Please read Keeping of Records to see how long to keep your WI records. If you have any queries about your WI archives or would like to visit the Essex Records Office to view the FEWI archives, please contact WI Centre.
Why did I volunteer to join the Archive Team?
It started with an advert and because I was interested in volunteering for something that I could give enough time to, I decided it worked for me and decided to give it a go.
I have always enjoyed history and an archivist spends their time helping to ensure the history we have made in the WI is protected, so future members and the general public, will be able to access to our history. I also thought it was a way to learn more about the WIs who are currently passing into history and to give something back to the WI.
Additionally, it also means I get to meet more members and pick up ideas from other Essex WIs.
Southend Sisters WI
There was a short item in Essex News in early 2019 about help needed to sort through papers that had been sent to FEWI and to keep FEWI’s records up to date. I was intrigued by this and after a phone call I went to see what could be involved and so I joined the FEWI archive team in March 2019. The timing was good as I retired from work around the same time.
I had met Liz Buxton, the Federation archivist, several years previously when I had taken the early Committee Meeting and Monthly Meeting Minute Books of our WI to her so they could be forwarded to The Essex Record Office for safe keeping. These books were becoming rather battered and our Committee was concerned about their safety. I spent an interesting hour with her talking about archiving. So, when the Essex News item appeared I had a little idea as to what might be involved.
I have always been interested in history and have become very interested in keeping and preserving documents. I think that it is amazing that paper can survive for decades or hundreds of years and what treasures it can reveal. I went to an exhibition at The British Library last year and saw papers written by Elizabeth 1. I know that Essex WI Minute Books may not seem quite as exciting, but they are a record of life in recent history and should be preserved.
I enjoy our days when we meet and there is always a good feeling of achievement when a task is completed, and papers are ready to send to The Essex Record Office in Chelmsford.