Early in 1987 an advert appeared in the Dalkeith Advertiser, inviting ladies to meet who might be interested in forming a new group to be started in Dalkeith, under the auspices of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes (SWRI).
This meeting was held in St Nicholas Church Hall and about 20 or so ladies attended.
The meeting was chaired by the then president of Midlothian Federation.
This Federation is one of many throughout Scotland.
The SWRI started in Scotland in the early 1900s mainly to bring country women together to share common interests, and to give them more freedom from their everyday (usually hardworking) lives.
In England the Women’s Institute is known as the ‘WI’ but in Scotland each Institute is referred to as ‘The Rural’.
In modern times, as the towns and cities spread their environs, Rurals were formed in different districts within each town.
Although many Rurals were held in neighbouring districts, somehow Dalkeith had never managed to be involved until 1987.
Meetings are held in the Welfare Hall, where each month women gather to share their expertise in what used to be mainly cooking/baking or handcraft, but now includes all modern interests in women’s lives.
Read full story in the May 31 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.