Sir William Herrick was a government official under Elizabeth 1 and later a member of parliament for Leicester. There have been three halls on the site but the present hall was built over a seven-year period by William Railton (who designed Nelson column and Grace Dieu) between 1842 and 1848 in the Jacobean style. The floors were constructed using stone from Derbyshire and the floors of marble from Ashover.


Just before the Second World War in 1939 the Herrick family owned the park the hall and 6,500 acres of land, Beacon hill the Hanging Rocks and many more workers houses and cottages. In 1939 the War office requisitioned the estate when it became a listening station where encrypted enemy signals were intercepted and sent to Bletchley Park by motorbike for decoding. Beaumanor for the duration of the war was the home of the War Office Y group.

Please click to enlarge the photos


After a very comprehensive tour of the hall, kitchens, and cellars we made our way via the Victorian School Room to Morse Cottage which is where some of the morse code was intercepted, and passed to Bletchley, the huts on the estate that had to be camouflaged from enemy planes as a row of cottages, greenhouses, a cricket pavilion and stables.


The Hall and some of the park is now a Conference and Education Centre run by Leicestershire CC.  Coffee and biscuits were a welcome break half way through the tour, but we also enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Curzon’s Arms in Woodhouse Eves, where the service was very slow but the company and food was excellent. Everyone said how they had enjoyed the visit and we will be going back to learn more about the Hall’s help towards winning the second world war, and of course we will have to have afternoon tea at the hall. 


Houses of Parliament and the London Eye Visit on Friday 20th May 2016

HOP 2016

Forty-one WI members and friends boarded the bus at Smisby for the journey to London. As we wanted to miss the traffic hold ups on the M1 we started out at 10a.m and it proved to be the right decision as there were no hold ups to our first stop for lunch at a garden centre near St Albans.

After a very enjoyable lunch at the garden centre it was back on the bus for our journey to the London Eye.

As anticipated the going was slow due to prayers finishing at the London Mosque in Regents Park and of course the lunch time London Traffic, but we arrived in plenty of time for our 3.30.p.m slot on the London Eye. This wonderful piece of engineering is quite magnificent and many in our party had not been before so it was quite awe-inspiring for them as we travelled at a very slow speed to view the London skyline.

Twenty minutes later we walked to The houses of Parliament with time for a quick coffee and cake, then into the magnificent Westminster Hall to meet our tour guide. We were told that the Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate, having been built in 1097 by the son of William the Conqueror, and completed within two years, and to this day survives almost in its original form.

The hall has seen many historic events, from the trial of King Charles 1st the coronation of James 11 and the lying in state of many notable people.

From there we were taken to the House of Lords the second chamber of the UK Parliament which works with the house of Commons, questioning Government and debating issues and policy. Three days before our visit the Queen had opened Parliament and when you see the house of Lords on TV it looks quite large, but we were all surprised at how small it was when we were standing there. (We could not sit down in either the Lords or Commons)

The tour guide was very informative about all the various rooms including the House of Commons, and gave us a good in site into the daily working of this magnificent building.

After a very good journey home we arrived back in Smisby at 10. 15p.m having had a wonderful day enjoyed by all.

Photograph supplied by Pat Barnes.


Smisby WI gratefully thanks the Parochial Charity for the grant which made this visit possible


Smisby Successes 

Smisby won the competition at the Harpur Crewe spring group meeting on 13th April. The theme was "a beach hut in any medium".  Angela Regan made the Smisby entry, which was a cushion embellished by machine embroidery and received the cup, as shown in the photos taken by Pat Barnes. Click to enlarge the photos.


Although the Deryshire County Show was cancelled in 2016 because of the waterlogged field at Elvaston castle, the Derbyshire Federation  still ran the WI competitions from their headquarters in Derby. The theme was Midsummers Night dream and Marie won the art competition with her painting, see picture


Read our updates in the Village Newsletter on this site


We are part of the Derbyshire Federation

DFWI Headquarters

“Derbyshire House”, Sherwin Street,

Derby, DE22 1GP

Telephone 01332 342596


Smisby WI visit to Elford Community Gardens June 2013