Tidball, Gertie (b.1926)

Gertie Tidball was born in Mark and has lived there all her life. Mrs Tidball left school in 1940 and worked with one of the three village bakeries. She volunteered at Puriton Munitions Factory during the war, and after the war Gertie worked in a factory laundry in their shops for ten years.  She married in 1955 and worked in Mark Village Stores until her retirement in 1985.


Gertie Tidball joined the Women’s Institute in 1940; Gertie was a keen member of the W.I., holding the position of secretary in 1955.

Speech being given to W.I. members in the 1920s by the Lord of Bath. The Women’s Institute had been an important feature of life in Somerset villages since its inception in 1915. Speech being given to W.I. members in the 1920s by the Lord of Bath. The Women’s Institute had been an important feature of life in Somerset villages since its inception in 1915.
Sound File
Listen to Gertie Tidball - 1.75MB Duration 3:48 min.

AH: Do you know who started it?


GT: Yes.  I can tell you this because I’ve got some, well, we did a pageant to celebrate sixty years of W.I. in Mark.  That was in 1988 and we’ve now just recently celebrated sixty-five years of W.I. in Mark.  So when we had the Diamond Jubilee we did a pageant with pictorial highlights covering all the years from when it started.  Um, it started in 1928 and it was started by Miss Rice who was a school-teacher.  She was President from... until 1941, um, then Mrs Isgar took over till 1944.


In 1945 Mrs Holden was the vicar’s wife and that’s the one that I joined with, um, well then... there’s a list of Presidents here going right up until the present day.  So, um, it tells you here.  I don’t know if this is what you’d like to know, is how they came to start the W.I.  It was started in someone’s house by three people getting round a table and deciding that it would be a very nice thing to have in Mark, the W.I., and so they, they got it started, and there was a lady came from Glastonbury, I think she came, to tell them exactly what would happen.


AH: Don’t worry about it ‘cos I can read it later on.


GT: You can read all that later on, can’t you?  Yes.


AH: Can you tell me what, how big a group when you joined in the 1940s, how big a group was it?


GT: Um, I would think about thirty, about thirty people, but we are a larger group now.  We’re about fifty now.


AH: So, have you steadily grown or has it [happened].


GT: It’s fluctuated.  We have had periods of time when we’ve had a lot of members and times when it’s sort of dropped off, when we haven’t had so many.  Now we’re in one of our good times at the moment, we’ve just had six new members, so that is good.  It’s going very well.


AH: And where in the... Shall we talk about your early times?  What sort of age range of members did you have?   I know you were a teenager.


GT: Yes, I was, but most of the people were older.  I would think, um, thirty to forty age group was more the age group.  There was not really many young people in those times.  And it was not, the meetings were very enjoyable.  They were not as businesslike [laughs] as they are now, and not as much business to be done.


There seems these days to be such a lot of things, but it used to be, um, just the minutes read and, um, a little bit of business, not much, um, and then we had a speaker, as they still have now.  A speaker or someone to demonstrate something.  It was very interesting, and then, half an hour of cup of tea time and we always finished up with, um, some sort of entertainment.  Sometimes we did charades and then we had a beetle-drive and whist drives were very popular in the, er, early days, um, we had a lot of those.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in May 1993. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.