The Trowelblazers


Autumn is definitely in the air – we may well be digging out the winter coats but at our next meeting we’ll be hearing about much more exciting discoveries!

:: 15th October: Trowelblazers – Women in Archaeology : 7.30pm ::

One of the surprises of our Social Bingo night last year was to find that quite a few Belles had worked or volunteered on archaeological digs!

Brenna Hassett from Trowelblazers will tell us fascinating tales of pioneering women through the years who have uncovered ancient treasures and furthered our knowledge of the past.

Welsh Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX.
Guests are always very welcome if you would like to come and try us out! Guests pay £4.

Cocktails and Pages: Black and White and Red all over

Our first Cocktails and Pages book club event kicked off with a fizz this week. We sampled the cocktail menu of The Jam Circus in Brockley and discussed in detail our thoughts on Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (see the link?!)


We had a record number of attendees all with opinions, most with the opinion that the Circus sounds like an incredible place and the description was so involving. Some liked the actual storyline less than others however. The best thing about the night was that some of us turned up having read the book on Beth’s recommendation (the host of the evening) and would never have read it otherwise, and most were pleasantly surprised. We all wrote down our next choice of book club book and picked a title randomly out of a glass and the winner was…

An Examined Life by Stephen Grosz. Emma had chosen this book and is adamant we will all have something to say about it next meeting! If you’d like to join us, keep your eye on our facebook page and our blog page for details of where we’ll meet. There is also more information on the book on our blog page.


We’d like to say a big thank you to The Jam Circus who booked a perfect spot for us, a nice cosy nook that meant we could all hear and see each other, and made sure the drinks flowed as smoothly as the conversation. We recommend the Raspberry Jam and the Espresso Martini… hic!

Bermondsey Street Festival

Last weekend the Borough Belles hit the streets of Bermondsey with our amazing cake and craft stall.


The festival itself spanned from one end of Bermondsey Street to the other and was chock-full of stalls from local businesses selling anything from vintage wares to artworks to bric-a-brac to artisan foods. It had a very “village fete” feel, complete with Dog Shows and a Maypole!


Our stall featured bakes and crafts from our Belles and we drummed up a lot of interest about our group by lots of women who we’re hoping to see in the coming months! Some were shocked that we’re a WI and some had no idea about the WI as an institution in general so we had a lot of good publicity.

You can see this sign on the side of our building, Welsh Chapel in Borough!

You can see this sign on the side of our building, Welsh Chapel in Borough!

Our savoury bakes flew off the stall within minutes of opening and our cakes started to sell like, well, cakes from about 2pm when people were in their “post-lunch-sugar-lull.” We definitely learned that next year we want more savoury bakes so Belles take note! Get practising your veggie pastries and cheese twists!

Our stars of the show!

Our stars of the show!

We can’t wait to take part in more festivals and fairs throughout the next year. Stay tuned for more fairs to bake for in the future!


A sneaky peak into our new branding!

We are very lucky to have the very talented, Christy Avraam re-designing our Borough Belles brand. It has been a fascinating process going through all sorts of design ideas and we thought you might like to know what’s been going on behind the scenes. Christy has very kindly written a guest blog post about her work-in-progress to give us all an insight into the world of a design artist.

christy blog

Summer in Borough

The Belles have had a lovely summer of activities – running, dancing, walking, crafting and enjoying all the lovely sunshine.

After our talk on jewellery with Karin Paynter in June we visited her exhibition at Somerset House where our president, Muireann bought some rather wonderful silver earrings with iolite stones in – and learned that iolite was used by the Vikings as a directional aid as it changes colour depending on if it’s facing north or not. Beautiful AND practical!

July brought Craft Night where we made bunting, badges, seed packets and cards for sale on our stall at Bermondsey Street Festival this weekend, as well as working on our own projects – there’s a wonderful map quilt in the works we can’t wait to see finished.

Getting crafty for Bermondsey

Getting crafty for Bermondsey

In August we took a bet on fine weather and left our usual basement meeting spot for an early evening walk around the neighbourhood with Dr Patricia Dark of Southwark’s Local History Archive. We heard tales of extraordinary bravery, real and fictional crime and punishment, enjoyed beautiful gardens, and were inspired by Octavia Hill’s phenomenal list of achievements (developed social housing, preserved urban green spaces, coined the term ‘Green Belt’, pioneered modern social work, founded the National Trust AND the Army Cadets. Phew.) We ended up in the wonderfully Dickensian George Inn off Borough High Street for some Pimms.

For more local history, or help researching the history of your home or family the Archive is at the back of John Harvard library and Dr Dark has lots of information to help.


In addition we’ve run in Greenwich and Peckham, danced in Soho and Vauxhall, and enjoyed a whole series of workshops at the Garden Museum in Lambeth. Stay tuned for more fun throughout the autumn!

Next Wednesday: it’s AmaZINE!

We were so lucky with the weather for our local history walk in August – it was a fascinating evening and nice to be out and about in our neighbourhood.

But now there’s a little chill in the air we’ll be safely inside for September.

:: 17th September: DIY publishing – blogs, zines and make your own zine page! : 7.30pm ::

You don’t have to be a best-selling author to share your voice with the world! Publishing your own work in a blog or zine is a lovely way to flex your creativity. Several of our members – and of course BBWI itself – have their own blogs. We’ll be hearing about why people love to blog, and how to go about it. We’ll also hear about the thriving home-made zine scene and gather inspiration for our own.

After tea and cake we’ll get busy with the scissors and glue and make pages for our 2015 Borough Belles zine. Bring anything you’d like to see included – favourite recipes, a poem, your loveliest watercolour, and we’ll add it to our next issue. See our two previous issues, 2013 and 2014 for inspiration!

Welsh Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX.
Guests are always very welcome if you would like to come and try us out! Guests pay £4.


Jewellery June

Here are some snaps from our last meeting in June. We had the immense privilege to talk to Silversmith and Consultant, Karin Paynter who gave us an insight into the world of jewellery and silversmithing. She talked about a whole range of subjects; her incredible career to date and all the decisions she’d made throughout her adult life, what it is like to be a female in a very male-dominated world of silversmith, her current work as a consultant and the current exhibition at Somerset House, Hallmark Salon.

We then had a jewellery swish with some, not-nearly-so-valuable costume jewellery of our own…

A fine array

A fine array

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