50th Cambridge: Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

  • 1928    50th Cambridge (Papworth) 
  • 1932    50th Cambridge (Papworth) 
  • 1948    50th Cambridge (Milton and Landbeach)

                        45th Cambridge (Landbeach)                        1931 – 1948/9

                        13th Cambridge District (Milton)      1922 – 1925

                        65th Cambridge (Milton)                   1933 –1935

                        Milton                                                 1935 – 1937

  • 1964    50th Cambridge (Milton and Landbeach)

50th Cambridge (Papworth)                          1928                14204              Open

The 6th Cambridge District (Papworth St Everard) existed before its registration as the 50th Cambridge as both a Cub pack and a Scout troop.  They started in February 1924 and were meeting at the school (khaki shirts, green scarves) with T C M Johnson from Papworth Hall as SM.  Papworth Hall was the address of Papworth Village Colony.  Alongside the 1928 change to the Group system where packs and troops amalgamated, the naming system dividing Cambridge Troops (within the Town boundaries) and Cambridge District Troops (outside the Town boundaries) came to an end.

In 1928 Papworth names both ‘patients’, at least in the Girl Guides, and 140 children of ‘consumptive parents’ in the village. The turnover is unclear, but presumably it was more rapid than most troops.

The 50th lapsed in 1929.  They were on a 1930 list, but not infrequently a hiatus was assumed to be somewhat more transient than it turned out to be.

50th Cambridge (Papworth)              30th June 1932                        14204              Open

Re-registered it was meeting at the Scout Hut, Papworth Everard.  This Scout and Guide HQ had been opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Mary in Papworth Village Colony in 1927.

The Group is listed on a 1930 list of Groups and the first known re-registration is June 1932.  They returned census figures for 1932 and 1933.

  • GSM/ SM/ CM            Thomas Charles Marston Johnson     
  • ASM                 Stanley Harry Lawrence
  • ACM                Joseph Betterton

At this date they listed 17 Wolf Cubs and 10 Scouts.  T C M Johnson is remembered having a Community Room named after him. 

In 1935 Papworth Everard was one of the four Cambridge groups that became West Cambridgeshire.  The very large Cambridge District split into four. However, it is registered without a current IHQ number and had not forwarded census figures for 1934.  It may have been in abeyance.   Papworth is later listed as 1st Papworth, which suggests some action.  All the Groups in this District used location names not Cambridge numbers. No others used a number with their village name.  The District faltered and the remaining groups were re absorbed into other Districts c. 1945.  Papworth was not among them.

50th Cambridge (Milton and Landbeach)    7th October 1948 – 1953         26640              Sponsored

Meeting at Milton Parochial School it was sponsored by the local church and listed both a pack and troop.  Briefly ahead of this formal opening date the 45th Cambridge (Landbeach) Cub pack was reported as participating with the 50th in the 40th anniversary of Scouting shortly ahead of the formal date of registration. This group was sponsored by Milton Church (All Saints) the Rector of which was Rev Jack M Plumley, later Professor Herbert Thompson Chair of Egyptology. He was known to be engaged in scout troops whilst a vicar in London during WW2. He is named as associated with this incarnation of the 50th.

The 50th returned census figures

  • Scouts  1949 – 1950
  • Cubs    1949 – 1953

They are reported as closing in 1953.


            45th Cambridge (Landbeach)

The 45th Cambridge (Landbeach), like Papworth, moved to a new District and became part of Mid Cambridgeshire District in 1935.  Mid Cambs. struggled to retain its identity during the war and was re absorbed into Cambridge District in 1945.   Landbeach regained its old number, not all did.

It was sufficiently active to be re absorbed in 1945.  No census numbers for the returning group are recorded for this period. It gains a passing mention in 1947 and was clearly working with Milton in 1948.  The pack is recorded as closed in 1949, probably a late formal notification.  The original Lady Cub mistress, Mrs. Winifred M Denham wife of the Rector, left the living, if not the village, in 1948 when her husband died. 

I have not found any reference to the 45th Cambridge (Landbeach) pack formally joining the 50th Cambridge or to it being some or all of the opening 50th pack.  It would appear likely that if neither of these was the case then at least some of the Cubs from the closing 45th would have brought their experience of Scouting to the new group which was intended to cover the two villages. 

             13th Cambridge District (Milton)     1922 – 1925

            65th Cambridge (Milton) / Milton    1933 –1935 and 1935 – 1937

Two earlier troops and group had started in Milton.

 From November 1922 to c 1925 the 13th Cambridge District (Milton) was running. 

From 1933 the 65th Cambridge (Milton) was recorded as a Scout Troop.   An open troop, number 16458, it closed in 1937.   It, like Landbeach, had moved to Mid Cambridgeshire District in 1935 and changed its name to Milton, dropping the number 65th which was reused within Cambridge District.  No records remain from this period.


The name Milton and Landbeach is often shortened to Milton. This shorting of names is not uncommon in records, but it can induce doubt as to the full name.   I have not come across any formal registration that suggests it was ever just Milton since it became the 50th Cambridge.

50th Cambridge (Milton and Landbeach)                1964 – date               36932              Open

Reopening in 1964 and meeting at the British Legion Hall the group retained the scarf (see below for colour).  The Group became part of North Cambridge District in the three way division of 1983, the two town sections, North and South Cambridge, reuniting in 2001.

Census figures available give:

  • Cubs                1965 →
  • Scouts              1966 – 1967, 1970 →
  • Ventures          1973 – 1975 , 1982 →                        Ventures re-opened in April 1981

The scouts did not report Air Scouts, Sea Scouts or Senior Scouts.

  • Beavers           1987 →
  • Explorers         2002 →


Few records from the post war period to inform this very short Outline History.  Few records survive from the period when North and South Cambridge District sundered.  Much of what remains has been pieced together.

One significant name attached to the Group is that of Rob Farrington (silver wolf), a leader since 1959, and his family several of whom have been engaged for over 30 years.


It is evident that the group plays an important part in the social life of the village.  More widely the group has been very active in the Cambridge Gang Show, camped at the Coronation Jamboree in 1953 and at many District events since.


Scarf colours   The scarf, always with a boarder, has been described as

  • Red with orange                     1948
  • Red with gold                          1950
  • Crimson with a gold edge       1952
  • Scarlet and gold                      1968
  • Red and gold                           2002

This shift in description is not unusual; the core colour-way remains unchanged.

JWR Archivist  Jan 2023