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 walks and craft sessions are also organised.


Subsidised Subscription 2016 is £36 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


Pie making visit

On the 13th of September 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 WI Annual Report 2015/16

 It seems such a long time ago since we were celebrating our 80th Birthday, on the 24th of January, at the Mill Wheel Restaurant Hartshorne with guests Chrissie Booth, County Chair, Christine Gardner archivist for the county plus Presidents from Ticknall, Melbourne, Staunton Harold, and Woodville and of course the members of Smisby WI. After a superb meal Jane Robinson author of “A Force to be Reckoned with” gave us a potted history of the WI from when it first started why and by whom, and then it’s first meeting in Anglesey, Jane was a very enjoyable and knowledgeable speaker which helped to make the day so very special. Of course we could not let this day end without a memento of the occasion everyone was given a coaster with the WI logo on it, also a book detailing the history of Smisby village, world events and how Smisby WI was first formed 80 years ago to the present day. Marie with the help of Barbara, Jean, and Sue did a wonderful job of collating and putting together this book full of local history, and pictures, a wonderful reminder of the day. Thanks must also go to the Sheila who made the beautiful Celebration Birthday Cake. At a suggestion from Dorothy we also have a superb plaque put up outside the   hall advertising Smisby WI.

Now to events we have had over the past eighteen months, as you are aware we have changed our AGM to coincide with the Resolutions meeting so it does mean that I have rather a lot of reminiscing.

To help celebrate 100 years of the formation of the WI organisation, two of our members Adrienne and Jean attend the Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in June, they had a wonderful time even though it was very windy on the day but the lovely sandwiches and cakes plus seeing the royal party made it a very special day for them both.

Barbara, Gill and Suzanne went to the AGM held at the Royal Albert Hall, it was such a memorable occasion, the Queen, Princess Royal, and the Countess of Wessex joined the NFWI committee on stage to open proceeding. After a short speech given by Her Majesty and receiving the Centenary Baton, she left the stage to cut a cake especially made for the occasion.

It was our turn to host the Harpur Crewe church service in 2014, a great night of carols readings and poems ware enjoyed by 63 people from other institutes with the evening finishing with mince pies and Pat’s now famous mulled wine.

Two Christmas lunches; 2014 at the Tap House; and with Sybil organizing lunch at Willesley golf course in 2015. Both were very well supported and enjoyable.

We have attended three group meeting, Gareth King talking about a Victorian

Gentleman’s wardrobe, Black Pig Morris Dancers, and a talk given by the RNLI

Members have participated in Archery at Derby University, sailing on Carsington Reservoir, and visited to Crown Derby.

An away day to Denman College in Oxfordshire, and a fantastic visit to Hampton Court. We Celebrated the 100th anniversary of the NFWI at Ticknall with the Harpur Crewe Group on the 16th of September. A coffee morning at Pat’s and tours of Smisby Church combined with a cheese and wine supper. Bacon Butties at the village hall combined with a tour of the church for visiting WI’s to help raise money for the church roof fund. A Murder Mystery evening with Inspector Ivor Notion, and a cookery and flower demonstration at Ashbourne.

Several of you have learnt how to play canasta, and we also paid a visit to the golf range at Coalville.

This is all in conjunction with our monthly meeting which have provided us with a wide range of excellent speakers Tai Chi, Behind the scenes at Birmingham Airport, a Forensic Scientist, and Farm House Cookery, to name but a few.

We have also had superb attendances at the monthly craft mornings, we have been to a Patchwork exhibition, and to a button making factory combined with a visit to the jewellery quarter in Birmingham. We have learnt many new crafts which have been either taught by visiting tutors or our own very talented members. We have given a £100 Bursary this year and the lucky winner was Marie, we look forward to her teaching us the new craft that she has learnt.

The monthly walking group is also very well supported, with walks in

Bradgate Park, Sutton Park, and Foremark as well as many other lovely walks

lead by very willing volunteers.

The membership is now 54 which includes 9 dual members and 5 new members who have joined over the past 18 months, and our average monthly attendance is 34.

Finally, it is only with the help and support of the Committee and you the members that Smisby WI is going from strength to strength and hopefully many of you have made new friends along the way.

This coming year will bring us new challenges to make Smisby WI the best it can be at inspiring you our members.


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