4th Cambridge: Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

This number has been allocated to eight or nine different troops or groups and most did not last long. Their absence from any list of attendees at District Rally’s for the first 30 years is telling. 

The very early records do not quite agree.  Areas of uncertainty are

  • An early ‘Defunct Groups’ list omits St Luke’s for which we have the original registration documents
  • The 10th Cambridge bear the same members as the 4th VRCC/HGH at the same dates
  • Kings College Boys Club/ Choir/ Mission is not yet quite resolved

A 4th finally settled to solid scouting in 1924 and the 1949 Group was very active and successful.  The Troops and Groups are:

  • 4th Cambridge (Roman Catholic)                                            1908/10 – 1911
  • 4th Cambridge (Jesus Lane Sunday School)                            1912
  • 4th Cambridge (Victoria Road Congregational Church and Harvey Goodwin)

                                                                                                1912/1913 – ?

  • 4th Cambridge (Victoria Road Congregational Church)         1913
  • 4th Cambridge (St Luke’s)                                                       1914
  • 4th Cambridge (Harvey Goodwin Home and Cub Pack)         1918
  • 4th Cambridge (Kings Boys Club / College Choir)                  1921
  • 4th Cambridge (Kings College Mission) Pack                          1922 – 1923
  • 4th Cambridge (Peterhouse)                                                  1924 – 1932
  • 4th Cambridge (Cherry Hinton Free Church)                          1949 – 1992

4th Cambridge (Roman Catholic)                                          1908/10 – 1911

Given the very early number it is likely that this was a 1908 troop, however, the ‘District’ did not exist or start to formally register Troops until 1910.  A black scarf.

  • G Roe                          SM
  • F W P Kingdon             ASM 18/3/1910          SM 24/4/1910

G Roe is recorded as leaving Cambridge and the first Troop closed in 1911.  Later 17th Catholic.

4th Cambridge (Jesus Lane Sunday School)                         1912 – 1912

A strong overlap between leaders involved in the well established JLSS and the new scouting can been seen in the person of C T Woods, Dean of Queens’.  Not the very first to take up Scouting but quickly enthused and if he was still actively engaged with JLSS likely to encourage the formation of a troop.    They decided on colours (red scarf, blue shirt) and a meeting place identified, the Paradise Street building, but nothing more is known.

See Structure/ District/ Early Support/ Jesus Lane Sunday School

  • 4th Cambridge (Victoria Road Congregational Church and Harvey Goodwin)  1912/1913 – ?
  • 10th Cambridge (Victoria Road Congregational Church and Harvey Goodwin)   

It is not clear what was happening at this point.  Two Troops, both comprising elements of VRCC and HGH appear to have been run simultaneously.  It is possible that this was arranged to provide support to one of the troops.  The home for waifs and strays numbered about 30 and the troop that ran for many years from the school was always around 30 strong.  If they required support from an established troop whose leaders were in place it may have been a reasonable response to create two troops whilst leaders were trained for the new troop.  1912 is also the year that locally the Peace Scouts were assimilated into the B. P. Scout association although no direct link has been found.

The troop was a composite based around two institutions.  It is not entirely clear if it was founded in this manner or one joined another ahead of the later split.  Such temporary joining of a proposed troop with an existing one is known to have occurred on other occasions. The only meeting place listed is at the Harvey Goodwin Home (for Waifs and Strays).

The Harvey Goodwin Home portion became 10th Cambridge early in 1913 (from the AGM report) and Victoria Road Congregational Church remained briefly as the 4th.  It is not clear at what point the 4th stopped. See also 10th Cambridge.

4th Cambridge (Victoria Road)                                              1913

Recorded without a specific names but the later name of ‘Victoria Road’ was added, possibly in abbreviated form.  It is possible either that this was just the address and that the Troop was a precursor to St Luke’s but meeting at Victoria Road Congregational School Rooms it is more likely, that it was Victoria Road Congregational Church.

  • F R C Davidson            SM                   (resigned Nov 1913)
  • W N Kirkland               ASM
  • H R Mallett                 Hon SM

Mauve scarf, grey shirt

4th Cambridge (St Luke’s)                                                      1914 –

Founded in May 1914 it is the first of the ‘4th’s’ for which we have clear registration details.   St Luke’s was a very close neighbour to the Congregational Church, on the same road and decades later the congregations merged, however, at this date it is more likely to be a registration  number allocated on proximity. 

