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Denman College

Denman College is the WI's own college, offering over 600 cookery, craft and lifestyle courses every year, both day and residential.  WI members get discounts and bursaries are regularly on offer to help members attend, from many WI Federations including Durham.

The college is near Oxford, a graceful Georgian house set in 17 acres of beautiful grounds, with walks and a picturesque lake.  It also includes Fir Tree Cottage which is available to rent.  Anyone can attend the college, including non-members and men (under 18 year olds must be accompanied by an adult), either to take part in a course or just for a holiday.  

Courses last for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days in all sorts of subjects, for example literature, music, craft, art, personal development, languages and photography. There is something for everyone!  Watch our for Denman Open Days and Craft Taster Weeks.

Denman was founded on 24th September 1948, by the NFWI.  It was purchased for £16,000 and included a walled garden, around 100 acres of land, cottages and a lake.  The NFWI was given £20,000 by the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, on the condition that the Institutes raised the rest, each WI being invited to raise £10 over three years to donate to the project. 

WI members donated gifts, and working parties made curtains from bleached black-out curtains as rationing was still in place.  Federations offered to equip the bedrooms, a practice which continues today.  All of Denman’s 69 ensuite bedrooms are unique as they designed and furnished by WI members as Federations have "adopted" rooms.

Denman college was named after Lady Denman, the first WI National Chairman, who had retired after 30 years in the role.  The opening ceremony was performed by Sir Richard Livingstone.