38th Cambridge (Coton): Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

This Scout Group is the only one to use 38th Cambridge.  A Coton troop was in existence as the 14th Cambridge District in around 1912 – 1915. 

The 38th Cambridge (Coton) existed for two periods before becoming 1st Coton

  • 1929 – 1933   
  • 1947 – ?

1929 – 1933

Recorded on the 1928/29 AGM (printed 1930) and registered 5th March 1930 with the IHQ number 10996 this Group was based at the school Coton and Controlled by the Rector of Coton, Charles E Sell.

  • John Cunningham                   GSM                Whitehall Farm Coton
  • L Sherley-Price                                    CM                  Sidney Sussex College
  • L Sherley-Price                                    ASM                 Sidney Sussex College

On registration they recorded 2 officers, 7 Cubs and 10 Scouts.  Census returns were recorded for 1929 – 1932 (omitting 1930) for both pack and troop.

It is recorded in the 1930 – 1938 Jesus and Sidney Rover Patrol Log that members of the Patrol were supporting the Group in 1931.  It gives the names

  • Strachan                      SM
  • P J Garner                   ASM                 University Rover

PJ Garner held a warrant with the Group, not the situation for many or possibly most University Rovers.  The Rover Log records the Group as starting, very specifically, in October 1929.  They had 10 Scouts but by 1931 had not yet camped.  The (not for publication) Log recorded that Strachan ‘hindered the progress of Scouting’, but was not specific about just how. 

It is evident that the energetic and able young Rovers, who were accustomed to thinking about how to manage Scouting and were frequently in contact with HQ Commissioners, were sometimes at odds with local incumbents.  This was probably exacerbated by their pacing of change, not helped by the short terms and the consequent limited attendance of the Rovers.

A Court of Honour was started and the troop was engaged in Ambulance work.  Starting a Court of Honour appears to have been a first step in Rover engagement with most troops.

The single identification of 38th Rovers in 1935 is probably a belated recognition of the University involvement, not a Crew established from the troop.

No records of engagement in District events or competitions remain.

1947 – The new registration, with a new IHQ number, was on 28th November 1947.   It is not clear if it started or when it faded and failed.  They do not appear on lists of District activities, nor did they return any numbers on the census around this date.

1st Coton

1969 – 1983

Names of groups outside central Cambridge largely altered to ‘1st Village’ or just ’Village’ around 1960.  Change of name does not mean a new group, however, it is clear from the evidence that this was a new Coton Group.  The Census returns give

  • Cubs                1969 -1982
  • Scouts              1970 – 1975

The Group (pack) is recorded as closing just ahead of the large Cambridge District split into three.  Coton would have moved into North Cambridge and is listed as such in anticipatory reports

JWR Archivist July 2022