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