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Thornbury Women's Institute

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Next event

Tuesday 15th November 2016

7.30pm: Thornbury WI: Origami Christmas Decorations
Thornbury Methodist Church

in the Methodist Church Hall

Judith Laing joins us again for tips on decorations for Christmas.


More details >>

Click to see more events for Thornbury Women's Institute.

Thorn Birds

Get In Touch

The WI is looking for new members and promises to provide all kinds of opportunities for all kinds of women.

Anyone interested in joining the WI can contact the following members for more information:

Sue Horsfall (President) Tel: 01454 885043 or email:

Sue Newton (Secretary) Tel: 01454 625268 or 07966 789735, or email:

We welcome guests and meet at The Methodist Church Hall at 7.30 on the third Tuesday of every month, so please come and join us.

Our Latest Meeting

Thorn Birds

At our July meeting, Our President, Sue Horsfall introduced the speaker, Barry Edwards on the early history of Penquin Books, from 1935 to 1960. He started being interested in and collecting Penquin books about 15 years ago. Alan Lane, who was a Bristol man came from a publishing family and started Penquin Books in 1935 originally as a means of restoring the family fortunes.

One day after visiting Agatha Christie his aim was to publish 20,000 copies of the first ten titles as he believed there were a large number of intelligent people needing high quality books at low prices. In those days a hard back book cost seven shillings and many large publishing companies felt very threatened when he produced his books in 1935 for only six pennies.

He colour coded his books using six different colours and in the first 12 months he sold three million books. The impact was phenomenal and nobody followed suit until The Pan Books arrived in 1944. Already displaying his books on railway stations he struck a deal with Woolworths who agreed to carry his books in their stores.

After the war with rationing supplies of paper etc being hard to come by the books were not so well made so he set up printing works overseas, some being printed in Egypt. For collectors of Penquin Books the hardest to find are those produced between 1940 and 1942 as being so poorly made they often disintegrated.

The most famous, or infamous book published of course, was Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence. The shocked reaction at the time and subsequent Court Case produced very welcome free publicity. Penquin won the case eventually of course, and when it was published it sold 3.3 million copies in less than a year.

Today there are about 300 people in the Penquin Book Collectors Club so if anyone has a copy of a Penquin Book published between 1940 and 1942 please take very good care of it, as it could be worth quite a bit of money.

After the meeting, members enjoyed drinks and snacks. Sue reminded members there would be no meeting in August but a walk has been organized around Filnore Woods. The supper club met on 26th July at The Park Hotel, Falfield.

Our next meeting will be held on 20th September at The Methodist Church Hall at 7.30pm. We are a very friendly group, and always welcome new members.

Who We Are

Women's Institute logo

Thornbury WI was re-formed in 2010, since then the “Thorn Birds” have evolved into a friendly sociable group of women of all ages.

We like to try new activities and listen to a variety of speakers, we enjoy meeting new friends, and having fun.

Meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month (apart from August) from 7.30–9.30pm at Thornbury Methodist Hall - see below for this year's programme.

Guests are always welcome. Annual membership costs £34.70.

Thornbury WI also offers extra social and educational events throughout the year and the opportunity to support and be involved in local and community events.

Other activities include:

  • Supper Club - meeting about every two months
  • Skittles Team
  • Darts Team
  • Avon Federation events that are of interest

Find Out More

Visit the Thornbirds website for local information, and for more information about the Women's Institute nationally, click here to visit www.thewi.org.uk

Check out our Twitter feed for our latest news: www.twitter.com/thornburywi

To read about the Avon Federation of Women's Institutes, see click here to visit www.avonfwi.org.uk

Forthcoming events

Tuesday 15th November 2016

Tuesday 13th December 2016

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