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History of Ash and Ridley from Earliest Records to 1957
Compiled by Dorothy G. Meager on behalf of Ash and Ridley Women's Institute           Page 83

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Women's Institute 

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The Women’s Institute movement is based on the spiritual ideals of fellowship, truth, tolerance and justice. All countrywomen are eligible for membership, no matter what their views on religion or politics may be. The movement is non-sectarian and non-party political.
   The main purpose of the Institute is to improve and develop conditions of rural life by providing a centre for educational and social intercourse and activities.
   A Women’s Institute was first formed in Ash by the effort of Miss Wright, then the schoolmistress. It was formed by Miss Adams, of the West Kent Executive Committee on October 31st 1919 when the rules were signed, and it was placed in Rochester District. The Officers appointed were as follows:-
      President – Miss Wright, School House, Ash
      Treasurer – Mrs Patterson, Manor House, Ash
      Secretary – Mrs George Day, North Ash Farm
   In 1922 it was transferred to the Wrotham District. In 1924 the Institute closed down, but was reformed in December 1933 by Miss Gurney Fox of the West Kent Executive, and was placed in the Swanley District, the Officers being:-
      President – Mrs Foa, Holywell Park
      Treasurer – Miss Poole, ‘Home Cot’, Hartley
      Secretary – Mrs Ralph, ‘Violet Cottage’, Hodsoll Street.
   The first meeting was held on January 11th 1934 and 34 members were present. By the end of the year the membership had risen to 53. Several either dropped out or left the neighbourhood and by 1939 the membership had dropped to 35. Then it gradually rose, and in 1957 there are again over 50 members. There is only one founder member left and she is Mrs Storer , ‘Hazlewood’, Billet Hill, Ash.

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