Marcham, Oxfordshire, England
Founded by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) in 1948, Denman offers day schools and residential courses in cookery, craft and lifestyle.
The Georgian house
The central Georgian house was previously called Marcham Park and stands on the site of the original manor house of Marcham which was a grange of Abingdon Abbey. The present house dates from the late 17th century, but was heavily remodelled for Thomas Duffield in around 1820. Its most well-known resident was Duffield's grandfather-in-law, the infamous miser, John Elwes.
The house is Grade II listed and on 9 November 2015, the centenary of the first WI meeting in England, Denman's entry in the National Heritage List for England was updated to include the WI connection, as were records for three other buildings of WI significance.
Women's Institute college
The college was formally established in 1948, and named after Lady Denman, the first chairwoman of the WI federation. Today, students attending Denman do not have to be members of the WI, and the college accepts both male and female learners.
Residential courses at Denman last between one and four nights, although non-residential day courses are also offered. Course subject areas include the arts, crafts, music, history, sport and technology. Denman is also the home of the WI Cookery School.
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