Women wanting to learn traditional skills without having an ironic or trendy twist, women wanting to meet people in their local area without having to speed-date them all, women who want to hang out without an emphasis on getting v. drunk... these are the women flocking to Women's Institutes across London, to the point where some groups are over subscribed and are turning away applicants.
Waiting lists are reaching 6 months for the WIs of Shoreditch, Islington and Wimbledon - areas that provide an interesting guide to the profile of WIs at this point in time. 60 women were turned away from the Islington group and there are 38 ladies in line for the Wimbledon lot. London is a big place, and WIs are offering safe, friendly, useful ways for women to connect. They offer good mixes of age and experience too so even for well established Londoners, there's still a lot to discover through this institution. Previously considered provincial and old fashioned, it seems there's a lot of appeal in WIs - and no, you don't have to take your clothes off though you may be misled in thinking that you do.
Making do and mending image by author