Early Scouting in Wivenhoe

Ian Valentine

 The Founder of ScoutingLieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941) had become a national hero during the Boer War as a result of his successful defence of the town of Mafeking, which was under siege from October 1899 to May 1900.

Robert Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-Powell at Brownsea Island Camp

The Mafeking Cadets, made up of local boys aged 12 to 15, acted as messengers throughout the siege, and had impressed him with their resourcefulness and courage. Baden-Powell had also published a number of popular books on military scouting, including Aids to Scouting for NCOs and men, published in 1899. Though written for non-commissioned officers, it became a best-seller and was used by teachers and youth organisations. In the years after the war Baden-Powell broached the idea of a new youth organisation with a number of people.

To test his ideas while writing Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell conceived of an experimental camp, creating a programme to take place on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour during 1 to 8 August 1907. He invited his lifelong friend, Major Kenneth McLaren, to attend the Brownsea Island Scout camp as an assistant.

He invited boys from different social backgrounds, a revolutionary idea during the class-conscious Edwardian era. Eleven came from the well-to-do private boarding schools of Eton and Harrow, mostly sons of Baden-Powell’s friends. Seven came from the Boys’ Brigade at Bournemouth, and three came from the Brigade at Poole & Hamworthy. The boys were arranged into four patrols, designated as the Wolves, Ravens, Bulls and Curlews. It is uncertain if 20 or 21 boys attended the camp. The camp fee was dependent on means: one pound for the public school boys, and three shillings and sixpence for the others. They participated in activities around camping, observation, woodcraft, chivalry, lifesaving and patriotism.

Recognised as the world’s first Scout camp, the event is regarded as  the real origin of the worldwide Scout movement. (The above is based  on the Wikipedia article, where more information is available).

Commemoration Stone at Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Hants

Commemoration Stone at Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Hants

 Introduction to Scouting in Wivenhoe

Coronation Celebration 1911 [Outside pages]

Outside pages of the Coronation Programme 1911

There are no official Scouting records of a Scout Group existing in Wivenhoe before 1924/1925, so I was intrigued to see at an exhibition in the Nottage Maritime Institute in 2014 a copy of the Programme for the Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on 22 June 1911.

The front page showed this “Grand Display of Scouting” by the 1st Wyvenhoe Scout Troop forming part of the celebrations. This set me researching the microfilms of the Essex County Standard   and contacting Malcolm Treacher, Essex County Scout Archivist for any information. in 1908, Baden-Powell (always known in Scouting circles as B-P) published Scouting for Boys in six fortnightly instalments, which was such a huge success with boys and teenagers throughout the country that they spontaneously began to form themselves into Scout Patrols. 

By September 1908, B-P forced to set up an office to deal with the enquiries about ‘Scouting’ flooding in. And in 1909, according to Malcolm Treacher: “The Wivenhoe troop was no doubt active around 1909 as a local BP scout unit as they were then, and Sgt. Wright was acting as their leader by local agreement as was often the case.” 



The inside pages of the Coronation Programme 1911

The inside pages of the Coronation Programme 1911

Essex County Standard 1909

17 April 1909.  COLCHESTER BOY SCOUTS’ FIELD DAY. On Easter Monday, the 1st Colchester (St. George’s) Troop of Boy Scouts had a day’s scouting in the grounds of Ballast Quay Farm, Wyvenhoe, Mr. J,B Hawkins very kindly giving them the entire run of the property and the use of a large barn…..The Ballast Quay grounds are well adapted for scouting as they include two woods, a large tract of old disused gravel pits and the saltings and marsh land by the river, which bounds the farm on one side. Upon their arrival they were joined by a patrol of Wyvenhoe scouts, and after a short rest the day’s programme commenced with a despatch bearing competition…..

29 May 1909.  WYVENHOE. EMPIRE DAY.—On Monday a large number of the inhabitants turned out to witness the celebration of Empire Day by the children at the Council School,……At the boys’ school at 10.15 a.m. Mr. C.E. Gooch addressed the children in a capital speech bearing upon Empire Day, pointing out to them the vastness of our empire and exhorting all to try to prove themselves worthy of the great empire of which they were members. The Wyvenhoe Boy Scouts, in their smart uniform, under Sergeant H.L. Wright (5th Essex Terr.), together with several minor detachments, next gave an exhibition of drill in the school yard, the smartness of the lads being commented upon on all sides. 

