President Judith Helliar gave a warm welcome to members and visitors to the meeting of Corsley WI on November 8 and introduced Phil Cary with his talk and slides about 150 years of Frome Show.
Mr Cary has long been a part of the Frome and District Agricultural Society, both his father and grandfather before him were chairmen of the show.
The society was founded in 1861 due to a rise in the number of dairy cows and the need to market the cheese and butter. The advent of the railway to the town helped exploit a growing nationwide demand for these products and the first Cheese Show took place in the autumn of 1861 in the Market Yard, when despite storms, up to 3,000 people attended and 25 tons of cheese were sold.
In 1875 a new market hall, now known as the Cheese and Grain, was built and land on the other side of the river from the Market Yard was turned into a show field every year.
A grandstand built there before the First World War was later taken down and rebuilt on the Fromefield show ground when the show moved there in 1920. It stood for more than 50 years before it burned down shortly after the 1972 show.
The Cheese and Grain had been used for munitions during the First World War and was not given back to the society.
In 1999, having outgrown the Fromefield site, the show moved to West Woodlands and now goes from strength to strength, with a new lake for country pursuits and a permanent Cheese Pavilion to showcase produce from all over the country.
During October members attended a meeting of the Weavers Group of WIs to hear an amusing account of health and beauty advice published in magazines of the 1950s and the Gardening Club enjoyed a visit to Westonbirt to see the autumn colours.
Anne Carruthers reported on the Wiltshire Federation Autumn Council Meeting at which one of the speakers had been Paul Mayhew-Archer, a scriptwriter of The Vicar of Dibley and other sitcoms. The competition for a china animal was won by Jean White, with Val Benbow second and Hilary Vallis third.
The next meeting is on January 10 at 2.30pm and open to visitors. There will be a talk with slides on Dairy Farming around the World by David Helliar.
To join the WI call Carol on 01373 832446 or attend the meeting in Corsley Reading Room.
A coffee morning will be held on Tuesday from 10am to noon at Corsley Reading Room.
For more information about the Gardening Club call Pauline on 01985 215760.
Bridge Club takes place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 2pm to 4pm at Corsley Reading Room. Beginners welcome.