b'Bishop Wilton with BoltonLocal History Bulletin 16 -21 November 2007The Early Days of the Bishop Wilton W.I.The WI information and photographs that follow draw on material that was in the care of the late Lorna Sleightholme as supplied by her daughter and son, Liz Jones and John Sleightholme.T he Bishop Wilton WI was formed in 1919 with Lady Irwin as its first President. Lady Dorothy Onslow married Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, in 1909 to become Lady Dorothy Wood (and later Lady Irwin and then Lady Halifax).A press cutting dated June 1956, from an unidentified newspaper, gives an account of the early days of the Bishop Wilton WI under the heading The welcome is warm and friendly:There is something very snug and welcoming about Bishop Wilton Womens Institute. It is not only the cosy schoolroom, warmed by a huge iron stove and perched on top of the hill above the village; it is the friendly, informal atmosphere between the members.Bishop Wilton is one of the oldest institutes. It was founded in 1919 by Lady Halifax, who after hearing a talk on Womens Institutes in London, determined to begin one in the village.One of the founder members, Mrs A. T. Longhorn, who has in the past been president for many years and also chairman of the group, said: There was very few people in the beginning. In order to make a committee, Lady Halifaxs housekeeper made the number up.We could hardly keep the opening hymn, Jerusalem, going, there were so few voices, she continued. But in a very short time the institute grew and reached 80 members at one time.First Meeting Edward, 1st Earl of Halifax with Lady Dorothy Wood c1909.The first meeting was held in the schoolroom and every meeting has been held there since. The instituteher illness. The secretary is Mrs M. Rivis, and the is not a wealthy one materially, though it is rich intreasurer, Mrs Robert Sleightholme.other things. The institute used to put on a concert every year. It The present president is considerably youngerwas so popular that after they had given three shows than the institute. Mrs G. H. Sleightholme, as vicein their own village, they were asked to tour round president, took over from Mrs Longhorn duringother villages in the district. Now, after a lapse of a 290 BULLETIN 16'