5 June 1909. WIVENHOE. BOY SCOUTS.—On Whit Monday the Wyvenhoe Boy Scouts assembled about 6 a.m., a field day being spent in the pits at Ballast Quay, kindly placed at the lads’ disposal by Mr. J.B. Hawkins, who takes a great interest in their movement, as does Mr. C.E. Gooch, of Wyvenhoe Park, who has presented the scouts with a camping out tent (in which several slept on Monday night) together with a cash donation to their fund.

7 August 1909.  WYVENHOE. THE PARISH CHURCH.—On Sunday morning August 1, the corps of boy scouts attended the church for the first time in their uniform and listened to an appropriate address from the Rector (Rev. Sinclair Carolin, M.A.,).  In the afternoon the Scouts attempted to camp out on Ballast Quay field, but were repulsed by the elements.

9 October 1909.  WYVENHOE BOY SCOUTS.—The 1st Wyvenhoe Troop paraded the latter part of last week under the command of Scoutmaster H.L. Wright.  After thoroughly explaining the work to be accomplished during the evening, the scoutmaster sent off the Hounds and Lions Patrols, under the care of assistant scoutmaster T. Chapman, to defend the roadway between Park Road and the bottom of Brook Hill, and to prevent any other boy scouts from entering those bounds. Most of the boys worked keenly, but half the attacking party got into the area without being seen by the defenders.  Both parties were then called together and addressed by the scoutmaster, who highly complimented O. Jones on his clever ruse of getting some boys to wheel him into the defenders’ area in a hand trolley.

16 October 1909.  CHURCH PARADE. On Sunday, October 10, the Wyvenhoe Detachment, “H” company, 5th Essex Regiment, paraded at the Foresters’ Hall, where they were joined by the first Wyvenhoe Troop of Boy Scouts.  After an inspection the procession marched off, headed by the Wesley Guild Brass Band, to the parish church.  The Territorials, who made their first appearance at a parade in their scarlet uniform, looked very smart and soldierly…. The service at the church was conducted by the Rector (Rev. Sinclair Carolin, M.A.), and a powerful sermon was preached by the Rev. Louis Hartley, M.A., Rector of St, James. Clacton on Sea…..He also said he was pleased to have the opportunity of addressing the boy scouts, and he exhorted the congregation to help them with all their power……

Essex County Standard 1910 

18 June 1910.  BOYSCOUTS.  Sir Herbert Plumer and Mr. H. Geoffrey Elwes (Colchester DC 1909 to 1918, then Editor of the Scout Gazette, d. 1936 – Malcolm Treacher) were recently deputed by the Head Quarters Executive of the Boy Scouts to interview the leaders of the churches and to invite them to join the Advisory Council, of which Sir Robert Baden Powell is Chairman.  The result of Sir Herbert Plumer’s and Mr. Elwes’ work has been that the following have already expressed their deep interest in the Baden Powell Boy Scouts and have joined the Council, namely:–The Archbishop of Canterbury and York, the Rev. J.H. Jowett (Chairman of the Free Church Council), the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Rev. C. Sylvester Horne, M.P., The Rev. W.B. Lark (President, United Methodists), The Rev. William Perkins (President, Wesleyan Methodists), and the Rev. James Mellis (Moderator, Presbyterians).

A meeting of the Essex commissioners for organising the work in Essex was recently held in London, when Mr. H. Geoffrey Elwes (North East Essex) was in the chair, and reported that Troops had been started at Colchester, Harwich, Dovercourt, Clacton. Frinton, Walton, Manningtree, Weeley, Great Bentley, Brightlingsea, Wyvenhoe, Witham, Halstead, Earls Colne, Colne Engaine, Chappel, Wormingford, West Mersea, and Maldon. The Earl of Warwick has accepted the Presidency of the Essex Scouts, and will visit Colchester in July, when a meeting will be held to form a local association for Colchester and District.

