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Friday, 28 February 2014

February: Campaigns and a tour


A reminder! Yes from next month the main meeting is on the third Wednesday but back in the Upper Vestry where we belong.

Another change for March is that we are trialing a new venue for the Craft Club, this will be in the Atlantis Book Shop on Museum Street. We will be asking for a small donation to help cover the room hire charge though we will be getting tea, a proper table and... Light!

Next we have two dates for your diary:

Ruth and her choir will be performing at St Clement Danes on Strand at 7:30pm on the 1st of March.

For those of you who have already asked for tickets for the Vikings community preview remember that our tickets are timed for 3:40pm on Sunday the 2nd of March, the plan is that we meet at the foot of the stairs to the reading room at around 3:20pm.

And finally... it's subs time, don't forget to pay!


Jenny introduced Marylyn Haines Evans, Chair of the National Federation of Women's Institutes Public Affairs Committee. Crikey, quite a title! She'd certainly travelled a long way from her home WI in Wales and was warmly welcomed. She'd also brought along Rachel Barber who is the NFWI Head of Public Affairs.

Marylyn Haines Evans
Marilyn opened by regaling her WI history which truly showed how important the organisation is to her and her family. Moving on we had a comprehensive explanation of how campaigns are chosen, the time scales and how campaigns never leave the books, so to speak. Of particular interest was a summary of some notable past campaigns, including her joking that we'd pre-dated Jamie Oliver by campaigning for better school meals in 1926.

The key message seemed to be that the WI is seen as a "big hitter" when it comes to campaigns and that real change has been achieved over the years. In short, the WI makes a difference.

St George's church talk and mini-tour

A man in his element
Pam introduced Frank Macey who would be imparting his knowledge as St George's top tour guide, he rather self deprecatingly pointed out he was also their only tour guide...

Pam's assertion as it turned out proved correct!

Frank opened with the story of how the church came about, its foundation being set around 1711 in the New Churches in London and Westminster Act 1710, also known as fifty new churches or Queen Anne's Churches. As it turned out the fifty were never built and St George's was the last of only 12 that came to fruition. Of the twelve there were six designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, sadly whilst the man was a fabulous architect - a former assistant and protégé of Wren - he wasn't so good when it came to finance so the costs rather overran. It was the description of Hawksmoor's experience that gave a clear insight to his extraordinary architectural lineage.

Hawksmoor windows.
Over the years the church has changed with the Victorian's making significant changes to the original design. They changed around the internal layout of the building as well as replacing the simple and plain glazing with stained glass by Clayton & Bell. Sadly though the church began to fall into disrepair and needed significant work. Fortunately the World Monuments Fund, along with Paul Mellon, stepped in to make sure that the work happened. During the renovations the building was changed back to the original layout, many of the windows were returned to how Hawksmoor envisaged them and the structural issues were resolved.

Frank certainly knows his subject, his enthusiasm and knowledge is both engaging and impressive. I for one will be making time in the summer months to actually go on one of his official tours. Can't wait!

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