THE origins of the Townswomen's Guild were in 1929, when four guilds were formed at the instigation of Margery Corbett Ashby and Eva Hubback as an experiment in the study of citizenship. In 1952, a small group of ladies in Didcot convened a public meeting at St. Frideswide’s School to discuss forming a their own local branch, which still meets regularly today. The Didcot group's success and longevity may owe something to do with its very early days – the 1950s were an ideal time to form a guild. The Festival of Britain in 1951 gave guilds and federations throughout the country an opportunity to take part in local celebrations. In London With this Sword, a pageant to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Guild formation, was performed at the newly-developed Royal Festival Hall. In 1953, two historic resolutions were passed at the NCM in Blackpool, which meant that Townswomen could now campaign on national affairs. Six years later, TG supported World Refugee Year by funding the clearing of Ried Refugee Camp in Austria. By the late 1960s the total number of Townswomen’s Guilds had risen to more than 2,700. The clearing of the Ried Camp was completed in 1961 and £46,000 was raised to build four blocks of flats. In 1969 the 40th anniversary was celebrated by a performance of The Miracle – a mime set to music by Humperdink held at the Royal Albert Hall. Moving on to the 70s and 80s, the national chairman’s new chain of office, designed by Leslie Durbin, was worn for the first time in 1970. Her Majesty the Queen became TG’s patron for Jubilee Year and the 50th anniversary celebration was a spectacular revue called The Golden Bond. Devised by Kenneth Barrow, the production was staged at the Royal Albert Hall on May 22 and 23 1979. The cast of more than 700 Townswomen had prepared for two performances, one of which was The Golden Anniversary Luncheon at the Savoy Hotel on January 29, attended by HRH Princess Anne. Celebrations for TG’s diamond jubilee began in May 1988 with the first exhibition of the Diamond Jubilee Tapestry at Liberty & Co. in London. A gala concert attended by the Princess Royal was held at Central Hall in Westminster. The Patron also attended a special reception for members in November, delivered the final Dame Margery Corbett Ashby Memorial Lecture the following April and completed the year at the national conference meeting at the Royal Albert Hall in July. The year of celebration closed with a special thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey in July 1989. In celebration of the Millennium, Townswomen from all over the UK came together at the Royal Albert Hall on June 26, 2001. An evening of singing, dancing, narration and movement celebrated women through history. In 2003, to celebrate International Women’s Day, Townswomen held a conference in Canterbury to highlight the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban Regime. Aptly named Behind the Veil, the conference brought together a host of women’s rights organisations with the founder of Women Aid International Pida Ripley speaking to the 300 Townswomen in attendance. In that year, the national Townswomen's Guild had approximately 55,000 members in 1,300 Guilds and 111 Federations throughout England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland. Townswomen are encouraged to have ideas and views, develop new skills, campaign on various issues, support each other, make new friends and above all have fun. As of April 2018, The Didcot (afternoon) Guild still meets regularly on the first Monday of the month at 2pm at the Civic Hall (except for the month of August).