Ladies celebrate a major milestone

NBENLM110712C1 - Belper ladies club 80th anniversary celebrations. members of the group
NBENLM110712C1 - Belper ladies club 80th anniversary celebrations. members of the group

SCANNING the old minutes books of the Belper Ladies Group, it’s clear the organisation was a popular invention.

Formed on June 11, 1931, the group’s first meeting was attended by more than 100 women!

NBENLM110712C2 - Belper ladies club 80th anniversary celebrations. secretery Janet Scarborough with some of the old minutes books

NBENLM110712C2 - Belper ladies club 80th anniversary celebrations. secretery Janet Scarborough with some of the old minutes books

Now, 80 years later, there may be fewer members, but the organisation is still going strong.

To mark its milestone birthday, 25 of the group’s 30 members held a splendid afternoon tea at its headquarters at the Masonic Rooms, Campbell Street, Belper.

Group secretary Janet Scarborough said: “We have got some making up to do on the member numbers!

“But people have busy lives these days. Back then it was different.

NBENLM110712C5 - Belper ladies club 80th anniversary celebrations. some of the old minutes books

NBENLM110712C5 - Belper ladies club 80th anniversary celebrations. some of the old minutes books

“We are a nice little club and it is a nice social gathering.”

Back in 1931 the group was known as the Belper Townswomen’s Guild, and its primary objective was to ‘teach homecraft, handicraft and citizenship’.

The records show that a varied and interesting programme was organised on a monthly basis. The itinerary included demonstrations on glove-making, rug-making and home cooking.

The group also enjoyed visits from guest speakers. One regular visitor was the matron of Belper’s Babington Hospital, who told the ladies about health matters and childcare.

Minutes also show how the women were asked to contribute to the war effort during World War Two by knitting socks, scarves, mittens, gloves and blankets.

Today, under the new name, instead of knitting, members enjoy demonstrations, guest speakers, outings, lunches and afternoon teas.

Janet said: “We consider ourselves to be the perfect rendezvous for meeting and making new friends.”

The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month, except in May and August, at 2pm in the Masonic Rooms. It is open to women of all ages. For more details ring Janet on 01332 841853.