City Branch

City Branch seems to have been the Phoenix Branch of the League; although the original formation of the Branch cannot be traced, as records are rather sparse, City has "died" and been re-formed at least three times. A continual cry comes from the Branch Minutes.. . “no active members, how shall we carry on?" Either people came forward at the time, or later on someone found the enthusiasm to start again.

 

City Branch was formed to cater for the interests of those women who worked in Nairobi and were unable to attend the meetings of the suburban Branches, as these were held in the mornings or afternoons. So City held quick meetings

at the Headquarters of the League (wherever they were situated) during the lunch hour, or at tea-time. Evening meetings with "scrabble" and "beetle" drives also took place, and the annual Easter raffle of a Simnel cake was a big fundraiser.

 

In 1958 membership stood at 293, but only 12 members attended meetings, and in 1960 there were 121 members, and only 10% at meetings. An uphill battle for the DVP. Most of the members seemed to join to use the facilities of the library and rest room in central Nairobi! Even with meetings going on, members would rather just eat their lunches-or so one DVP complained. However, the determination of the officers of the Branch in the '50's and '60's enabled the Branch to soldier on, holding meetings, demonstrations, bring & buys and taking its turn of duty at the Forces Club. Funds were raised for "Pennies-for Friendship" and the target figure for a room at Weal House (now Harrison House) was reached, so that there is a "City Branch" room there now. A panel was designed by Mrs. J. Powell and embroidered by Mrs. H. Frazer for the League Tapestries showing the City Arms.

 

Again, in 1966,the Branch was re-formed, and attendance at meetings increased, but by 1968 only 2 members attended a Branch meeting, and the future was doubtful. Records do not show when the Branch folded, but in 1978 Dr. Lesley Cartwright-Taylor, an active member of Spring Valley Branch, had to resign as she started working fulltime, and rather than become a Lone member, Lesley asked what workingwomen did about attending meetings of the League. And was told, "Well, they don't". This was enough o start things moving, and once more City Branch was resurrected from the ashes, monthly meetings were organised with speakers likely to attract workingwomen – starting one's own business, financial planning, various aspects of education, health and family planning.

 

So City Branch flourished again, but because the majority of members were only in the country for short periods ,as the wives of expatriates, enthusiasm was sporadic and interest died as membership changed a great deal. Now City Branch attracts more of the Kenyan women who form the majority of the working women in Nairobi, and it is to these newest members that City looks to re-emerge yet again from the ashes, and to flourish in the future of Kenya and the League.