4th Cambridge District: Outline

Cambridge District Scout Archive


  • Cambridge District troops are those outside Cambridge Town boundaries.  Some troops altered from Cambridge District to Cambridge as the boundaries altered. This system ended in steps between 1928 and 1935 and all Groups used Cambridge numbers.
  • Packs were not formally attached to troops until the move to the Group system in 1928.
  • Many of these District troops are poorly recorded.
  • 4th Cambridge District (Longstanton)                      1910
  • 4th Cambridge District (Haslingfield)                                    1912
  • 4th Cambridge District (Histon)                                 1913 – 1915
  • 4th Cambridge District (Caxton)                                1913 – 1914
  • 4th Cambridge District (Meldreth)                            1920
  • 4th Cambridge District (Dry Drayton)                                   1920               (probably an error)
  • 4th Cambridge District (Melbourne and Meldreth)            1923 – 1934


4th Cambridge District (Longstanton)                      1910

The troop was listed in a number of places in 1910, participating in the 1910 Rally.  By 1913 the troop was Lolworth and Longstanton and registered as the 3rd Cambridge District.  The new 4th, Histon, camped with them around this date.  Troops were not registered by the local Association until 1910, it did not exist until 1910; the troop may have an earlier start.


4th Cambridge District (Haslingfield)                                    1912

This troop has a single mention as participating in the 1912 Scout Rally.


4th Cambridge District (Histon)                                 1913 – 1913?

Origins            Histon Scouts was formed independently by Douglas Bowles and did not register with the Cambridge District warranted by Baden Powell Scouts.   It became part of the Peace Scout umbrella and was reviewed by Sir Francis Vane, the chief funder of the British Boy Scouts, the largest group. 

Reviewed by Sir Francis in March 1911.  He found their signalling and ambulance work excellent and their drill good.  Above all the lads were polite.  ‘He proclaimed Histon not only the First Peace Scouts of All in England but the First in all the world, gave them the title of “Sir Francis Vane’s Own” and presented them with his personal crest as their badge’. 

Shortly after this Sir Francis, who had overstretched his finances, declared himself bankrupt and the BBS lost their source of uniform and central HQ.

Histon switched allegiance and are listed in the 1912 Annual report (which may have appeared in early 1913) with D Bowles as SM. Certainly by January 1913 had become the 4th Cambridge District (Baden Powell’s) Troop of the Baden Powell Boy Scouts.

The Troop, however, disbanded as SM Bowles’ health deteriorated and business pressures increased.  They merged with the Histon Boys Brigade. From Mike Petty’s Memories

            See Structure/ Sections/ Other Scout Organisations in Cambridge

            See Troops and Group/ Villages named in Group titles/ Histon.


4th Cambridge District (Caxton)                                1913 – 1914

Notes from the pre WW1 secretary give

December 1913 Headquarters Caxton

  • SM       Rev Lawrence Igguldon
  • ASM     W Gray

The note also gives us ‘Total strength 10’ and ‘Vicar of Caxton responsible’; which implies a Controlled troop.  In October 1914

  • SM       Rev Lawrence Igguldon
  • ASM     W Gray
  • ASM     W Palmer

The troop is mentioned by number only in 1915 and whilst no other references are known to Caxton it is likely that the Histon Troop closed in late 1913.


4th Cambridge District (Meldreth)                            1920

Mentioned in two lists both of 1920 they bracket the following Dry Drayton reference, which is almost certainly wrong.  It is not clear if ‘Meldreth’ is short for Melbourne and Meldreth, a not uncommon occurrence.


4th Cambridge District (Dry Drayton)                                   1920                (probably an error)

This ‘4th’ was almost certainly an error from an error filled list in a newspaper report, which also mislabelled Girton as the 6th.  Girton was the 6th at this date.


4th Cambridge District (Melbourne and Meldreth)           

We have a registration form dated 14th February 1922, IHQ number 9500.  The HQ was Congregational Sunday School, the troop was Open. 

  • ASM                 E  W W Liddiard
  • ASM i/c           E J Elbourn                  Eric John, born 1903

Two leaders (they gained warrants at the same date 18th February 1922, and 25 Scouts. 

Listed in local Gazettes in 1924 and 1926 as meeting under E J Elbourn at the Congregational Sunday School and were active in the District in 1927.  They had a khaki scarf.

This Troop was still listed as 4th Cambridge District in 1934 when it moved to South Cambridgeshire District in the four way division of the very large Cambridge District.  The move to a Group in 1928 did not trigger a change in title away from Cambridge District as it did with many other Groups.  On moving to South Cambridgeshire District they dropped the 4th Cambridge District and became Melbourne and Meldreth. 

From this point the records no longer came to the rump Cambridge District and whilst a Group of the same name is known in 1974 when the District became ‘Granta’ it is not known if it had an unbroken existence or when it ceased.

JWR Archivist Feb 2023