Group History – How it all began!
History of the 1st Islington Scout Group
The Present 1st Islington is in fact a relatively new Group, being registered on 28th August 1980. It met Initially at Hugh Myddelton School, we now meet in the Crypt of St. James Church, Clerkenwell Green.
The Present group was formed in 1980 by a merger of 2nd and 9th Islington Groups, these once being, respectively, the 2nd Finsbury and 10th Finsbury, two long established Groups, prior to their incorporation into Islington District in 1969. The 2nd Finsbury was formed before 1919 but appears to have lapsed prior to or at the start of WW2. It was restarted in July 1943 at Hugh Myddelton School and became the 2nd Islington in 1969. the 10th Finsbury was formed before 1928 and was based at Holy Redeemer Church, Exmouth Market for many years then moving to the Clerkenwell Parochial School in the 70s.
The present 1st Islington therefore holds the legacy of Finsbury Scouting and is now the only Group of that former Borough. Clerkenwell was also home to the 64th North East London Scout Group from before 1917. It then became the location of the former 8th Finsbury Group from 1940 to 1967. The 8th Finsbury was formed in 1919 and met at the Methodist Mission in St John’s Square EC1 until their HQ was destroyed by enemy action in 1940.
The 1st is a thriving Group and was the first Group in Islington to accept girls into all sections. The Group has enthusiastic Scouters and draws it membership from the Clerkenwell and surrounding areas.
The Group had, until June 2002, all four sections (Beavers, Cubs Scouts and Venture Scouts). In June 2002, the Scouting Programme changed and the Group changed to accommodate the new structure of a five section movement we had three sections at group level (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts), and fed our Explorer Scouts to the District sections, and Scout Network members to the county unit.
In September 2003 we gained two new Scout Leaders to replace the previous leaders who left the group and recruited 2 new beavers leaders to enable us to re-open the Beaver Section fully. We also got our committee up to full strength with the election of a chair and secretary.
2007 marked the centenary of Scouting, with celebrations around the world. As a group we undertook 100 activities across the length and breadth of the UK! We invested one of the first Scouts of the Centenary year at Phasels Wood Campsite shortly after Scouts around the world renewed their promises at 8am (the time the original scout camp was opened in 1907). In July 2007 the group opened the Acorn Explorer Unit, sharing leaders, meeting space and equipment. The Unit was opened by the investiture of it’s three founder members at 10 Downing Street.
2008 saw our first group trip outside of the UK for some time – we took a party of 16 Scouts and Explorers to Normandy France, it was such a success that we’re now in the planning stages for France 2010! Following changes in District organisation we now feed the C.C.I. Scout Network which is based at the Islington Scout Centre. 2010 also saw our long serving Cub leader and acting G.S.L. George Wrigglesworth be awarded his 20 year long service award – quite an achievement!
2010 saw our first Explorers Achieve their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. This is a great achievement! We also saw the first of our Explorers reach 18 and be retired starting something of a tradition! We also helped out with the Poppy Appeal for the first time raising over £200.
2011 saw George Wrigglesworth, our Acting GSL receive the Scout Association Medal of Merit. The presentation was made at the District Parade of Remembrance in November. We also built on our success of the previous year and raised over £1,700 for the Poppy Appeal.
2012 was an amazing year and the group saw a growth of about 30% in youth members. 2012 also, sadly, saw the closure of our partnered Explorer Scout Unit as part of District Wide re-organisation of Explorer provision. In 2012 we had a Diamond Jubilee Party; the Cubs and Beavers were pirates for the weekend at camp (they even found a shipwreck!); we had an amazing Activity week at Grosvenor Hall; members of our group represented Scouts from across the World at the Founders Day Service in Westminster Abbey; the Scouts visited the Lifeboat station on the Thames and we watched the Hastings Gang show to mention but a few things we’ve been up to!
2014 looks set to be even better!
A History of Scouting in Islington
1907 saw the beginnings of the Scout Movement. It was in July, 1907 that Robert Baden Powell (BP) held his experimental camp on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour, to test out his ideas on Scouting on twenty boys from varying backgrounds. His first ideas on the subject had been published in “Aids to Scouting”, a military manual, some years earlier. Following the success of this camp he set out his further ideas in “Scouting for Boys” which was originally published in six fortnightly parts, the first appearing on bookstalls in January 1908 at fourpence (Old Money!) a copy. At this time there was no Scouting organisation – only the idea. The fortnightly parts met with remarkable popularity and, not suprisingly, their author BP was inundated with letters and enquires from “Scout” patrols which had sprung up all over the country.
The next important step which led towards establishing the Movement came with the weekly publication of “The Scout” which first appeared on April 18th 1908. This was largely in response to all the enquires about scouting and provided information on how to set up troops, uniforms etc. This weekly magazine (20 pages for 1 penny) also included adventure yarns of the type found in the “Boys Own Paper” and the like. The appearance of “The Scout” further encouraged the formation of more Scout Patrols. Having formed their patrols the boys went looking for adults to be their “Scoutmasters” – this certainly happened in Islington and elsewhere. Thereby BP’s scheme for young people originally aimed at the schools, churches, The Boys Brigade, the Church Lads Brigade and the YMCA (all of which predated the Scout Movement) became a spontaneous Movement in its own right.
