Queen’s Silver Jubilee plaque returned to Rose Garden

The family viewing the decorations being put up above the garden. (S)
The family viewing the decorations being put up above the garden. (S)

In the summer, Barley Women’s Institute took over the care of a rose garden at the side of Barley Car Park to celebrate the Centenary of the National WI.

As well as the new roses and other plants, the garden was “yarn-bombed” with knitted flowers and bunting and the stone wall behind it was decorated with a flock of woolly sheep. A new plaque was attached to the wall, commemorating the opening.

The historical sign in Barley (S)

The historical sign in Barley (S)

Later, it came to light that the garden had previously been cared for by the Parish Council to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the election of Barley residents – Taylor and Vera Smith – as Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle in 1978. The original plaque has been cleaned and remounted on the wall above a seat, facing the Car Park.

As Barley WI had decided to decorate the trees in the garden for Christmas, two of the children of Taylor and Vera Smith – Joseph Smith and Valerie Sharples – were invited to see the newly decorated garden and the re-positioned plaque, before joining WI members in the Village Hall for mulled wine and mince pies.

Vera Smith was a long-standing member of Barley WI and for the 50th Anniversary of the National WI, she had compiled a book of the WI activities including photographs, cuttings and many articles, handwritten in italic writing.

This book was recently given to Barley WI with members delighted to have Valerie and Ruth to help identify many people in the photos. They hope to put the contents of the book into digital format and create a similar book for activities of Barley WI 50 years on.