21 June 1910.  H.L.Wright warranted as S(cout)M(aster). (County Scout Records – Malcolm Treacher).

2 July 1910.  SCOUT DISPLAY.–On Saturday, June 25, a grand scout display and inspection of the 1st Wyvenhoe Troop of Boy Scouts took place on the “Ten Acres,” very kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. A.K. Barlow, of Wyvenhoe Hall, the display being in aid of the Troop Camps Funds. The Wyvenhoe Wesley Guild Brass Band, under Bandmaster David Bones, rendered capital selections of music during the evening, and 27 of the boy scouts who had passed the test were presented with scout badges, the presentation being made by Mrs. H.O. Rice.  A long programme consisting of the following items commenced at 6 p.m.:–Inspection of troop by Mr. Wallace Cole, District Inspector; Pitching Camp; Drill; Patrol Calls; Ambulance Work; Presentation of Badges; Camp Games; Seamanship (Breeches Buoy, etc.); Signalling; Patriotic Songs; Fireman’s Lift; A building on fire and rescue of occupants; and Humerus Acts. Among those present were;–Mr. C.E. Gooch, Mr. J.B. Hawkins, Mr. H.O. Rice and Mrs. H.O. Rice, Mr. Wallace Cole, Rev. G.D. Shenton, and Rev. Sinclair Carolin.  All the items of the above programme were well executed, special praise being given for ambulance work, rocket apparatus, manning the boats, signalling, and the rescue of the occupants of the burning building.  Mr. C.E. Gooch in proposing a vote of thanks to all who had assisted, explained the aims of the movement in a very able manner.  Mr. Cole (District Inspector) congratulated Mr. H.L. Wright and Captain H.R. Oakley upon the efficient manner in which the boys had been trained, as shown by the performance.  The proceedings terminated at dusk with the National Anthem.

23 July 1910.  BOY SCOUTS.—Last weekend was spent by the 1st Wyvenhoe Troop of Boy Scouts in camping on the Nook Grounds, kindly lent by Mr. H.O. Rice, J.P. On Sunday morning an open-air service took place at 11 a.m., an excellent short address being given by Mr. G. Elwes, Commissioner for North-East Essex, the Wesley Guild brass band accompanying the hymns, which were sung with great heartiness. The lessons were read by Mr. C.E. Gooch, of Wyvenhoe Park, a collection being taken during the service. An excellent tea was provided for the scouts by Mr. J.B. Hawkins, J.P., camp being struck at  4.30 a.m., Monday.

20 August 1910.  BOY SCOUTS IN CAMP.—The 1st Wyvenhoe Troop Boy Scouts have been camping out in the Pits at Ballast Quay, kindly placed at their disposal by Mr. J.B. Hawkins.  The camp opened on Saturday, Aug. 13, lasting until Wednesday, and throughout the whole time brilliant weather prevailed. Mr. H.L. Wright (Scout Master) and Capt. H.R. Oakley (Assistant Scout Master) were in command. On Sunday, Aug. 14, an open air service, conducted by Rev. G.T. Howell, was held at 3 p.m., when a large number of persons attended, who afterwards paid a visit to the camp. The funds for the camp were provided mainly by the proceeds from the recent fete.  The spot chosen for the camp is an ideal one for scouting.

15 October 1910.  BOY SCOUTS.—An enthusiastic meeting of gentlemen from the parishes surrounding Wyvenhoe who are interested in the Boy Scout Movement was held at the Foresters’ Hall on Thursday, October 6, Mr. J.B. Hawkins presiding. Among others present were:–Messrs. H.G. Elwes (District Commissioner, N.E. Essex). Scoutmasters H.L Wright,H.R. Oakley,  A. Rimington, and L. Baker, Captain Hausberg, Rev. F. Willcox, Messrs. C.E. Rudgley and A. Garrett.  The object of the meeting was to form a local association for the parishes of Wyvenhoe, Brightlingsea, Great Bentley and Weeley, where troops now exist, and to encourage the intervening parishes to form troops. Mr. H.G. Elwes very lucidly explained the work of the local associations, and the following officers were elected:–President, Mr. C.E. Gooch, J.P.; Chairman, Mr. J.B. Hawkins, J.P.; Hon. Sec., Mr. C.E. Rudgley; Examiners, Scoutmaster H.L. Wright and Assistant Scoutmaster H.R. Oakley.  The Committee will consist of three representatives each from Wyvenhoe and Brightlingsea, two from other parishes, and all scoutmasters and assistant scoutmasters.