Some of the very first Scout Troops were formed in the Islington area. But since in the early days of 1908 there was no central organisation , the numbering of Troops was somewhat erratic. Obviously with the growth of these early Troops some form of central organisation became inevitable and in the Autumn of 1908, district committees were set up in the major areas where Scouting was flourishing. An Islington Boy Scouts Committee was formed on 17th October 1908 comprising the leaders from four of the original Islington troops and Islington numbers were allocated (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Islington). This committee was to be the forerunner of what was to become the Islington Local Association, later Islington Boy Scouts Association (IBSA) and in more recent times the Islington District Council. in the following year (1909) a North London Scout Council (comprising several North London districts) was formed and the original Islington Troops were re-registered with “North London” numbers (1 – 40) drawn from a hat.
Milestones of Islington Scouting
|1908||Jan – May – First Islington Troops formed|
|October – Islington Scout Committee formed|
|Sydney Young first chairman|
|“Islington” numbers allocated|
|1909||March – North London District Council formed|
|Islington allocated 1-40 “NL” numbers|
|First DC, Walter Brown appointed|
|1912||Chairmans Shield Competition introduced|
|North London Rally at Highbury|
|1913||BP’s North London Rally at Alexandra Palace|
|1914-18||First World War 70 members called to Higher Service|
|1916||Wolf Cubs Section started|
|Packs formed by 7th, 12th, 24th, 29th and 1st CoL|
|1922||Prince of Wales’ Rally at Alexandra Palace|
|1924||Rover Scout Section started|
|1927||Scout Bed Fund launched for Royal Northern Hospital|
|1930||Islington Scout Week – Rally at Chissold Park|
|BP’s Rally at Alexandra Palace|
|1936||Islington Scouting Display at Scout Park, Bounds Green|
|1939-45||Second World War – several HQs lost|
|1945||LDBSA Groups merged with LBSA|
|1948||Islington Scout Week – 40 years of Scouting|
|Ralph Reader’s “Boy Scout” Pageant at Royal Albert Hall|
|First Islington “Gang Show” at Town Hall|
|1949||“Bob-a-job” Week introduced|
|Islington Branch of BP Guild of Old Scouts formed|
|1952||Caledonian Church becomes District HQ|
|Ralph Reader’s “We’ll Live Forever” at Town Hall|
|1954||Islington Seniors and Rovers visit Norway|
|1955||Ramsey Rover Crew formed|
|1957||Islington Jubilee Camp at Phasels Wood|
|1959||NL Scouts “Meet The Cheif” at Harringay Stadium|
|1964||Annual Capitation Fee introduced (5/- per head)|
|1966||“NL” numbers replaced by “Islington”|
|Advance Party Report introduces “new look” with Cub Scouts, Scouts and Venture Scout Sections, New Uniforms and training programmes|
|1968||Finsbury district merged with Islington|
|1970||First islington Scout Fete held|
|1972||Islington Scout Centre opened by Peter Baden-Powell|
|First full-time Centre Leader appointed|
|1975||Distrtct Summer Camp at Old Sarum|
|1976||Option for admission of girls to Venture Scouts|
|1977||New Adult Support scheme introduced|
|“Ramsey” Scout Fellowship formed|
|District Summer Camp at Picton Castle|
|1981||Scout Centre Extension opened|
|1984||City of London and Holborn Districts merged with Islington|
|1986||Beaver Scout Section Started|
|Cub Scout Section’s 70th Birthday|
|1988||3rd, 5th, 7th and 1st CoL celebrate 80th Birthdays|
|Islington Groups raise £16,000 for GOSH Wishing Well Appeal|
|1990||Hats no longer part of uniform|
|1991||Option for admission of girls to all sections|
|1992||Islington Groups attend County Camp “Euro 92” at Walton Firs|
|1993||“Promise Appeal” Fund-raising campaign|
|1995||Two Islington Scouts attend 18th World Jamboree in Holland|
|1996||80th Anniversary of Cub Scouting|
|10th Anniversary of Beaver Scout Section|
|1997||25th Anniversary of Islington Scout Centre|
|1998||90th Anniversary of Islington Scouting|
|1st CoL and 5th Islington Celebrate 90th Birthdays|
|Redevolpment of Scout Centre|
|Two Islington Scouts at 19th World Jamboree in Chile|
|2004||Islington District & Greater London Central Scout County close down|
|Camden, City & Islington District Opened. A merger between Islington & Hampstead Districts|
|The New District joins the Greater London North Scout County|
|2007||Scouting celebrates it’s 100th Anniversary|
|1st Islington open the Acorn Explorer Unit|
|2012||Acorn Explorer Unit closes down following a major District reorganisation.|
|2013||District approves amendment to our Group name. We have now become the 1st Islington (Acorns) Scout Group.|
|2014||CCI Scout District merges with Harringey Scout District to become the North London Scout District.|
Our Thanks to Albert Pinching from the 5th Islington for gathering this information