The History of Hackney & De Beauvoir Town

We have a packed meeting coming up on 1st February. We are very excited to be welcoming Hackney Archives who will be giving an illustrated talk about the history of Hackney and De Beauvoir town, using some of the many books, documents, maps and photographs they hold at the Archives. We will learn about the grand plans for the area by William Rhodes and also how we might access the archives to follow our own interests in the history of our borough.

It’s resolution voting time so we will be voting on which of the resolutions put forward for 2019 we want to see adopted by the National Federation. Information about the resolutions is on pages 24 – 26 of the most recent issue of WI Life along with the voting form to cut out and bring which is on page 27. The resolutions are also on here on the website under the campaigns page.

If you didn’t make the January meeting, it’s time to renew your WI membership, subscription for the year is £41 which gives you access to all our monthly meetings and subgroups such as the book group, knitting group, walking group and all other De Beauvoir WI activities like our jam and preserving workshops and trips.

And we start our collections for Solace Women’s Aid in February with donations of pillow cases. These need to be new and will be given to the women as they leave the refuge to establish themselves in their new homes.




Decorate A Christmas Cake





From pretty in pink through the night before Christmas and all manner of festive fondant foliage inbetween, we rolled, crimped and decorated a whole host of Christmas cakes at our December meeting. Icing sugar flying while we indulged in a seasonal glass of wine and munched on mince pies, a wonderful array of completely individual cakes exited the building at the end of the night.

A huge thanks goes to our talented  member, Lynn Brooks for guiding us through the art of working with fondant.  Here are some pictures of just a handful of the creative concoctions that emerged throughout the meeting plus a lovely picture of Lynn showing us the ropes.


An additional thanks to all from our membership and our community who donated gift sets for the women at Solace Women’s Aid refuge –  see above for just a portion of all the gifts that were delivered to Solace …












Wise Birds Quiz Night

What a great night of general knowledge quizzing at our Wise Bird’s Quiz Night. Congratulations to the winning team the Purple Pansies who shot through in the last round and proved themselves to be the wisest birds in the room. We also put our heads together on the upcoming Plastic Soup resolution and came up with some great ideas for taking the campaign forward into next year.

Thanks to all the fabulous bakers who provided a feast of goodies and a huge thanks to Nichola and Victoria for all their hard work putting the quiz together. Who knew tube station emoji’s could be so elusive.

Yarnbombing around De Beauvoir

Yarnbombing in de Beauvoir, Valentines Day 2017

It started on Valentines day when De Beauvoir woke up to find the cycle path outside St. Peters had been yarnbombed. The bollards had a knitted cover and the newly planted trees either side where decorated with knitting and hearts. Anyone who saw it felt very loved.

Next up was International Women’s Day when the other end of Northchurch Road, on the junction of Southgate, was decorated with tiny pink pussy hats and the slogan of this year’s theme: ‘Be bold 4 Change’. No-one has yet owned up to being the mysterious knitter (or more likely knitters) and the secret is causing a stir. Local press coverage rang up our WI looking to solve the mystery of the Banksy style yarnbombers. Whoever they are – they can certainly knit! #debeauvoirk2p2

Happy Birthday DBWI

CakeOur AGM also marked our first birthday so we celebrated with wine and a fabulous cake by our very own superstar baker Sara Lawrence. We had lots of ‘business’ to attend to but the meeting was still well attended and what could have been very dry was actually a warm and chatty social evening. I’m not going to bore you with all the details but here are the bits you might want to know. We are solvent! Amanda is re-elected as our president and we have a new committee of ten.

As a group we discussed and voted in favour of the 2015 Annual Meeting resolution which Failing to care – assessment of need in long term care. The resolution is specifically about continuing care which is funded by the NHS and gives free long term care to people with complex and ongoing healthcare needs requiring full time care. It is about making it simpler for people to access this package and looking at the assessment criteria to make the process fairer. It opened up a much larger discussion about the state of social care in the UK and the combination of NHS and social care into one body.

We have decided to support a local charity and Sara and Jacquie have done a lot research – presenting us with various options over the last few meetings. We voted on Age UK (East London), Headway (East London), NIA, CARIS and Dalston Curve Garden –  details of all of them can be found on our campaigns page HERE. The winner was the women’s aid charity NIA.

Sara also drew our attention to two things we might like to get involved with on a personal level. Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week and there is A Pause/Mindfulness event at Dalston Curve Garden on 13th May (click here for details).

This is followed by Dementia Awareness week and the campaign to educate people about dementia through the Alzheimers Society becoming a dementia friend programme (click here for details).

Fun stuff
Jacqui James has organised for us to have a private view of local gardens who are part of the National Gardens Scheme on Monday evening, 1st June – (click here for details and to book).

There are a lots of local and london-wide events, competitions and  centenary celebrations listed on our Around de Beauvoir, Federation and NFWI pages. If you want to find out about afternoon tea in the Crypt, picnics in Hyde Park, open air theatre in Perivale and a literature festival in the beautiful Abney Cemetery please check out these pages.

Needle Felting
Next month’s meeting is a practical session where we will learn about needle felting – and have a go ourselves! See you then.

Hoxton Mini Press

The March meeting was most interesting, in two parts.

To begin, Jacquie Campbell gave us an important insight into the work of Target Ovarian Cancer, as this is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Vital for all women to watch for, the disease is known as the Silent Killer, as symptoms are so difficult to diagnose. You can read more about it HERE.

HMP After a short break (for Vinvixen wine from Julie and delicious nibbles by Avril & Sara), Martin Usborne told us about the Hoxton Mini Press and its work here in the East End of London.  Martin is a photographer, so all the books are beautifully illustrated. The principal work he discussed was based on the life of Joseph Markovitch, who had lived more that 86 years in Hackney, which was fascinating . In all his life Joseph left London only once, to go to the seaside with his mother; he loved Nicolas Cage, took five sugars in his tea, worked in a factory and dreamt of being a ballet dancer… This is the real EastEnders – the story of an individual life and a portrait of Hackney as it has evolved over almost nine decades.

Martin then went on to show us some more  Hoxton Mini Press titles: Mothers & Babies (less than 24 hours old); Silent Dogs in Cars and Vintage Glamour.   The last was a selection of wonderful photographs of Jewish weddings from the 1930’s.