Gloucester Road WI

The WI for Bristol's most interesting and independent high street. Meeting the 3rd Tues monthly.

Review June: Beer Tasting with Wiper & True

At June’s meeting our speaker was Vicky Helsby from Bristol brewers Wiper & True.

Drawn to work at Wiper & True by their simple and elegant branding Vicky has been part of the team for the last 3 years and can be found in the Tap Room most Saturdays talking all things brewing.

In the past 5 years Wiper & True has gone from being home-brewed and sold at local Bristol markets to being stocked in Waitrose nationally. During that time they have collaborated with lots of other brewers by renting equipment and sharing space, all the while tweaking their processes and recipes to achieve the ultimate goal: great tasting beer! The recipes still vary slightly with each brew and for that reason the batch number is always printed on their labels.

Alewives were the original brewers who brewed for their household. When they had an excess they would sell it on. Broomsticks indicated they had beer to sell but unfortunately played a part in driving them out of the industry because of links made to witchcraft. With brewing carried out in cauldrons, cats kept to keep mice off their grains, pointy hats worn so they could easily be spotted when selling at markets and the side effects of the botanicals used in their brews said to be bewitching, brewing became man’s work.

Wiper & True currently employ equal numbers of men and women and are actively encouraging women into the industry and to drink beer. Every bottle of their beer demonstrates this as the branding is intentionally kept simple, accessible and gender neutral. This year the brewery also marked International Women’s Day by releasing XX, a beer created by the women at Wiper & True.

Vicky talked about the 4 key ingredients: water, malt, hops, yeast. We nibbled grains of malt and had a good sniff of some hops then tested our pallets on two different beers. First up was best selling tropical pale ale Bristol Crush, inspired by grapefruit flavours of the Caribbean drink Ting. The second was milk stout called Milk Shake since the idea for it came from that very thing and you can definitely taste the vanilla and cacao shining through.

There are a selection of photos from the evening below.

17 July: Pimms and Bowling

Join us for our summer celebration where we will be breaking out the Pimms and enjoying a few games of bowls on home ground at St Andrews Bowling Club.
As we will be taking to the bowling green please wear flat shoes so we don’t leave any marks!

Guest are welcome (£5 per guest), however we are expanding this to include male guests! If you have a partner or friend who is curious about where we meet and what we get up to then bring them along to this popular social meeting.

Photo Credit: Whitney Wright on Unsplash

19 June: Beer Tasting with Wiper & True

In June’s meeting we will be joined by Bristol brewers Wiper & True.

We will find out about the ingredients used in the brewing process, learn a bit about the brewing process and also discover the history of Wiper & True themselves.

There will also be two different beers to taste.

In a change to previous tastings, this meeting will be open to visitors (£5 visitor charge applies) if you know other women who would also like to partake.

Photo Credit: Wiper & True

Review May: Suffolk Puffs

15 May: Suffolk Puffs

At May’s meeting we will be crafting Suffolk Puffs.
You can use these fabric creations individually to embellish other items or stitched several together to create a fabulous necklace or a colourful cushion cover. Have a look at our pinterest board and get inspired!

Material will be provided but if you have some scraps of your own that you’d like to use then bring them along.

Photo Credit: Textile and Terrain via Pinterest

Review April: Store Cupboard Spa Night

Review March: Celebrating International Women’s Day with Bethan Evans & Jane Duffus

We were very pleased to welcome two speakers to our March meeting.

First up was Bethan Evans who came to Bristol to study law and stayed in the area and built up 35 years of experience, specialising in local government.

Bethan’s talk focused on women in the law and began by looking back at the history of women in the profession. In 1843 The Solictors Act defined the persons who could enter the profession, however at that time the definition of persons did not include women.
It was just over 100 years ago that Gwyneth Bebb brought a case against the Law Society to challenge this and it wasn’t until 1919 that the Sexual Discrimination (Removal) Act meant that women could become lawyers.

When Bethan herself graduated and took up a role as an article clerk in 1983 it was noteworthy that the three new article clerks at that firm were all female. The male-domination of the profession was further demonstrated by the fact that when law firms sent their article clerks to collect their post from Bristol’s Commercial Rooms only men were allowed in. When Bethan and her fellow article clerks undertook this task a special area was cordoned off for female clerks.

She went on to look at how the situation has and continues to change. She herself went on to become senior partner at Bevan Brittan LLP.

When it comes to recent figures:

  • 67% of those studying law are women
  • 48% of those entering the profession as solicitors are women
  • 33% of partners in law firms are women
  • 28% of judges are women
  • 22% of high court judges are women
  • 2 out of 12 Supreme Court judges are women

Finishing on a positive note, she highlighted some of the things that the law society and judiciary are working on to improve these statistics and also look to address the gender pay gap.


Our second speaker was Jane Duffus. Having trained as a journalist and worked on Fleet Street Jane come to Bristol around 10 years ago and became involved in women’s issues. She set up What The Frock, the all female comedy event to address the fact that comedy clubs were not booking women, is currently a Trustee of Bristol Women’s Voice and author of the recently published book The Women Who Built Bristol.

Jane wanted to write a book about some of the incredible women of Bristol, tell their stories and document their contributions to the city.
She went on to tell us about a few of the incredible women in the book. There was the first female solicitor Angela Tuckett in 1929, who was also followed into the profession shortly afterwards by her sister Joan. They were also international hockey players, held pilots licences, worked to build the membership of the communist party and in their later years busked to raise money for striking miners.

There was Frances Power Cobbe, a social reformer, anti-vivisection activist, women’s suffrage campaigner and lobbyist on education for women who arrived in Bristol aged 15 and found herself on the Leigh Woods side of the Avon gorge before the Clifton Suspension Bridge was completed. She and her brother bribed someone to use the basket and pulley system to winch them across the gorge to Clifton!

There were Emily & Mary Blathwayt, a mother and daughter who were actively involved in the Women’s Suffrage Society and Women’s Social and Political Union. They opened their house as a retreat for suffragettes who had been imprisoned and force-fed. They not only gave them a place to recuperate but also planted an arboretum. The suffragettes who stayed there were encouraged to plant a tree or bush in the grounds of the house.

Jane spoke about many other fantastic women and we learnt that the women’s police force & Red Cross boxes also came about because of some amazing Bristolian ladies. If you want to read about these women and many more you can buy Jane’s book, plus if you make your purchase from Bristol Women’s Voice then they will receive 100% of the profits.

17 April: Store Cupboard Spa Night

When we meet in April we will be getting creative. We’ll be concocting our own beauty products with everyday ingredients that you will likely have in your kitchen cupboards. Your very own store cupboard spa!
Ingredients will be provided but please bring a hand towel with you.

Photo credit: Designed by Freepik

Red Dragon Pie – Vegan


  • 1 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Swede
  • 4 handfuls of dry brown lentils
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Potatoes for topping
  • Curry powder
  • Garam masala
  • Nigella seeds
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Oregano


Chop all the veg into small chunks.

Sweat the vegetables in the oil until soft. Add the garlic and spices, then add the tomatoes.

Cover the lentils in water and boil until soft. Strain and reserve the juice.

Add the lentils to the vegetable mix and simmer until cooked through. Add lentil juice if needed.

Part blend and place in a dish.

Boil the potatoes and mash. Add to the dish as topping and grill in the oven.



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