Many of the Women’s Institute photographs we published in our newspapers were of smartly-dressed ladies at their regular meetings.

Picture 1 shows that that rule was occasionally broken – members at Eynsham, near Witney, showed plenty of leg!

As the Oxford Mail reported, they were “determined to bury once and for all the jam and wine-making image some people have of their organisation”.

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They were staging what was described as a colourful concert at Bartholomew School in the village in 1971.

In Picture 2, we see 91-year-old Helen West, oldest WI member at Steventon, near Abingdon, planting a walnut tree in the village in 1999 as she and fellow members marked their 75th anniversary.

Oxford Mail: An Easter bonnet competition in Picture 3 was the highlight of Headington WI’s 54th birthday celebrations in 1972.

Mrs M Standen, centre, the winner, is seen at Church House in New High Street with fellow contestant Mrs V Philip and president Mrs M Liberty.

Entertainment, with sketches and singing, was given by Weston-on-the Green WI and a birthday tea was provided by members.

Kennington WI marked its 50th anniversary in 1975 with a golden jubilee dinner.

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The special card in Picture 4 was made by the three members from the left, Mrs E Cox, Mrs J Acott and Mrs D Baskerville. They are seen showing it to Mrs M Poole, right, and president Mrs S Belcher.

Members also marked the occasion by cutting a special cake made and iced by Mary Hardy.

The president of Stanton St John WI, Mrs M Shearer, right in Picture 5, is seen addressing members in 1966 while in Picture 6, we see one of the stalls at a sale organised by Thame WI in 1965.

Oxford Mail: A Grade II listed Georgian building which served as an adult education college for over 70 years may be converted into a residential site.

Denman College in Marcham, near Abingdon, the former home of the WI in Oxfordshire, is the subject of a planning application put forward by the family who own the site, which would see the college converted to a single-family house.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.