Meet the Gilbey Girls aka Elsenham WI

By  Herts & Essex Observer

Posted: May 29, 2016

ELSENHAM Women's Institute has a new name, logo and website
– meet The Gilbey Girls.

Many WI branches now use an alias as well as the more traditional place name as this often works as an informal and fun moniker on social media sites.

Elsenham WI has had a presence on Facebook and Twitter for some time and, launching its website and new logo, was keen to have a name with strong links to the history of the village.

Born in Bishop's Stortford in 1831, wine merchant and philanthropist Sir Walter Gilbey was associated with Elsenham for much of his life.


He and his brother Alfred set up their business, importing wine from South Africa, on their return from the Crimean War in 1857.

Later they branched out into distilling gin, and W & A Gilbey Ltd developed into a global enterprise.


Sir Walter, who spent much of his time at Elsenham Hall, diversified into fruit growing and preserving, producing the world-famous Elsenham jam at a factory in the village for decades.

He was also well known as a horse breeder and agriculturalist.


Elsenham WI member Carol Cramer designed and built the new website, which provides information about the WI and details of events and activities.


Her daughter, Catherine, designed the new logo – a sketch of a jam jar used as a cocktail glass with Elsenham WI on the label.

Carol approached Lin and Michael Gilbey, great, great-grandchildren of Sir Walter and Alfred Gilbey respectively, for permission to use the name.


Although the Gilbey family are no longer involved in the production of Elsenham jam or Gilbey's gin, some members are still wine merchants, and Michael and Lin own two restaurants in Berkshire that bear the family name. Carol said: "They were delighted as they are keen to revive the historical links that their family has with Elsenham."


Lin said: "It's such a great idea to link Elsenham WI to the Gilbey family.

"My great, great-grandfather [Sir Walter] would definitely have approved and I love the idea of a gin cocktail served in a jam jar."

Moyra Jackson, president of Elsenham WI and now head Gilbey Girl, said: "I'm thrilled with our new website, our new logo and our new alias.

"The WI is all about inspiring women, and this modern, informal and fun image with strong local historical links is just perfect for the new face of Elsenham WI."


The group has a full programme of activities and welcomes guests and new members. For more details, visit, email or search for Elsenham WI on Facebook and Twitter.