44th Cambridge: 1947 – 20..

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Trumpington existed from 1910 as the 5th Cambridge District.  This became Trumpington and Grantchester and by 1918 just Grantchester. They are mentioned as the 44th in 1930 for a year and again open in 1937 and held on in some form during the war.

It considered itself reformed in about 1945 and, following a short hiatus got going in 1947.  It was listed as Dormant not Cancelled at HQ. They appear to have continued until about 2000, in 2001 District AGM report they listed one trained leader.  A restart appears to have failed in 2005. An entry in the 2009/2010 District Annual Report recorded the closure of the 44th Beavers, possibly a late recording or an attempt to restart. A further attempt to restart from a Beaver Colony in 2013 lasted two years but developed no further.  With support from HQ a group was successfully restarted c. 2016 naming itself 1st Trumpington and quickly moving to a Colony, Pack and Troop.

The Group reopened after WW2.  Celebrating the packs first birthday on 22/10/1948 and the Groups first birthday on 15th Jan 1949 suggests an actual reopening dates for the sections of late 1947 and early 1948.

A list of names exists from Gilwell for early Scouters, the first CM was Miss Joan Swann and SM David Lloyd. The first GSM was the Rev T Young but by 1949 it was GSM Leslie Barnes who, it was announced at the second Group birthday was to go to South America in 1950. 

From the Trumpington History Group archives we have details of 1951 -52 when the troop went through four SMs, D W Lloyd, Buffaloe, Harry Thompson as temporary SM and later listed as SM and in June ’52 Geoffrey Carter. The three SM’s named at the end of the Court of Honour records are Harry Thompson, Terry Howe and Geoffrey Carter, although this may be a shorthand for all leaders.

The Troop camped with the 15th (St Giles) that year and later at Sandringham Coronation camp.

Later Mr Carter (later DC Ely) was ‘Scouter in Charge’ and named GSM in 1957 (possibly 1955 to 1958) and from 1965 to 1974 Ivor Meadows, whose records supply the bulk of information (other than ’51 – ’52) at this time. Ivor is first mentioned in 1953 and was ASM by September that year having moved to Trumpington from Cambridge. Truelove was possibly GSL in 1978, was SL in 1980 and returned as GSL in 1998. Peter Dawson was GSL 1986 – 1995.

The fine Pack log book for the first two years gives a full involvement in Group and District Armistice Sunday, Six and Second Day (pack event), District Cub sport, Empire Youth Day, Totem Competition, St Georges Day and Bob a Job.  They were sufficiently well practiced to do the Jungle dances in public in 1948.  The pack camped from the first years.

The Group had its flags Dedicated in February 1949, incorporated into Morning Prayers, and Blessed in 1970. There is no direct evidence to prove this was a new set but may reflect the change of Section names after the implementation of the Advance report.

Meeting places

The Group used the Church Hall for early events, but by December 1949 had a Group HQ in Anstey Hall.  A simple line sketch shows a Nissan Hut shape with stove flue.  The electricity had not been connected on the opening ceremony and the hut was probably in existence before Scouts took it over.

Sketch from the log book.

The Pemberton family, very long term supporters of the Group, continued their involvement in person and in practical ways. Thanks Badge had been awarded many years previously to a member of the family. 

This did not last long, the Court of Honour records list one meeting at ‘The Hut’ in May 1952 and by June ’52 they were meeting in the old village school, opposite the Vicarage in Grantchester Road. By November 1952 the Court of Honour was expressing dissatisfaction with the accommodation (at the old school) and wished this put to the Group Committee, but immediately followed this in the minutes with a Vote of Thanks to the committee for all they were doing. On one occasion they had to have a game outside because the Mothers Union was meeting next door.

Right of access to land behind the Village Hall to facilitate a Scout Hut was agreed in 1947. A building was erected behind the village hall in 1956 – 57 by parents and leaders. It became the HQ, was opened by the Mayor in 1957 and fully paid off by 1958.  The original is the left hand of the two buildings in the bottom picture, the nearer was the Army Cadet Hall which the Scouts later also took over.

This is the ex Cadet hut

The buildings were demolished in 1998, probably at the end of the lease. A planned extension to the Village Hall was not built and a temporary Doctor Surgery was placed on the site for a time.

Interior after redecoration.

The Group camped regularly with a strong Patrol system in place. Early camps boast minimal leader oversight. Moves towards a Court of Honour are mentioned, and the Local History Group hold records from 1951 to c 1953 which suggests it was a strong institution. The difficulties of a troop with no fixed SM are evident in the fluctuating numbers and change of approach and patrol names (twice). Many unlabeled photographs exist of Scout camps, a recurrent theme is the presence of a dog that slept in the stores tent and was the ‘mascot’. 

The leadership team and parents committee provided a full programme but specific tales from these events are poorly recorded after the early years.

The Scout Troop stopped for a period in the 1970’s, but by 1986 the Group had rebuilt to 27 Cubs and 22 Scouts. The Group slowly declined over the next ten years and the Scout troop again closed in 1996 before a brief resurgence in 1998 when a Beaver Colony of 11 was recorded and 9 Cubs. Records stop at this point. For a short period the pack joined with another, unnamed, to make meetings of sufficient size to be meaningful, having dropped to 4 members. The 44th pack is listed with the 16th on the Scout sports in both 1996 and 2000.

The Group was never financially ‘comfortable’ by its own account, and the leadership team shrunk. The large and active Parents Committee did not persist into the later years. As so often the final closure date is not recorded in the records of the Group.

JWR Archivist Nov 2020