Home of Britain’s first WI, Llanfairpwll

Home of Britain’s first WI, Llanfairpwll

The hall attached to the former Llanfairpwll toll house is the home of Britain’s inaugural branch of the Women’s Institute, which held its first meeting on 16 September 1915.

The WI was founded in Canada in 1897. Madge Watt, who had worked at WI headquarters, moved to London in 1913. Two years later she was invited to Bangor to address the Agricultural Organisation Society on the important subject of wartime food production. In Bangor she met the society’s regional chairman, Col Stapleton-Cotton, who lived in Llanfairpwll. He organised a meeting at his home where local women resolved to form a WI branch, which would meet monthly for meetings of “an educational and social character”.

Initially food production was the main topic. There was no shortage of university academics from Bangor who could give relevant talks. Meetings were held in a private house while the WI hall was under construction.

The government stimulated formation of many other WI branches during the First World War. There were 199 branches in Wales and England by the end of 1918. Today the WI covers a broad range of interests and is Britain’s largest voluntary women’s organisation.

The WI hall in Llanfairpwll is also headquarters of the Anglesey Federation of WIs. The hall and adjacent toll house contain displays of historical material and are open to the public at certain times – follow the link below for details.

Postcode: LL61 5SX    View Location Map

Website of the Anglesey Federation of WIs