WI Markets are one hundred years old today. They are now called Country Markets.
On the 14th December, 1919. the first WI Market was set up in Lewes in East Sussex. At first it sold produce grown and made by members of local Women’s Institute branches, and then went on to allow small holders and ex-service men to participate.
At today’s Country Market in Abingdon there were lots of home baked produce including some very good mince pies. There were also jams and chutneys, and crafts.
I was told the first WI Market in Abingdon was 75 years ago. The market was held for a long time in St Nicolas Church hall, a building that used to stand behind St Nicolas Church. It was demolished when Abbey House was built and Abbey Close rerouted. The market then moved to the Roysse Room until 2014. Since then it joined in with the Farmer’s Market, and spent some time in the Charter Centre. It still takes part in Local Excellence Markets.
The Country Market now takes place every 2nd Saturday at the Salvation Army Church in Abingdon. There were reminders on tables that Christmas would not be Christmas without the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army came to Abingdon in 1887. I hope to bring more news about the Salvation Army and their new Captain early next year.