Lesbury WI, March meeting

A lovely show of daffodils in Lesbury
A lovely show of daffodils in Lesbury

Trip to memory lane

On yet another cold and miserable March evening, the president of Lesbury WI welcomed the speaker and noisy ladies of Lesbury to the meeting. She particularly welcomed Louise for her second visit – thankfully not having been put off by her first, a rather messy pottery painting session.

Once order had been restored, we kept a minute’s silence in memory of Val Brooks, our former president, friend and valued member of the WI.

Once the usual business matters were out of the way, members were bombarded with opportunities for outings – open garden days, Alnwick spring show, theatre visits, and the exhibition at Bailiffgate Museum, Do I Look Good In This? One of our members has her 50-year-old wedding dress on display there. Like many members, she would admit to having difficulty fitting into the 22ins waist 50 years on.

Two proposals for our summer outing, to exhibitions at either Bowes Museum or Holyrood Palace, were met with enthusiasm, so much so that there were shouts of “I’d like to do both.” I can feel an organisational headache approaching.

Finally, our speaker John Yearnshire introduced us to his pictorial presentation, entitled The Lesbury Township.

He began by urging us all to keep a record of our memories so they would be a useful source of research for future historians.

For many of our members it was a trip down memory lane, with many recognising faces from the old photographs, houses and cottages, and remembering who lived there in times gone by.

We learned that it might be a lovely place to live, but its name means fortified house of the leech – not so lovely.

Of the 24 listed buildings, the old bridge is grade 1, though it has seen its share of tragedy. Other listed buildings, such as the post office and pub, have had their share of scandals down the years.

Famous people have also left their mark, Robert Stephenson, who built the 18 arches, to mention one.

Although we recognised many buildings, Lesbury has come a long way over the centuries. Most of the cottages then were inhabited by workers on the land, and almost everyone had a pig.

John was inundated with questions and many purchased his book, which shows how informative and entertaining his talk was.

The evening ended with birthday flowers, raffle prizes and a collection of our pottery pieces from last month. Lesbury WI is not quite ready to go into the pottery painting business just yet.