Charlton pub to be re-listed to mark Women’s Institute centenary

Members of the WI  outside the Fox Goes Free in Charlton, to pass the baton to the Hampshire WI branch earlier this year. From front centre left to right: June Moran, chairman of the West Sussex WI Federation, the Duchess of Richmond, and Brenda Fletcher, chairman of the Hampshire Federation PICTURE BY KATE SHEMILT C141545-2
Members of the WI outside the Fox Goes Free in Charlton, to pass the baton to the Hampshire WI branch earlier this year. From front centre left to right: June Moran, chairman of the West Sussex WI Federation, the Duchess of Richmond, and Brenda Fletcher, chairman of the Hampshire Federation PICTURE BY KATE SHEMILT C141545-2

A Charlton pub which was the first home of the Women’s Institute is to be relisted on the National Heritage List for England.

The Fox Goes Free pub in Charlton, near Chichester, is among four buildings with links to the Women’s Institute which are to be recognised to mark the organisation’s centenary.

The Fox Goes Free pub at Charlton, the cradle of the Women's Institute

The Fox Goes Free pub at Charlton, the cradle of the Women's Institute

The pub was the home of the WI’s first chairman and the first WI meeting was held there exactly 100 years ago.

It is to be relisted on the National Heritage List for England and the listings will now mention the WI.

On November 9, 1915, the first meeting of the institute in England took place in the backroom of the Fox Inn.

The pub, near Goodwood, is now called the Fox Goes Free and the room where the meeting was held is known as the Hat Rack Bar.

The Fox innkeeper at the time, a Mrs Laishley, was a founder member of the Women’s Institute.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Culture, Media and Sport Minister, said: “Since their first meeting in England in 1915, the WI has become a much-loved British institution.

“I am very pleased to relist these special places and preserve the historic significance of this extraordinary social movement.”

Esther Godfrey, listing adviser at Historic England, added: “These four buildings tell the story of the formation and development of the WI in England from a small meeting in the back room of a pub to a thriving national institution.”

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