I hope non-members, including the male readers of this review, will take time to read Diana Beamish's comprehensive account of the history of Eynsford Women's Institute. There surely can be few other organisations that have done so much to try and improve the life of their community, in a practical, worthwhile way. Not only their own community but wherever troubles occur in distant places, the Institute cares and offers support, both practical and financial. Diana carefully recounts, from 1919, the very wide range of interests of Institute members. The background, changing times of 75 years of world history, is also reflected in the activities. The second World War is a great example of national efforts. The Jam Making Scheme was an important activity, supported by the then Ministry of Food and, in 1940, the Eynsford Institute made 553lbs of jam. At the time this effort won high praise but unfortunately remains to haunt the organisation. From the earliest days the Institute has raised money for a variety of charities and supported recycling schemes, as well as national social reforms. Ladies from well known families are recorded and still remembered in the village - Lady Emily Dyke (the first President), Mrs. Barber, Mrs. Penwarden, Mrs. Banger and many more. The events, people and activities are numerous and Diana has skilfully woven them all into a very readable account of an organisation that preservers, despite changes and variable regard by the ill-informed. Eynsford Women's Institute is proud of its long history and Diana has shown why. This is yet another Local History Society publication that is essential reading for all who live in Eynsford.
Review reprinted from The Trident magazine.