The Rover World

Cambridge District Scout Archive

First published in April 1934 at the cost of 3d (three old pence or 1¼ new pence) it was previously the London Rover, official organ of London Rovers.  It ran through until October 1937.

The Cambridge District Archive Collection holds numbers from Volume 1 No. 1 – 9 and Volume 2 No. 10 January 1936 to December 1936.  Articles to aid Scouting are matched by those for personal or professional development.  In several articles a robust guying, to use an old term, of those in scouting authority is evident without any suggestion of undermining their worth.  These are alongside ‘Rover Scout personalities’ a series of interviews and appreciations of scouting leaders around the country.

Interviews with men of merit entitled ‘Recipes for Living’ occur in each issue.  A wide ranging selection, some of who may now require a Google search to refresh the memory, they were older role models.  G K Chesterton died the month his article was published.  The articles cover their views not their achievements.

Sir Hamilton Harty Composer
C B Cochran  Theatrical Manager and Impresario
Sir Arnold Wilson  Military/ Diplomat
‘Professor’ A M Low Inventor
Sir Malcolm Campbell  Racing motorist
Sir Ernest Bevin  Politician
Eric Gill      Artist
G K Chesterton   Author

The target age is clearly that of mature scouts. On some issues it stated ‘A Mans Magazine for all Scouting, Camping and Open Air Activities’

Advertisements include shots of attractive female camping companions and many of photographers and photographic equipment.

Articles on how to get into professions included Banking, Veterinary Surgery, Salesmanship, Advertising Art and Journalism.

Mention of the GWR Scout Society (London Branch) and the Navajo Rover Crew, ‘the only all Jewish Crew in London’, give a glimpse of a complex web of scouting bodies.  Articles on Deep Sea Scouts (formed seven years previously) and proposed rules for Old Scout Sections (as distinct from Rover Crews but also from age 18) recognise the difficulties in remaining in Scouting.   These articles supported links when an ex Scout could not make the commitment of being ‘a Rover’.

The Rover World includes reports on Rover activities around the world and around the country but does not cover all regions in each issue.  Some attempt to step away from its London roots may be identified by the Northern reports and frequent focus on Scotland.   

Cambridge is covered on page 61 of Volume 1.   The first number in the district archives reports the 30th Cambridge Rover Crew winning the Ideal Den Challenge.  Details of the den are not given and unfortunately fail to appear in following volumes.

Dens do appear in several articles and building and items for dens are suggested and on offer.

By 1936 the price had doubled to 6d.  A strong link between articles on photography and the frequent advertising of film and camera equipment is evident throughout.   

Scout Shops advertised monthly with full page advertisements.  Bathing costumes ‘strongly made of well shrunken wool’ in navy blue at 5/- (five shillings or a crown {a coin not in circulation although the half crown [2/6 or 25p] was}) recall the home made woollen swimming wear that were not ‘well shrunken’ and sagged significantly when waterlogged. 

Framed rucksacks were at the top end and twice the price of traditional backpacks.  Some frames were bamboo, more usually steel.  Top of the range was the Norwegian made Bergan, in contrast to the cheaper but proudly British made Norwegian style rucksacks.  The spelling at the time was with an a.

Cycling items are often advertised, paints, lights and pumps; harmonicas and camping gear generally, such as that by Thomas Black and Sons of Greenock.

It may be that the demand did not meet expectation and costs dictated the end of the Rover.  Some diminishing of travel allowances may be read into the later issues.  It is perhaps coincidental that at least two partial sets of this magazine exist within the District.

The Rover World was last published in October 1937.

JWR Archivist Apr 2019