County Venture/ Explorer Scout Unit Names

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Venture Scout names

Venture Scouts ran from 1967 to 2003.  Not having located a complete list this is a growing compellation of named Venture Scout Units in Cambridgeshire.

It is a review of the names taken.  A list of Cambridge (North and South) VSU’s attached to groups, that is having a Group number, e.g. 14th Cambridge VSU, may be found in the VSU page.

Sir John Cockcroft       1968 –                          Cambridge South
Tithe                            1971 (8?) – 1997          Cambridge South                    41636 
Fulbourn                      1980                            Cambridge South
Salamander                 1999                            Cambridge South
Cam Valley                  1975 – 1979                 Cambridge North                    41524
Mullard VSU                – 1993                          Cambridge North                    44752 
Crafts Hill                    1976 – 1981                Crafts Hill                                41155
Belsar                          1982                            Crafts Hill                                43948 
Bullocks Haste             1984                            Crafts Hill                                44433
Paddocks                     199- 1995+                  Crafts Hill                                45401
South Cambs.              1976    + 1980 -1991   Granta                                     37922
Fleam                          1980                            Granta                                     43381
Rhee Valley                 1980                            Granta
Ely                               1980                            Ely
Mercian                      1980                            March
Whittlesey                   1980                            March
Crofter            (Crofters)       1980                            Newmarket
Fen Heath                    1980                            Newmarket
Bodica (Boadica)         1980                            Newmarket    
Gog Magog                 1988    – 1991     swimming trophy                45055  N C
Wisbech                      1980                            Wisbech                                  38714
+                                  1981                            Bar Hill (unnamed)
Tower VSU                                                                                                      41618
Fitzwilliam VSU                                               (Peterborough)                       43290
Hereward VSU                        – 1991                          (Peterborough)                       44942
Hyperion VSU              – 1992                                                                          45231 
Alpha VSU                   – 1993                                                                          4525   
Fen Runners VSU                    
1st Hereward VSU 
Mepal VSU                  45448              Cam /Ely                     16/10/1991 closed 1997
  • The dates 1967 –   or 1967 – 1981 are known dates of start or ending
  • The dates 1980 are dates when they have been referenced.
  • Districts in brackets assumed
  • RA – VEN                     Committee of Ranger Guides and Ventures coordinating events for the two groups.

The names fall into a number of categories

  • Numbers                     These are not listed here but where a VSU was attached to a Group. This tells of a strong Group and a strong wish to retain a group identity.  Certainly the move was towards ‘District’ groups.
  • Group names              Evident in ‘village’ Groups such as Fulbourn and Whittlesey which stemming from a semidetached Group in a village were unlikely to pull Scouts from other areas.
  • District names             These VSU’s hold the name of a District:  Ely, Hereward, Fitzwilliam, Crafts Hill, South Cambs. and Wisbech.  Some uncertainty is raised with the listing of Hereward and 1st Hereward, the latter suggesting a Group name.
  • Geomorphologic         Based on a physical feature of the landscape, in a region without strong landmarks, they do not carry clear boundaries or historical regional pride.  Rhee Valley, Cam Valley, Fen Heath, Crafts Hill.   They overlap with physical features that have historic connections.   Crafts Hill has now disappeared beneath the new build Bar Hill, but is a centre for a District that wraps around Cambridge.
  • Historic names            Gog Magog and Fleam are physical features but are given worth by the associated history.  Bullocks Haste and Belsar are a connected pair, both being within the Crafts Hill District. 
  • Historic Individuals     Bodica (however it was spelt), Hereward (the Wake)
  • Individuals                   Sir John Cockcroft
  • Mythological               Gog Magog and Hyperion both stem from the Gods, although the name may have been taken from features that had previously taken their names.
  • Mullard                       A strange category, Mullard Observatory is a man made physical feature in a gentle landscape, named after the company that funded the building of the radio telescopes.  The VSU is not named for a person, or a company, or an industry but the very obvious landmark and the associated achievements of the facility.  An equally obvious scrap yard would not have been considered.
  • Tithe                            Both the 5th Perse and 7th County Schools were on land that was originally Tithe Farm
  • Salamander
  • Mercian                      This is possibly a local name for those from March.  It was outside the borders of the Mercia Kingdom.
  • Crofter(s)                    I have no idea
  • Paddocks                     I have no idea
  • Hyperion
  • Fen Runners
  • Tower                          Not clear where this Unit came from

Explorer Scout Unit Names

Cambridge District Scout Archives

Cambridgeshire ESU names as of 2018 – present and past as located

Phoenix                                                                                   Cambridge
Kanchenjunga                                                                         Cambridge
Avengers                                             –                                   Cambridge
Shackleton Explorers                          –  2018                        Cambridge
Everest                                                                                    Cambridge
Milton Mud Muppets                                                              Cambridge
Hitchhikers                              Whittlesford & Duxford          Cambridge
Twisted Firelighters                ended                                      Cambridge
Flamsteed                               2018 –                                      Cambridge
Panther                                                                                   Crafts Hill
Wildcats                                                                                  Crafts Hill
Cromwell                                            St Ives                          Cromwell
Nulli Secundi   Sea Explorer    (Second to none) St Ives          Cromwell
Ramwell                                              Ramsey                       Cromwell
Matrix                                                                                     Ely
Tigers                                                                                      Ely
Alpha               2016 –                                                              Fenland
StoneX (Stonecross)                                                               Fenland
Mercian                                                                                  Fenland
Four Feathers                                                                          Fenland
?                                                                                              Hinchingbrooke
Pegasus                                                                                   Newmarket
Unicorn                                                                                   Newmarket
                                                            Castor                          Peterborough
                                                            Helpton                       Peterborough
Wombat                                              Orton Longuelle          Peterborough
                                                            Str                                Peterborough
Freedom                                              Yaxley  Peterborough

The names fall into a number of categories

  • Numbers                     Not used for Explorer Units in Cambridgeshire
  • Group names              Although many ESU’s are closely affiliated to Groups the names have not been used with the exceptions of Milton Mud Muppets and on the Peterborough District website which directly links the units to the Groups.  Some names for the Peterborough Units attached to these Groups have been identified from old websites.
  • District names             Only Cromwell uses its District name.
  • Morphological         No local geographic features have been used.  The mountains Everest and Kanchenjunga have been used.
  • Historic names            Reference to Fen Tiger from Ely, Stone cross both a location and an historical artefact
  • Historic Individuals     Only the inspirational Shackleton and Flamsteed have been used.  Flamsteed, like the VSU Sir John Cockcroft, has a strong Cambridge link.  Cromwell falls into this category by default.
  • Individuals                   None
  • Mythological               Phoenix, Pegasus and Unicorn have been used; creatures, not as the VSU’s selected, Gods.
  • Aspirational                 Alpha (see also Alpha VSU but no continuity) Nulli Secundi  (Second to none)
  • Fun                              Hitchhikers, Twisted Firelighters, Milton Mud Muppets
  • Unknown                     Matrix, Avengers, (TV, Film references?) Four Feathers (Book ref?)

Mercian and Alpha are used by both Ventures and Explorers

JWR Archivist Mar 2019