15th Cambridge (St Giles) – Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

No stories or records remain from the troop and this can only be an outline history.

  • St Giles and Castle End
  • 3rd Cambridge British Boy Scouts                             27/1/1911 –
  • 15th Cambridge Baden Powell Boy Scouts  22/1/1912 – 1921
  • Wolf Cub Pack                                                           1925 – 1954
  • Rovers                                                              1928 – 1938

St Giles and Castle End

Until the slum clearance of the early 20th century, Castle End was among the most dilapidated parts of Cambridge. National newspapers claimed that the homes here were filthier than those of Whitechapel. St Giles’ was instrumental in improving the area. Before the advent of the welfare state, the parish provided its own nurse for those who could not pay the necessary fees, housed refugees, ran soup kitchens and provided children with useful after-school activities.  (From Friends of St Giles history)

St Giles and St Peter’s were linked churches at this date.

On one archive record from before the Great War 15th Cambridge (St Giles) and the 16th Cambridge (St Clements) had the word ‘Catholic’ added to their titles. This does not appear to be part of the official title but an indication that whilst part of the Church of England they self identified or were considered as ‘Anglo – Catholic’ in approach. See Local History/ Religion in Cambridge Scouting’

3rd Cambridge British Boy Scouts                             27/1/1911 –

The 15th Cambridge St Giles was formed from the 3rd Cambridge British Boy Scouts, and alternative association which, locally, was absorbed into the Baden Powell Boy Scouts in 1912 (now the Scout Association).  The leader of the British Boy Scouts, Sir Frances Vane, ran out of money to support the movement, the leading component of the Peace Scouts.

The 3rd Cambridge was photographed in 1910/11 and at a Peace Scout rally in May 1911.  The date of the 25th anniversary was given as January 27th 1936.  The troop was based at St Giles in 1911 and the leaders, from the photograph,

  • E Scott             SM
  • T H Carter       ASM

Father Scott is named as the founding Scout Master.

15th Cambridge Baden Powell Boy Scouts  22/1/1912 – 1921

A registration date of December 1913 is clear but an early record by the District Secretary gives a start date of 1912.  Four leaders were listed as gaining warrants at the same date.

  • E Scott                         SM                   4/2/1912         (Trinity)
  • T H Carter                   ASM                 4/2/1912
  • H M Hake                    ASM                 4/2/1912         (Trinity)
  • P H Malden                 ASM                 4/2/1912         (Trinity)

The scarf was ‘silver’ or ‘grey’, the 3rd Cambridge photograph could be read as silver grey; the shirt khaki.  The troop was ‘Controlled’ as it was in 1925 when it was noted that ‘the boys must be members of the Parish or attending the Sunday School’.  The Troop attended the 1912 Rally and were ‘Glee Singing’ at the 1920 Stourbridge Fair (after the date of publication of Reveille!)

15th Cambridge (St Giles) 1921

The new Registration of September 1921 was probably the National registration. The details of this are missing for the troop but presumably the IHQ number was 913, sitting between the known 911 of the 13th and 914 of the 16th

This does not, of itself, suggest that the Troop was closed for a period.  No new details of registration are apparent to give a reason for renewal.  However, there is no entry for the 15th in the single issue District magazine Reveille! of January 1920.  This  would suggest that the troop was not in existence at this date, all other troops in existence being mentioned. The troop is regularly mentioned in lists throughout these years.

The Troop was meeting at St Peter’s Boys School and St Peters Honey Hill.  This part of the record apparently contains details over several years as it lists Cubs, Scouts and Rovers.  

Wolf Cub Pack                                                           1925 – 1954

3/11/1925       IHQ      7563    The scarf was emerald with a grey border at this date.  They were meeting at St Giles Parish Hall, Honey Hill (just up hill from St Peter’s)

1930 list

St Giles was linked to the older neighbouring Church of St Peter’s and the meeting place of Parish Rooms in Honey Hill was listed under both names.      The pack had 19 and the troop 15 at this date and the scarf was ‘light grey’.

  • J Norris            GSM
  • T W Carr         ACM
  • S J Ashman      ASM

The group is recorded as winning only one District event, the pack won the Wolf Cub Totem in 1932.

Rovers                                                             1928 – 1938

Rovers are listed on the annual census in 1928 and again 1930 to 1938.

The c.1934 list of group details covers many dates but gives us:

  • J Norris                        GSM
  • W J Robinson               ASM
  • J J Wolfe                      ASM
  • Mrs B Unwin               CM
  • Miss D V R Unwin       Helper

The meeting rooms were unchanged.

1939 – 1950   

The Scouts (1939) and Pack (1940) reported evacuees in the Group.  The Scouts had 14 in 1939.  The Group did not record war time losses from either world war, but did list four leaders (two women), none of whom were engaged in other war time activities.

In 1946 ten Scouts camped with two Scouters, but they did not say where.

1950 – 1953

A record of a visit by the DC in 1948 resulted in a recommendation that the Pack be closed.  The GSM, CM and ACM resigned and an offer was made to continue the pack by an undergraduate and a 17 year old.  Another report was made in 1950 and the pack continued to return census numbers until 1954. 

  • Rev J Castle CM 1952
  • Barley GSM 1953

In 1951 they recorded 18 Cubs, 15 Scouts in three patrols and Guide Company of 18. They were recorded as collecting for the Mortlake disaster in that year.

The list of Groups ‘around 1950’ does not include the 15th Cambridge.  The Group is listed as closed in the 1953 District AGM. 

1955

In 1955 the Group was listed as ‘Closed but may be revived’.  It wasn’t; no census returns appear before 1973.   In 1972 the number was reissued to a Group meeting at Queen Edith School.

JWR Archivist June 2022