West Sussex Federation of Women's Institutes


Mid-tide at Bosham, photographed by Mrs D. Matthews, Chidham Women's Institute

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Starting in the late 1970s or early 1980s the Federation vied with its East Sussex counterpart in publishing a series of calendars. Members were invited to submit colour photographs of the county to illustrate the calendars, which were printed for a period of at least five years by Judges of Hastings. The illustrations took the form of detachable postcards. Other cards seem to have been printed separately from the calendars.

The WI cards provide a nostalgic and affectionate portrait of the county at a time of great change. The majority of the photographers tactfully chose to leave unrecorded the damaging impact of increasing urbanisation, dense motor traffic and modern farming practices on the countryside, emphasising instead the great variety of attractive places that could still be visited. A card of the uncompromisingly modern (and some would say tasteless) New Bridge at Stopham, which opened in 1986, could easily have provided an exception, but the photographer, Mrs Newberry of Southwater Weald Women's Institute, decided to portray the bridge dappled with shadows in the fading light of a summer's evening, when it best harmonises with its peaceful surroundings.

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