Essex County Standard 1911

4 March 1911.  BOY SCOUTS.—Mr. A. Goodwin, captain of the Wyvenhoe Fire Brigade, recently examined some members of the 1st Wyvenhoe Troop of Boy Scouts for the Fireman’s badge.  On the whole the boys answered very satisfactorily.  The following qualified to wear the badge:-P.-L.’s T. Harvey and B. Dann; Corpls. R.James, G. Scofield, M. Carter, T. Springett, C.Barrett; Scouts L. Brown, A. Goodwin, C. Scofield, J. Spinks, G. Harlow, F. Payne, J. Wraith, G. Salisbury, C. Fale, G. Harvey, F. Lay, W. Springett, W. Cracknell.

25 March 1911.  SCOUT DISPLAY.—On Monday afternoon, March 20, through the kindness of Mr. J.B. Hawkins and other friends, the 1st Wyvenhoe Troop Boy Scouts were entertained to tea in the Foresters’ Hall, a detachment of Thorrington Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster Parker, being also present.  After full justice had been done to the good things provided, a highly creditable Scouts’ Display was given by the members of the Wyvenhoe Troop, under the able supervision of Scoutmaster H.L. Wright and Assistant Scoutmaster H.R. Oakley.  A large number of the leading inhabitants of the town and district were present.  Capital speeches appertaining to the scout movement were delivered by Mr. Hawkins and Mr. H.O Rice, J.P. Unfortunately the badges which were to have been presented to the lads during the evening did not turn up.  The proceedings terminated with the National Anthem.

(ECS)  1 April 1911.  Capt. H.R. Oakley warranted as ASM (County Scout Records – Malcolm Treacher)).

24 June 1911.  [CELEBRATIONS FOR CORONATION OF KING GEORGE V.]  WYVENHOE. Numerous places in the town were gaily decorated for the occasion, and there were many very effective illuminations in the evening.  The arrangements for the day were well carried out by the following committee, with Mr. K.W. Flick as Chairman :– Mrs. E. Squire, Mrs. Wright, Miss Wright, Miss Catt, Miss. E. Jennings, Capt. and Mrs. H.R. Oakley, Mr. and Mrs. J. Worsp, Mr. and Mrs. A. Boyes, Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Barrell, Councillors W.G. Pullen, J.P., J. Trayler, and W. Husk, Mr. and Mrs. D. Ham, Messrs. John Felgate, W.T. Wadley, C.E. Rudgley, W.T. Smith, D.W. Simmons, W.O.Rowe,

G. Durrant, A.E. Cater, A. Garrett, and S. Wood. Mr. James G. Moore, who was hon.sec. on the occasion of the coronation of King Edward Vii, again carried out the secretarial duties.  Mr. J.E. Heath was hon. treas. and Mr. J.Worsp the M.C.  The subscriptions were this time on a very small scale, comparatively realising about £43. Early in the morning the bells of St. Mary’s rang out a merry peal, a coronation service conducted by the rector (Rev. Sinclair Carolin) taking place at 11 a.m., when the lesson was read by Mr. C.E. Gooch, of Wyvenhoe Park.  The National Anthem was sung at the conclusion, and the collection was in aid of Lord Warwick’s Fund for the Essex memorial to the late King Edward VII.  At 1.30 p.m. a procession consisting of the urban district council, the local Coronation Committee, the K Company Territorials, the 1st Wyvenhoe troop Boy Scouts, and representatives of the Boilermakers’ and Oddfellows’ Societies, together with the children of the day and Sunday schools assembled in Station Road.  With the Wyvenhoe Wesleyan Brass Band in attendance, the procession wended its way via the West and High Streets to the ground known as the “Ten Acres,” which had been most generously and kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. A.K. Barlow, of Wyvenhoe Hall.  On arrival at the ground the procession was formed up and the…….

