July and August 2013 WI meeting

What an enjoyable evening we had at the Summer Garden Party on August 13th. Many thanks must go to our committee members and Meg for the loan of her garden and the delicious two course meal they provided for us all. Luckily the weather stayed dry but we all kept warm in the marquee on the lawn.  Didn’t we all look lovely with every member wearing a corsage, some interesting combinations were pinned to shoulders and wrists and each table attempted a quiz. A lot of hard work went into this evening and everyone commented on how much they enjoyed our summer celebration.   We all thought the helpers looked good in their WI logo aprons!!

It seems quite a while since our July meeting which was another fascinating talk. This time our speaker was Chris Forester who gave a talk on the Mounted Police. Chris said it was the best job he could have had joining the Mounted Brigade in 1975 until 2000. He then gave us an insight on the history of this branch of the Police Force.  Their history began in 1760 when Sir John Fielding, the Bow Street magistrate, developed a plan for mounted patrols to deal with the plague of highwaymen infesting the metropolitan area’s turnpikes. The plan was so successful that the original Horse Patrol of 8 men was strengthened to more than 50 in 1805. The Bow Street Horse Patrol could then provide protection on all main roads within 20 miles of Charing Cross. Their scarlet waistcoats, blue greatcoats and trousers with black leather hats and stocks, were the first uniform issued to any police force in the world.

The modern day organisation of today’s Mounted Branch began in 1919 when Lt Col Laurie, the ex-Commanding officer of the Royal Scots Grey Regiment, took up the appointment of Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police. One of his responsibilities was to reorganize the Mounted Branch. It was at his instigation that a new Training Establishment was built at Imber Court in Thames Ditton. Imber Court today has facilities for the training of both horses and officers. It also houses a small museum documenting the development of Mounted Police and is the administrative centre for the Mounted Branch. It was here that the new Mounted Branch was to emerge, trained in riding and horse management with new crowd control tactics that still largely hold to this day. Police officers from all over the world have been trained here along with the regular intake of eager recruits. It was here in 1971 that WPCs Margaret Goodacre and Ann McPherson were to make history as the first women police officers to join the Mounted Branch. Now there are more women mounted Police Officers than men. Police officers and their horses from this branch are also very highly visible when engaged in controlling crowds at sporting events or public ceremonies. They are fulfilling a tradition of service which goes back to the eighteenth century – to the very roots of police work in London

Each member has been given £5 in the hope that they can increase this amount by November to help raise funds for our WI. Some interesting ideas came to mind and we shall wait and see what different people come up with. Various reports were given by members including the very successful visit to the Victorian School. Wiltshire Denman Weekend will be held next May and we are urged to support this wonderful college if we can. Look out for our new recipe book will be appearing on the local webpage in September.  Click on www.edingtonwiltshire.org.uk/wirecipes

Very good July and August meetings for our WI.