The Women's Institute, according to Wikipedia
, is a "community-based organisation for women in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand." The first Women's Institute branch in the UK was established in 1915. And by the 1920s the village of Ugley in Essex had its own branch, making it the Ugley Women's Institute.
The jokes began soon after. An Apr 13, 1945 column in the Saffron Walden Weekley News
People will still have their joke about the uncommon name of Ugley, but the Ugley ladies must have become hardened to it by now. There are as lovely ladies in Ugley as elsewhere, I have no doubt, and certainly their Women's Institute is doing excellent work.
By the 1950s the members of the Ugley Women's Institute had apparently grown tired of the jokes. Newspapers reported a name change:
Evansville Press - Mar 24, 1956
However, I find that the same story then kept popping up throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, always reported as if it was breaking news, which makes me wonder if it was true in the first place. In the UK Register of Charities
the organization is still listed as the Ugley Women's Institute.
Wisconsin State Journal - Sep 9, 1962
Incidentally, the village of Ugley also has an Ugley Farmers Market
. And the town of Loose, in Kent, boasts the Loose Women's Institute.