LP WI has met for many years in Lower Peover Primary School on the first Wednesday of the month. A small friendly group, it welcomes new members to enjoy talks, demonstrations and outings.

For contact details please go to the website of the Cheshire Federation of Women’s Institutes.



The WI Movement was started in Canada in 1897 by Adelaide Hoodless. She became concerned at the death of many young children, including one of her own, from drinking unpasteurised milk, because mothers did not know of the danger of this. The object was to arrange meetings of groups of rural women, where they could discuss their problems and work together to improve the standards of their home-making and citizenship skills and give support and friendship to each other.

The first WI on this side of the Atlantic was Llanfair PG on Anglesey. The Cheshire Federation of Women’s Institutes was formed in 1920.

Allostock and Lower Peover Women’s Institute was formed in 1932, with members living in surrounding villages – Plumley was not formed until 1954 and Lach Dennis 1977. Many members came to meetings on their bicycles.

Meetings were held in Allostock School. This was not very convenient as there were only infants desks to sit at and the lights were oil lamps. Members were full of enthusiasm and energy and decided to start a building fund for a village hall - so they organised whist drives, jumble sales and concerts to raise money. They had several garden fetes at Free Green Farm and had a lot of fun but the building fund did not grow very much. Lady Dorothy Haworth was the President and she and Sir Geoffrey bought the old First World War Army Hut opposite Foxcovert in August 1939 from the Webb family and gave it to the WI as a meeting place. The members used the building fund to make the hut usable for meetings and turned to with a will to do the cleaning, decorating and repairs – with help from their husbands.

During the war the Hut was used for many purposes: there was a sewing party for the Red Cross once a week; it was used as a school annexe when there were evacuee children in the village; the young people used it for meetings; it was let for wedding receptions and land workers camped in it.

Like other WI’s all over the country, our biggest task was making jam for the Ministry of Food.

Under this excellent scheme, WI’s were allowed to buy all the sugar they could make use of, to turn fruit, which would have otherwise been wasted, into jam. We made jam for three seasons. We used blackberries which were gathered by the school children who were allowed time off for this job. With these we used windfall apples, which would otherwise have gone to waste. Also we had crab apples, damsons, elderberries, rowan berries, and plums. All the cooking was done on oil stoves. Every boiling had to be passed by an Inspector from the Ministry, who provided the recipes, and was sold to the grocer and became part of the ordinary jam ration. – surplus sugar had to be accounted for. In the best year Lower Peover WI made 1,449 lbs. of jam.

That is how we got our reputation as jam makers.

A baby clinic was held in the Hut once a month when a nurse came to weigh our babies and we could get supplies of orange juice and codliver oil. This was still operating in 1966.

In 1968 our meetings were moved to Lower Peover School because the hut needed a lot of repairs and we did not have the money, so it had to be sold.

In 1969 members were involved in many ways with the production of the Peover Saga, which celebrated the 700th anniversary of the church. We also took part in the celebrations in 2019 for the 750th anniversary. Members were also involved in the WI County production of the Brilliant and the Dark performed at Winsford. We had a drama group and enthusiastic members produced one act plays.

Over the years very successful Produce & Craft Shows were held as well as fashion shows, classes for yoga, keep fit, beauty culture and a wide range of crafts.

A WI cloth was embroidered in 1970 and our present one depicting the church, river and brambles was completed in 1994.

In 1974 we produced a map of field names in Lower Peover and this was presented to the school. The church also has a copy.

Members went to the Commonwealth Institute in London to see Tomorrow’s Heirlooms in 1975 and to Olympia for the Countrywomen’s Exhibition in 1982. More recently, we helped with the NFWI Craft Spectacular at Tatton in 2000.

Over the years many members have attended courses at the WI’s Denman College.

To mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the WI provided a Senior Citizens Jubilee Tea.

For over 40 years we have supported the Cheshire Show. Making cakes for refreshments, stewarding and entering the competitions, in which we have had considerable success, winning cups, rosettes and prize cards.

Several members have helped Dr. Davy at Oswestry Orthopeadic Hospital with his research into osteoporosis, and he still has our records for comparison.

Our darts team is thriving and have reached the final of the county darts competition on many occasions.

We have always supported WI County events and several members have served on the County Executive and Sub. Committees – two as Federation Chairman.

All the way through the Minutes there is reference to hot pot suppers, Christmas parties, Harvest Suppers, Garden Parties, Safari Suppers and Bar-b-q’s – we have had a lot of fun.

That our WI is still very much alive after almost 90 years is a tribute to our past members. Of course our way of life and interests have changed, but the WI is still a very important part of our village.

Edwina Oldham

March 2021