Wookey Hole WI was founded on Feb 12 th 1947 at an enrolment meeting in Wookey Hole Club, attended by 38 prospective members. .Numbers rose steadily until, in the mid 1950s there were 80 members, then declined, partly due to the withdrawal of the evening bus service to and from Wells. By 1985 there were less than twenty members, and the Institute nearly went into suspension, but numbers rose again, currently the membership stands at 25. The Institute also changed from evening to afternoon meetings. Over the years it has met in every available venue in the village, even having drama rehearsals in the church. Now meetings are held on the first Monday of every month, in Wookey Hole Community Hall.

Wookey Hole WI has always been enthusiastic about taking part in competitions and WI events. From the mid-70s to the mid-80s it competed with considerable success in the Village Hall classes at the Bath and West Show. It has written and performed short plays for WI drams evenings, and had a “commended” and a “highly commended award in the WI national Denman Cup writing competition. Members have represented the county in an Electricity Board quiz against teams from Devon and Cornwall. Wookey Hole did not win, but had added excitement when the coach they were travelling in began belching smoke and flames from its exhaust. The team were off-loaded into an accompanying car, while their supporters, after the coach had been inspected, limped belatedly to the quiz venue in Exeter. The Institute also provided one of the two Somerset representatives for the 2000 WI National Scrabble Championship, won the County Quiz, and has had several photographs included in the

The Institute continues to pursue the interests of members with a variety of speakers, and activities, which include the firm favourites of gardening, craft, cookery and quizzes, and the occasional walk. Filling the diary with sociability, laughter, tea and cake is a priority, as is our work in supporting the Associated Women of the World and the local food bank.

Elizabeth Rennie and Rose Docherty

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