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1990s

1990

The WI celebrated its 75th anniversary and the AGM was addressed by HM The Queen.

The Queen addresses the AGM
The Queen addresses the AGM

The WI organised a joint choir festival, the finals of which took place at St John's Smith Square, London.

Choir Festival at St Johns Smith Square
Choir Festival at St Johns Smith Square

The NFWI became a charitable company limited by guarantee and moved its headquarters to Fulham.

Removal from 39 Eccleston St to the new headquarters in Fulham   The New NFWI headquarters in Fulham
Removal from 39 Eccleston St to the new headquarters in Fulham


There was a national art exhibition at Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire. The WI ran a Citizen of the 90s competition and the Princess of Wales presented the prize.

The Federation of Wales organised an exhibition about the history of the WI at the Welsh Folk Museum, St Fagans, Cardiff.

1991

The First Triennial General Meeting took place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. Susan Stockley was elected National Chairman, Anne Ballard retired as General Secretary and Heather Mayall was appointed

TGM in Birmingham
TGM in Birmingham

1992

Focus on Europe and Autumn at Denman festivals were held at Denman College. The NFWI/RLSS Life Support Project won a gold award in the Royal Anniversary Challenge. The London Federation was disbanded.

Focus on Europe festival   Autumn at Denman festival


1993

The Beech and Willow cottages were opened at Denman College by Lady Anglesey and Lady Brunner. The NFWI/NFU Caring in the Countryside conference took place. The NFWI became a founder member of the Fair Trade Foundation.

Lady Brunner opened Beech Cottage at Denman College
Lady Brunner opened Beech Cottage at Denman College

WI Driver of the Year competition
WI Driver of the Year competition 

1994

Elizabeth Southey was elected National Chairman and Rhiannon Bevan became General Secretary. The Caring for Rural Carers survey was published. There were 8,496 WIs.

Elizabeth Southey with past national Chairs at Denman College
Elizabeth Southey with past national Chairs at Denman College

1995

Jana Osborne became General Secretary and the Denman Fanfare was performed at Denman College. Lyndsay Hacket Pain was elected World President of the ACWW.

Lyndsay Hacket Pain
Lyndsay Hacket Pain
  Jana Osborne - General Secretary
Jana Osborne


WI Country Markets Ltd legally separated from NFWI and the WI science network was launched at the British Association Festival of Science.

1996

Eileen Meadmore National Chairman at IGM   

Eileen Meadmore was elected National Chairman and the first national annual meeting was held in Cardiff. The 'Best Foot Forward' campaign won a Health Alliance Award and the NFWI carried out a survey on Women and Pensions. The Local Agenda 21 course began at Denman, supported by the Countryside Commission.


1997

The WI celebrated a centenary; 100 years since the first WI in the world was opened at Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada.
Two new cottages, Maple and Oak, were opened at Denman College. The NFWI travelling tutors scheme received lottery funding and the NFWI launched a mathematics network.

Maple and Oak, cottages at Denman College
Maple and Oak, cottages at Denman College

WI centenary medal at the Royal Mint, with (left to right): Beryl Brown; Jana Osborne General Secretary; Eileen Meadmore, Chair; Mary Milner Dickins, the designer of the medal; Mary Thomas
WI centenary medal at the Royal Mint, with (left to right): Beryl Brown; Jana Osborne General Secretary; Eileen Meadmore, Chair; Mary Milner Dickins, the designer of the medal; Mary Thomas

Beryl Brown and Eileen Meadmore at Buckingham Palace on their way to present a WI centenary medal to The Queen

1998

This year saw the Golden Jubilee of Denman College celebrated by representatives of the federations at a special lunch. The NFWI project, Pathway to the 21st Century: Celebrating our Communities, was launched. 450 members attended The Royal Institution for special presentation, Great Scientists of the Royal Institution, by Professor Richard Catlow, Wolfson professor of Chemistry.

The NFWI project, Pathway to the 21st Century: Celebrating our Communities  

Professor Wolfson giving the Royal Institution lecture
Professor Wolfson giving the Royal Institution lecture

1999

Helen Carey was elected National Chairman and the Changing Villages survey was published. A Women in Farming conference was held jointly with the National Farmers Union and an address was given by HRH The Princess Royal. Delegates at the Annual Meeting voiced concern about genetically modified food and the Women in Europe conference was addressed by Glenys Kinnock MEP