  • J Holt               SM
  • H R Mallett     SM (attached)

The SM was seeking an ASM by October 1914 and H R Mallett was an experienced leader (of four years) who may have been asked to support the troop which numbered 12 Scouts.   H R Mallett was involved in the previous ‘4th’ but it is as likely that his support would have been offered to a new troop as it is an indication that they were the same troop.

Many troops faltered during the Great War and reporting during this period was minimal.  We do not know when it stopped. It is of note that the 4th are not named in the single issue magazine Reveille! printed early 1920.  All other troops existing at that time (1919) are named.  It is not a full review of the war years and no other detail are given.

4th Cambridge            (Harvey Goodwin Home and Cub Pack)      1918

This registration is only known from a list of closed troops.  It did not last long enough to be recognised in Reveille (see below).  It may be an anomaly or, as the lists were more in the nature of personal records of the Secretary, a ‘note to self’ linking 4th and 10th.


I do not believe the following Troops / Packs to have been associated with Kings College Choir.  The ‘choir’ element may have been a later assumption, an appendage to ‘Kings College’, the abbreviated form of the title.

4th Cambridge (Kings Boys Club)                                          1921 – 1922                 7511

Registered Nov 5th 1921, but notice given shut May 1922 ‘Will be re registered October 1922.  A ‘Controlled’ troop, control by Kings College Boys Club and limited to members of the club.  It was registered with 17 Scouts and 2 leaders.  A pack evidently existed; the letter of explanation to the DC stated that it was in consideration of the Cubs who were to step up that the Troop would be disbanded as it was becoming less ‘virile’ and this would damage the keenness of the new members.  They did not, however, register yearly census returns for 1921, 1922, 1923 or 1924.

  • V St Clare Hill              SM                   Westcott House
  • A M Hudson-Davies    ASM                 Kings College

4th Cambridge (Kings College Mission) Pack                           1922 – 1924/5               4849

The registration documents exist for this pack.  Despite bearing the same District number the registrations were separate and overlapped between Pack and Troop.  It is presumably this pack that the observations (above) referred.  It bears a different title.  The Pack is Controlled by the Chaplain to the Mission and the pack headquarters in the Theatre Royal Newmarket Road a building used as a Mission Hall.

  • Lewis P Mil…               Acting CM       Rover Scout     Kings College
  • G K Tibbalts                 Acting CM       Rover Scout     Kings College
  • H Asplin                       PL        Acting CM     
  • G W Webb                   ACM
  • Henry Asplin                Instructor
  • Stewart Allen              Instructor
  • G Austin                       ACM   

The pack was registered with three leaders and 6 Cubs and in 1923 it had 3 and 19.  They did not, however, register yearly census returns for 1921, 1922, 1923 or 1924.

In 1923 new forms named it as being controlled by Kings College Barnwell Mission.  Leaders were

  • G K Tibbalt                  CM      Oratory House
  • G D Austin                   ACM   
  • J H Appleby                 ACM    Kings College

This, being a Pack, may have continued after the Troop closed, but not beyond 1928 when the 4th (Peterhouse) became a Group and registered its own pack numbers.  A reference in 1925 is very likely to be a year in arrears, and is the last known date.  It would be unusual to start a new troop with a number still in use for a pack even though the previous troop had closed.

4th Cambridge (Peterhouse)                                     1924 – 1932                 13264 / 7554

A separate page exists on this Group.  It was re registered 16th December 1928 and again at the start of the groups system.  Not labelled a Choir group it was nevertheless, limited initially to the past and present members of the choir.

Census reports

  • Scouts              1925 – 1931
  • Cubs                1928 – 1930
  • Rovers             1928 – 1931

The very late observation in 1947 that the group was ‘in abeyance’ is unexplained.  Between around 1921 and 1944 it was the policy not to reuse numbers but that was reversed in 1944.  The observation may be in response to this move, freeing the number to be reused. It will be noted that this decision was not implemented with regard to the ‘4th’.

4th Cambridge (Cherry Hinton Free Church)                                   1949 – 1992                27306

A separate page exists on this Group.  Opened with two leaders and 12 Scouts.  It is notable for being very closely associated with the 17th Guides, building a centre and camping together, mixing patrols in camp from the late 1960’s.   They were jointly known as 4th/17th, at a time when a 17th Cambridge Scout Group was running.  The coming together of the Scouts and Guides is not well documented nor is the end of the Group.

JWR Archivist Aug 2022