2nd Cambridge: Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

For the first 100 years the 2nd was Newnham, and indeed to some extent it still is, the last Newnham Group having been absorbed into the 11th/9th which, to date, is based in Newnham.

The 2nd Newnham has, however, had a number of starts but appears to be essentially continuous from 1908 – 1968, allowing for a short hiatus during part of WW2,

  • 2nd Cambridge (Newnham)                 1908 – 1911/12
  • 2nd Cambridge (Newnham)                 1912/13 – 1921   
  • 2nd Cambridge (Newnham)                 1921 – 1928    National registration
    • B pack (Newnham) 1918
  • 2nd Cambridge (Newnham)     Pack     1924 – 1928
  • 2nd Cambridge  (Newnham)                1928- 1943      Group System
  • Old Scout Association
  • 2nd Cambridge (Newnham)                 1945 – 1968
  • 2nd Cambridge

A review of the census returns from 1921 to 1983 gives a clearer picture of the continuity of the troop, pack and group.

  • Scouts  1921 – 1938, 1941 (no returns for any group 1939 and 1940)
  • Cubs    1929 – 1938, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1948 – 1968

The lack of early cub returns reflects the questions asked on the Census.

2nd Cambridge (Newnham)               1908 – 1911/1912

A Newnham Troop existed in 1908, evidenced by a set of photographs of a 1908 camp, its place in the earliest list of Troops amongst other 1908 troops and the earliest surviving records which list it as a 1908 troop. Dark green scarf, khaki shirt

The troop lost leadership or a meeting place and is recorded as meeting for a winter on Silver Street Bridge. They were attached to the 1st Cambridge District (Cherry Hinton) Troop based at St John’s Church Hill s Road and known as New Cherry Hinton or just Cherry Hinton.  While attached they found separate meeting rooms and maintained their identity as separate patrols.   In November 1910 they were acting as a separate unit in a District ‘Field Day’, but were listed as individual troop in the 1911 BP Rally.

They survived as a separate entity whilst part of the 1st District and re-emerged, meeting at the Old Vestry, St Mark’s Church, in Newnham certainly by 1912. The connection with St Mark’s continued but it appears that they remained an open Troop and Group and never took the church name, always remaining ‘Newnham’.

2nd Cambridge (Newnham)               1913 – 1921

Re registered with 10 scouts and 1 leader

  • C F Warren                  ASM

Who requested help and

  • R T Alderton    SM       from 10th Cambridge stepped in.
  • P J Clarke   or  P.L.  Clarke
  • T S Jones          SM       Ridley Hall – who took over when Alderton was on war service in November 1914

From Reveille! the single issue District magazine of Jan 1920 we have ‘2nd (Newnham). The Second is going strong, though we should like to see them grow in numbers. A.S.M. Hullick’s brother has painted a beautiful memorial tablet to the two members who fell in the war (Tabor and King). Their outdoor stunts seem good: their indoor knowledge of Scoutcraft needs pushing home.’

Note also B Pack which was named as ‘Newnham’ in 1918. Nothing more is known of the pack.

2nd Cambridge (Newnham)               1921 – 1928                                         901

The Troop was re registered in 1921, possibly at the point of IHQ Troop registration when it as given the number 901 (Cambridge numbers ran from 900).  Before this date troops had been registered locally.

  • J G Johnson                  ASM
  • Rev S Symonds            Chaplain

The leaders at this registration were

  • L H Armstrong             SM
  • J G Johnson                  ASM
  • Rev S Symonds            Chaplain

They listed 10 Scouts in 1921 and 11 in 1922.

This troop was declared defunct 25th September 1925 but there is no break in census returns.  The troop was listed in the AGM reports every year from 1924/25 – 1929/30.

2nd Cambridge (Newnham)   Pack    1924 – 1928       286 (obsolete number)       7300

A Wolf Cub pack was started at some point by June 1923, and registered in October 1924. An earlier B apck Newnham is named in 1918. Some suggestion of a closure (possibly of the Troop) in 1925 (see above), but at this time a missed yearly re registration readily resulted in being placed in abeyance. The links with St Mark’s continued throughout.

Notes suggest a previous registration of about 1921 and quote an IHQ number labelled ‘obsolete’.  The pack is registered as 2nd Cambridge (St Marks) the only occasion the church name is known to be used. 