Following are the results of the sports [including]:–Scouts’ race, under 15 (prizes presented by Capt. H.R. Oakley—1 J. Wraith, 2 A. Goodwin, 3 C. Barrett, 4 C. Barker. Scouts’ race, over 14 years (prizes presented by Mr. A. Boyes)—1 G. Lay, 2 R Ross,

3  J. Walford, 4 J. Turner…..Tug-of-War, boy scouts—Patrol Leader Dann’s team beat Corporal Barrett’s team. Marathon race for scouts, about 4 miles—1 S. Barrett, 2 C. Lay, 3 O. Jones, 4 J. Soringett. At about 4.30 p.m. a monster tea for the children of the town aged from 4 to 17 years took place, this being a huge success. Between 600 to 700 sat down, the catering being very satisfactorily carried out by Mr. W. Last of High Street. During the afternoon and evening excellent music was performed by the band, and a grand scout display was given by the 1st Wyvenhoe Troop Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster H.L. Wright and Assistant Scoutmaster Capt. H.R. Oakley. After the scout display the prizes were distributed by the Chairman of the Committee (Mr. R.W. Flick). Hearty cheers were given for Mr. Barlow and several other officials, and the procession was then re-formed, proceeding down High Street, where the National Anthem was sung. The day’s proceedings on the field concluded with a display of rockets kindly given by Mr. A. Boyes.

(ECS)  12 November 1911.  FOOTBALL.—Wyvenhoe Boy Scouts (1st xi) v. Colchester Boy Scouts (2nd xi).  The Colchester team proved too strong for the locals, and won by 10 goals to nil.  W. Salisbury played a good game for the losers.

(ECS)   November 1911.  The following advertisement appeared:

Scout Depot, Queen Street Advertisement, November 1911

Scout Depot, Queen Street Advertisement, November 1911

(ECS)  12 September1914.  W. Simons warranted as SM and W. Ham as ASM. They obviously replaced Wright and Oakley who were amongst the first batch of Wivenhoe men to join the Army. There are no items in the Essex County Standard about Wivenhoe Scouts during the 1st World War, but plenty about Colchester Scouts, who acted as Messengers for the Army and also undertook Coastal Watch Keeping, so possibly Wivenhoe Scouts also undertook similar activities.

ECS 1 June 1918
BOY SCOUTS AND PUBLIC SERVICE. SIR,–Hardly a week passes without my receiving requests from officials or the public for voluntary work by our Boy Scouts. In the early days of the war it was to guard the telegraph wires, electric light works and the like. Now it is for less exciting work; but when anything has to be done, the custom seems to be, in this town as well as all over the country, to turn to the Scouts. “They are handy boys,” the public say. “they will know what to do, besides they love to help.” This is perfectly true. We are keen to serve, and proud to be wanted, but the question I often ask my friends is this, “Why not give the other boys a chance? There must be a thousand boys in Colchester of whom only 300 are Scouts. Why not invite the others to do public service?”
And the reply I receive is “Oh, the others are not trained to help. It would be no use to ask them.”
I am therefore now venturing to ask through your columns whether there are not a number of men returned to civilian employment from active service in the war who would find a real interest in life by helping us in this Boy Scout Movement?
The Cub Movement—our junior branch for boys from 9 to 12—is also a most interesting and promising development and here ladies can be of especial use; while the Senior Scout Scheme, which I hope to see shortly started in Colchester, offers a splendid opportunity of training our older boys to be soldiers, sailors, or good citizens in the days to come.
If there are any men or women in this neighbourhood waiting for an invitation to help in this form of National Service, I hope they will be good enough to communicate with me and I shall be delighted to give them any further information or assistance in my power.
District Commissioner.

1918.  Wivenhoe not shown in Local Association Report form to Scout HQ.

1920.  No mention of Wivenhoe scouts in small booklet listing all then known Troops and Packs accompanying the County Annual Report.

1921.  Small booklet shows G. Slaughter as Scout Master with 25 boys meeting at Foresters’ Hall.

(ECS)  30 April 1921.  SCOUT NOTES.  On Sunday, April 24, a St George’s Day parade was held at Copford, arranged by Assistant District Commissioners Head and Gifford.  The following assembled at the Rectory :–……A.S.M. Slaughter and 4 boys from Wivenhoe….The Aldham boys marched about five miles, and the Birch boys three to be present, and some of the Fingringhoe boys did not leave work till an hour before the parade, and then cycled eight miles.  The weather was none too good so it showed the keenness of those who were there.

Post World War 1

1922/1923/1924. Wivenhoe Scouts not mentioned in small booklet.

1928.  “A new Cub Pack was started in Wivenhoe” (County Scout Records – Malcolm Treacher).  Wivenhoe now shown in Local Association Report form to Scout HQ with registration no. 3195.


This page was added on 13/02/2015.

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