  • L H Armstrong                         CM

On 1st November 1924 the pack was again registered as open with 9 Cubs and 1 leader.  They met in the Old Vestry St Marks.

2nd Cambridge (Newnham)               1928 – 1943                                        7552

We should anticipate a re-registration at this date with the start of the Group system.  It does not signify a break in the continuity of the Group.  The details are unknown except the new IHQ number 7552.  It was in 1927/1928 AGM report that only one leader was listed

  • H R Haworth               ASM                 Selwyn College

A report of the Group (Pack and Troop) exists in the Cambridgeshire Collection from 1931- 1932. All the participant leaders were in role from later 1928 at the earliest with the exceptions of L H Armstrong, Treasurer, who had been involved since 1916 and P Chapman acting CM from 1921. At this point they had 13 Scouts and 15 Cubs, were camping three times a year, participating in District events, holding fundraising concerts for hall funds and troop funds and gaining badges and the first cords. The Summer Camp was near Gatehouse of Fleet, a confident journey for a youngish pack. It is noted that they were able to expand to these numbers because they were permitted the use of the ‘Old Church’ which was larger (than the Old Vestry named above?).

T G Room        In around 1928 they had as GSM T G Room, later Professor of Mathematics in Australia. A meticulous planner, involved in Rovers in the University and in the Town, Editor of the District Newsletter; it is very likely that they flourished under his guidance. Reports of Summer camps in The Gatehouse of Fleet, The Lake District and in County Antrim from a 2020 a correspondent, John Wilson, who recalls his father, Alan, (b 1914) recalling his high regard for a Mr. Room.

c. 1930 leaders

  • GSM T. G Room, 55, Newnham Baud.
  • SM A. Stanhope Dixon. Muirlea, Stretten Avenue
  • ACM P. Chapman, 3, Church Rate Walk
  • Hon SM L. H. Armstrong, (and Treasurer)

c. 1932 leaders

  • T G Room GSM
  • CE Hitchcock ASM
  • WD Kerr ASM Ridley Hall
  • A Perry ASM Ridley Hall

AGM report numbers

  • 1925/26           24 Scouts
  • 1926/27           16
  • 1927/28           20 (no Cubs but reported for other groups from this year)
  • 1928/29           16 and 10 Cubs
  • 1929/30           18 and 11
  • 1933                13 and 10 Cubs
  • 1934                11, 11 and 5 Rovers
  • 1935                14,14 and 3

They reported Rovers from 1934 – 1938. In the absence of a Rover Crew the Scouts would remain until 18 and then become leaders, move into a Crew elsewhere, or leave. T G Room was active in Cambridge from 1920 to 1935.  

A reference suggests that a new IHQ number 23759 later used for the1944 revival was that of this earlier group.  If so it would suggest a significant change in registration that is not evident from surviving documents.  It may be a misreading.

A fuller list of leaders is available on the Newnham page.

The Group was closed in 1943 ‘suspended during war’, with the intention of re- opening.

Old Scouts Association

L H Armstrong organised an Old Scout Association for the Group. This suggests the troop had a strong and engaged membership for a number of years.  Certainly they were a successful Group under the guidance of T G Room.  The Old Scouts met yearly.

2nd Cambridge (Newnham)               1943/4 – 1968                                    23759 

The group reopened in 1943 or 1944 as a pack and continued until 1968.

The Group initially reported Rovers and Scouts but no census returns for these two sections were reported.   Cubs survived until 1968 when as a remnant Wolf Cub pack they were absorbed by the 11th/9th – a troop with no pack.   At the joining of the two groups District decided that the 11th/9th should form a pack and the 2nd be cancelled.

 The 11th/9th opened their HQ in Newnham in 1975 but the date of their first association with the area is unclear.

2nd Cambridge                        15th February 2018                                         1203042


Beaver, Cubs, Scouts

This group, an initiative supported by the County and working from the local Muslim community, has reached out into parts of the community previously underrepresented in Scouting locally. Knocked back by leadership changes and Covid lockdown it is rebuilding well.

See also

  • Structure/ Troops and Groups/ 1st – 10th/ 2nd Cambridge/ 2nd Cambridge
  • Activities/ Camps/ First Cambridge Camp
  • People/ Individuals/ Cambridge Scouters/ T G Room

JWR Archivist Aug 2022